Martin Rue

I build things on the internet.


Almost nothing worth doing is done in a single sitting.

It's January – the month of goals – and we're encouraged to adopt new ones, revisit old ones, carry over last year's and give them some long-needed CPR.

Regardless of how you acquired your goals, a focus on achieving them inevitably prompts a question like "what do I need to do?"

This is not the wrong question.

It's question one of two, however, and often the easier of the two to answer.

Get stronger? You're going to find a good programme, buy the gym membership and head to the gym.

Though with this one, I suggest you wait until February. It's a special kind of patience required to not commit first degree murder in January gyms.

Play the piano? You're going to find lessons, a tutor, an online course and jump right in.

Learn to code? You probably already have a list of at least three websites, all wielding big promises.

The question of "what" you'll do is in most cases a pretty easy one. A course, a tutor, a programme, a website, a video. It doesn't even matter too much when you're starting out.

So you go start doing the thing – a great first step. But why is this different from last year? What's so special about this year's approach that'll lead to success where previously it may not have?

The second question is "how am I going to be consistent?" Nothing worth doing is achieved in session 1, or 2, or sometimes even session 100. Progress is about "what" you do, but it's way more about how you keep showing up and manage to stay in the game long enough to get results.

Being consistent isn't nearly as fun as those initial few weeks in January, maybe even February, where the engine of your "new year, new me" car is running on the fumes of pure motivation.

The problem with motivation is that you can't rely on it. It runs out, and you need a strategy once it's not dragging you along for the ride.

How are you going to stay consistent?

That's the important question. It's not necessarily an easy question to answer, though.

It prompts you to be accountable over a longer period. It asks you to make space, not just now, but every week, maybe every day. It forces you to consider your priorities.

The question of how you're going to achieve consistency may even lead to realising you don't want this goal after all.

If learning the piano is going to require 2 hours of practice 3x/week, perhaps that's too much. Maybe this year I just don't have time for that, despite motivation's call-to-action being enticingly strong right now.

Don't get fooled into having a plan of what you'll do without a plan of how you're going to stay in the game.

Even before January motivation begins its diligent 11-month sabbatical, know that motivation is an unreliable ally and a fickle old friend.

Knowing what to do to achieve your goals is important.

Knowing how you'll stay consistent long enough to see results is essential.