PODCAST

“Consistency Changes Everything” on the Take Care Podcast

Listen to Episode 4 of Sierra’s new show on the McKissick Health Podcast Network.

Sierra J. McKissick
8 min readFeb 19, 2024

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Have you been under pressure?
Are you trapped in your routine?

How do you keep moving forward or create when you’re under pressure?

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The problem with wanting more out of life is that it requires more of you. More of your time. More of your energy and effort creatively. Having the audacity to believe you should have more than whatever you’ve scrapped for or are desperately clinging to inclines you to sign a promissory note that you intend to work your ass off for more.

But, the journey to your goals is blown to smithers when you become consistent in the wrong areas. Consistent is your kryptonite when you are consistently late, irritable, unforgiving to yourself and others, easily distracted, or expect others to solve your problems. People like this don’t crush their goals or break records. In time, they burn out or become bitter.

The form of consistency that changes everything within and around you comes from a desire to commit to habits because the habits improve your well-being.

If you’re ready, this week’s podcast episode follows a new format. Instead of following along with the transcript below, I’ll only mention key points from this article and answer one question in the video: How do you keep moving forward or create when you’re under pressure? So, after you listen to the podcast, read the rest of the article.

Things I mention in this episode:

I have no rights to the audio in the intro and outro; its use is only for education. This audio includes: “Lotus Pond” song by Aakash Gandhi; Maya Angelou, The Paris Review as The Art of Fiction №119⁠; Midge’s Late Night TV Set Finale from the filmThe Marvelous Mrs. Maisel written and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino and produced by Amazon Studios, Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions, and Picrow.

EPISODE MESSAGE

When I started development coaching, I used to do weekly live streams that discussed various challenges people face personally or professionally. Several sessions covered topics like controlling your need for control and managing your emotional responses from the Faith Lessons book I self-published in 2018. After a few sessions, it was clear that people found it easier to focus on becoming consistent with new habits instead of critiquing the habits they were already doing that weren’t serving them.

They needed to be honest.

Resolving that you need to work out more is a great habit to start, but if you don’t address your poor eating habits and overuse of alcohol, you won’t get the results you seek. You don’t struggle with being consistent. You struggle with ignoring the poor habits you do consistently. Consistency is less about what you need to start doing and more about what you need to stop doing to make room for what you want.

Nothing makes us more aware of our dalliance with poor habits than stress. When we’re under stress, our worst behaviors come to the surface. Our weaknesses are magnified, and we’re faced with a choice to be crushed by the pressure or emerge from it something entirely new. The only thing that switches the lever from one result to the other is your choice to overcome by finding solutions to your problems.

Earlier this month, I finished reading How to Be the Love You Seek: Break Cycles, Find Peace, and Heal Your Relationships by Dr. Nicole Lepera. I enjoyed several things about this book, one being her unyielding transparency about her shortcomings in relationships and her inability to recognize her role that ultimately led to her divorce — it's rare that people are that honest. But, what is most powerful is her reminder to people who tend to be serial relationship starters that no one is coming to save us from the worst parts of ourselves. That’s not their job. Just because someone agrees to love you doesn’t mean they want to become a full-time emotional caretaker. Just because your boss hires you doesn’t mean their job is to motivate you to be present and do your job.

If you don’t believe you are lovable, you must change your mind.
If you don’t think you can solve problems, you must learn new skills.
If you don’t understand why you cave in under pressure, you have to figure your sh*t out.

The opening audio for this podcast is a compilation of statements made by Dr. Maya Angelou during a collaboration interview between 92Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center and The Paris Review. Her words and thesis echo the human experience of being cultivated or transformed through our suffering and shared likeness. She claims that all people want and desire the same things and must fight to discard the prejudices that seek to pit us against ourselves and each other.

We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated
That, in fact, it may be necessary to encounter
defeat so we can know who the hell we are
What can we overcome
What makes us stumble and fall somehow miraculously rise and go off
I know that a diamond is a result of extreme pressure
Less time and less pressure
and it’s just crystal or coal, or fossilized leaves, or just plain dirt
But time and pressure will create a diamond
Not…it is considered one of the most beautiful elements
and it’s one of the hardest elements on our planet
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Dr. Maya Angelou,⁠ The Paris Review as The Art of Fiction №119

I chose this as the opening to the podcast because, like Dr. LePera and Dr. Angelou, I had to discover that I was consistently relying on habits that weren’t helping me reach my desires. They weren’t moving me forward in my life, and when I was under pressure, they damn near tore me apart.⁠⁠

The pressure of life was breaking me. By 2017, I was like a Honda Civic with duck tape on the bumper, inching toward the red light slowly instead of coming to a full stop because the brakes were broken.

I was broken, and instead of taking time to assess what the pressure had caused me to become, I masked all the signs that something was wrong and kept moving forward. I was willing to commit to a lifestyle that wouldn’t make me the person I needed to become to safeguard prestige and look like I was moving into the next phase of life.

I was trapped.

Under Pressure and Trapped in Poor Habits

When you are under pressure, many fitness trainers, coaches, and even some therapists will first tell you to start a routine. Most people immediately begin adding things to their daily to-do list that they threatened to get to in the past, like working out, learning a foreign language, or crafting. This is likely a step in the wrong direction. Finding more to do when under pressure adds to the tension your mind, body, and soul are already attempting to withstand.

Examining how you respond to pressure or stress is a more productive move. Get curious about your responses by asking if you get anxious. Do you lash out in anger or ruminate over past exchanges with family or friends? Do you demand someone take responsibility for what’s wrong while overlooking your role? Or do you disassociate and find ways to escape using substances, television, or being on your phone?

Once you notice that your way of managing stress or facing external pressures isn’t managing them, you can escape your mental traps and stop the habits that aren’t helping you.

Take a moment to review the articles I mentioned in the video and linked above to consider if your responses are related to your experience of anxiety or depression. If so, contact a mental health professional or physician for care recommendations.

Consistency Changes Everything

When you ‘feel out of control,’ the key word is feel. Your focus shouldn’t be on changing external factors, instead tune into your emotional world and how you feel. Accessing your emotions will enable you to follow your intuition and determine what feels right and wrong. Once you do, you can adjust your habits to align with the right category and access joy more freely.

Living in freedom results from embracing and letting go of what you have done and who you have been. In exchange for letting go, you open yourself to exploring the present and finding security in who you are now. Consistency changes everything because it challenges you to face your actions and beliefs daily and gently ask yourself, is this working?

We are trying to create the life we want, but to do that; we have to be accountable for our role in creating the life that no longer fits who we are. As much as you want and should be kind to yourself, you should also want to be honest. Honesty reminds a piece of coal that it is a rock but can also become a diamond. Take care.

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Sierra J. McKissick

I’m a writer and educator. I write about behavioral and spiritual health choices and inclusive creative strategies. @iamsierrajecre