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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSC chapter.

I want you to take a moment and think about a few things you consistently do. Do you make a cup of coffee every morning and drink it outside? Do you head to the gym 4-5 times a week? Do you take a bubble bath every Sunday? Now think about how you would feel if you happened to forget to perform that ritual once or twice. Would you feel awful and refuse to take a bubble bath ever again? 

Probably not.

So, why is it when we attempt to incorporate a new goal/ritual/habit in our lives, we find it difficult to be perfectly consistent? Why is it so easy to fall off of our new rituals after one mistake when we’d never do that to our morning cup of coffee?

Why do we place such high expectations on new rituals that we’d never set with our long-time rituals? Why do we expect perfect consistency?

The truth is, we all practice imperfect consistency, as evidenced by my coffee anecdote. This is consistency that we always return to, not because we feel obligated to be perfect but because we enjoy the activities we partake in. 

Therefore, I implore you all to be less harsh on yourselves about the new goals you’re setting. You do not need to be perfect immediately. In fact, you don’t have to be perfect at all. What separates the goals you are setting now from the goals you have set and already achieved is nothing more than a little imperfect consistency.

But, perfecting imperfect consistency isn’t as easy as I might make it to see. It’s easy to give up on goals the first chance we get. 

For example, I recently purchased a self-love journal that required a daily entry. I was the perfect journalist for the first week… and then I shamefully dropped off and haven’t picked it up since. In this case, I’m not practicing any kind of consistency. Since I broke my journaling record, it almost feels embarrassing to start my journaling up again and recognize that I didn’t perfect my consistency immediately. 

However, this is a mindset I, and perhaps all of us, need to grow out of. In my case, journaling, and maybe in your case, taking a daily walk, isn’t about how often we engage with our goals; it’s about how these goals make us feel. We should want to resume our practices because they’re something we enjoy.

Further, I also have to ask myself several questions about my journaling practice such as: Why’d I stop journaling? Do I enjoy journaling? How does this practice contribute to my overall well-being? Is it easy? Have I made time in my day for this practice? 

With each question, I think deeply about the journey I want to take, investing more of my time and heart into the process. As a result, I come out of my questioning with a newfound sense of purpose and hopefully grace for myself when I inevitably mess up again.

My name is Ashti (she/her), I am currently an undergraduate History of Asia and the Pacific major with an Education minor at UCSC.