Why You’re Inconsistent (And What to Do About It)

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It’s a problem we are all familiar with. You begin a new habit—prayer, exercise, or Bible reading, for example—and things are off to a great start, but then, after a few weeks, you inevitably fall back into your old ways.

We’re talking about inconsistency. Specifically, we’re talking about the frustrating experience of our behaviors not matching our values and our seeming powerlessness to change this.

My aim in this article is to help you become a more consistent person. To accomplish this goal, I plan to do three things:

  • First, I want to impress upon you just how vital consistency really is. This is to say that it is a goal worthy of your pursuit, even if it is difficult.
  • Second, I want to show you from the Scriptures that you have been given the power to become a more consistent person.
  • Third, I want to provide you with an actionable strategy for achieving greater consistency in all areas of life.

Let’s dive in.

The Character of Consistency

I want to begin by affirming that a desire to be more consistent is noble. When we talk about “becoming more consistent,” we talk about maturity, being dependable, and having integrity. A consistent person is someone who sticks with the plan, keeps their word, and follows through whether they feel like it or not.

Picture someone you look up to, and I’m willing to bet one of the qualities you most respect about them is their consistency. Consistent people are those you can count on; they’re the ones you trust.

consistency equals character

We must accept that our inability to stick with our habits isn’t just a personality quirk; it’s a lack of maturity. Certainly, some may be more naturally gifted in consistency, and that’s their greater talent to steward. But being consistent isn’t about being type-A. Consistency is about being someone who follows through. It’s about being faithful. And we should all want to grow in this.

God’s faithfulness—or we might say His consistency—is the basis of our trust in Him. We trust that He will follow through because of His unchanging nature and perfect record of doing what He says He will do. As God’s image bearers, we, too, want to be consistent.

We are called not to be flighty, unreliable flakes who rarely follow through on what we say we’ll do, can’t stick to a new habit, or use our feelings as the barometer of whether we’ll perform our duty or not. Instead, the Scriptures call us to consistency in prayer, obedience, love, doctrine, and righteous living.

The point is consistency matters; it matters a great deal. And even though it may be challenging, we are not to throw up our hands in defeat. Inconsistency isn’t a minor issue to be shrugged off. It’s at the heart of our maturity as believers. We must press forward. Thankfully, God is our greatest ally in this fight for consistency and has supplied us with the power to change.

The Capacity for Consistency

Think about it: All the significant changes you seek in life are on the other side of consistency.

If you could become more consistent in your devotional life, you would have that flourishing walk with the Lord you desire. If you would become more consistent in exercise and healthy eating, you would have the physical health and energy you wish you had. If you would become more consistent in your relationships, you would achieve the closeness you desire.

If we can master the art of consistency, we can become the people God has called us to be in every domain of life. The good news is that He has empowered us to grow in this vital area of maturity.

The trouble comes, however, when we seek to address our lack of consistency through purely human means. I have personally benefited from books on habits, like James Clear’s Atomic Habits. But the problem with such books is that they treat our lack of consistency with a reductionist, materialistic view of our behavior while ignoring the heart. As Christians, the kind of consistency we’re after isn’t the result of a reprogrammed brain but a renewed heart. And this requires supernatural intervention.

Reprogrammed brain vs. renewed heart
“As Christians, the kind of consistency we’re after isn’t the result of a reprogrammed brain but a renewed heart.”

If you’re frustrated with your own inconsistency, be encouraged. God wants to develop the character of consistency within you. The power to change comes from the Holy Spirit, who indwells every believer (Romans 8:9). But the Spirit uses means to change us.

Next, let’s examine three ways to draw upon the Spirit’s power to become more consistent.

A Strategy for Becoming Consistent

Okay, so we see consistency matters and that God supplies the power for us to become consistent. What action can we take to lay hold of the means God has given for us to grow in consistency?

1. Prayer

If we want draw on God’s super natural power to be more consistent, the best place to begin is by asking Him.

You likely clicked on this article with some habit in mind that you want to be more consistent in. Pray specifically that the Lord would help you to grow in that habit.

This is kind of meta, but consistency in prayer is a great first habit to begin with. The Scriptures tell us to “be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12), to devote ourselves to prayer (1 Cor 7:5), and to “continue steadfastly in prayer” (Col 4:2). And can there be any more explicit call to consistency than the call to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17)?

You’ll discover that as you grow in consistency in your prayer life, it will bleed over into other areas as well. You are developing the habit of prayer, but you are also developing the character of consistency more broadly.

3. Plan

Let’s continue using our example of developing a consistent prayer life. But these same principles will apply to any area you are seeking to develop consistency in, be it spiritual disciplines, exercise, or some other habit.

It may sound strange to plan to pray because prayer should come from the heart. But sometimes, we need a routine to kick-start our cold affections. Dr. Greg Gifford demonstrates this so well in his book, Heart & Habits (Listen to my interview with Greg here).

Daniel is a helpful example on this point. You’ll remember that when Nebuchadnezzar forbade the worship of any other gods, Daniel still prayed three times a day at his window. This was not a new habit brought on by his desire to defy the king of Babylon. The scriptures instead say he did this “as he had done previously” (Daniel 6:10). Daniel’s habit of prayer was just that, a habit he was consistent in. Daniel was consistent in prayer because he planned to be.

In its simplest form, a plan involves three elements: a behavior, a time, and a place. These can be written as a simple statement, often called an implementation intention.

I will pray every morning at 7am in my office.

You’ll find that the more consistent you become, the better the content of your prayers will become, and the greater your satisfaction in fellowship with the Lord. So, make a plan and get started. Then, just watch as the consistency in this one habit starts to affect the other areas of your life as well.

3. People

God did not design the Christian life to be a solo endeavor. It’s meant to be done in community. When it comes to consistency, pursuing it alongside others brings lasting change.

In fact, even outside of the church, the #1 predictor of lasting behavior change is environment. This is why you can pull a drug addict into a rehab facility, and they’ll kick the habit. But put them back in with their old crowd, and they’ll quickly return to their old ways. If you want to make true and lasting change, if you want to become consistent, you have to surround yourself with people who also desire those things.

For many of us, however, this can be the hardest part. You might even be in a small group or accountability group, but mustering up the vulnerability to say, “I want to grow in consistency in X,” is often difficult. But I’d like to encourage you with this: asking for help is a two-way blessing. It’s a blessing to you because it will help you to grow in consistency. But it’s also a blessing to those you ask because nine times out of ten, they will reciprocate your request with one of their own. “Can you help me to grow in consistency in Y?” You taking the first step to ask for prayer and accountability can be one of the kindest things you do for your community.


Becoming consistent matters. God has supplied us with the power to change. Just start with prayer, a plan, and a people, and watch as the Lord transforms you.

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