Columnist: Consistency is the key to lasting change

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 28, 2016

Ernest Fannings

Contributing columnist

All students are different.

It doesn’t matter if they’ve attended the same school, are related or share the same birthday. Each student has his or her own desires, influences and skills. They come from families with varying levels of resources.

We all can agree that our lives are filled with uncertainty, even as we spend many resources to decrease that uncertainty. However, over time, one thing tends to predict where we all end up, regardless of where we begin our life journeys as students: what we consistently do.

There has been much debate in both the colloquial and scientific realms as to whether or not our behaviors, personalities and habits change over time.

Some argue that we’re largely products of our upbringing, environments and other influences. Others say that our mindsets are formed later on in life by other factors.

However, both are correct and usually we change mostly in that we become more of what we already are.

The good news is that to a large extent, we all can change for the better. Even the most struggling student can, over a period of time, go from failing classes to a star student.

Likewise, those of us who have moved past formal education can also reform aspects of ourselves. The problem is that many of us won’t because lasting changes requires hard work, planning and consistency.

This explains why most of us spend the first 25 years or so of our lives creating a path for ourselves, and the rest of our lives traveling it.

With some rare exceptions, it’s easy to predict a student’s future. All one would have to do is to observe them for a period of several days in their normal life. The thing about what we consistently do is that it seldom has anything to do with motivation or inspiration.

If we rely on motivation to do what we should when we should do it, we’ll never develop the consistency to make a long-term change in who we are. Our futures are largely determined by the habits we develop in how we spend our time, money and energy, and those habits are usually formed during our youth.

It’s never truly too late to make a positive change in life, but as we grow older, doing so becomes only more difficult. That’s why it’s crucial that our students do so early, as it pays dividends in the long run.

When students change what they do on a consistent basis, they change their future. That’s something we never can be too prepared for.

Ernest Fannings is director of Total Math Tutoring.