So how did Hardy do it? Not surprisingly, he habitually practiced a set of these "small, smart choices."

In an interview soon after his book release, he said: "If I were to boil down the number one trait responsible for any unusual success I have experienced in life, I think it would be this: unyielding and relentless commitment to consistency."

Consistency, or lack thereof, is what separates those that say they want to be successful from those that do succeed. Think about the last time you were really excited about something. The quality of your work most likely reflected accordingly. Now reflect back on a day when you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Your productivity, motivation and overall character likely mirrored how you felt.

But people that intentionally practice consistency in their daily lives are disciplined enough to keep up with their daily habits; that is, the good habits that move them forward. Successful people understand the power of consistency, and they also see the rewards down the road.

Hardy packages this concept perfectly: "It's not how fast you start; it's how long you can remain consistent. I believe it's the biggest reason why people don't end up with the results they want and the life they seek. Most people don't have a problem starting. Everybody easily gets excited, joins, signs-up, starts and begins. Millions of people make New Year's resolutions, start diet programs, join gyms, buy personal development books, go to seminars, hire coaches, etc., but their life doesn't change. Because success is not defined by how you start, but by how you continue ... over a long period of time."

And Hardy isn't the only example of success as a result of consistency. Thinking back on my most inspiring mentors, I can honestly say that consistency was a major driver, if not the driver, of their success. This is why society is so obsessed with celebrities, athletes and high-profile business people: They did the things most people don't do (notice I didn't say can't do), they continued what they started and they kept up with it every single day.

I will be the first to admit that I have quite a few areas in my life lacking consistency, but I will also admit that I am working on them. Creating smart, life-long benefitting habits isn't always easy, but know that it is doable. So the next time you catch yourself reading someone else's success story, stop and think about what small, smart choices you're making every day that will lead you to your own success story.

Success doesn't happen overnight, but making small, smart choices -- consistently -- is a commitment you can make right now. After all, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Source: AMEX Open Forum

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