What exactly is persistence? How would you define such a thing?
I can tell you what it’s NOT…
- it’s not when I was complaining about being hungry and tired
- whining about not being able to go out
- crying about my sad little workouts
- That was not persistence.
- wanting to throw in the towel at the very first sign of a setback, or
- not getting the results I expected and therefore just wanting to quit
That was not persistence.
Persistence: Webster’s defines it as: “firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition”
What does this mean? This means that you are focused on your goal. There is nothing in this world that is going to be able to stop you from achieving that which you desire. You WILL accomplish your mission. Every step you take is propelling you forward toward your goal and you do not allow distractions to get in your way or sideline you. It is much more than just willpower. It’s willpower + focus + desire + consistency + action.
Steve Pavlina says, “Persistence is the ability to maintain action regardless of your feelings. You press on even when you feel like quitting.” I was thinking about this last night. I said, “I don’t feel like working out”. Then I thought, wait a minute, what does how I feel have to do with anything?! I decided “how I feel” is irrelevant because, guess what, I’m going to do it anyway. So I said to myself, “you can like it or not like it; feel like you want to or don’t want to, but it really doesn’t matter because you’re coming along for the ride; it’s getting done, and you may as well enjoy the scenery”. Yes, I talk to myself a lot. 🙂
Have I felt like quitting? You betcha. Did I quit? Of course not. Why? Because quitting is not an option for me.
For one thing, I committed to my goals. It’s good self discipline to commit to something and then force yourself to follow through. You don’t have to start big; start small and work your way up as you get more confident in your self and your self-worth increases. It’s important that you keep your word … even to yourself; especially to yourself. You need to learn that when you say (even to yourself) that you are going to do something or accomplish something, that you WILL absolutely follow through and do it. Nobody likes wishy-washy. Don’t be that person.
Some people suggest keeping a Log of Achievements so that you can look back and see all the little steps along the way that got you to certain goals. I think this is a great idea because sometimes we tend to underestimate or devalue our accomplishments. It can help create that motivational propulsion system that you need to create in yourself to drive you forward toward your goals. Appreciate your victories along the way and use that force to fuel your fire.
Another trademark of a persistent person is the ability to block out the “haters”. Don’t allow negativity into your life. Negativity can come in many forms, including some surprising sources. Other people don’t necessarily want you to succeed, because then they will have to admit that they themselves are stuck in a rut. People don’t want to move out of their comfort zones and they certainly don’t want you to either. To negative people, as long as everyone around them stays on the same level, or slightly lower than they are, then everything is copacetic. You breaking out of your mold and away from the pack is uncomfortable and scary for them. However, don’t worry about them. This is your life and these are your goals. People who are good friends will support you in “comfortable” times, and also when you are persistently chasing your dreams. When you are focused and concentrating on your targets, it’s almost like the outside world fades into black and white around you. Have tunnel vision; you and your goal. Fully immerse yourself in the journey and your plan.
It’s important to fill your mind with uplifting things that help move you further along your path. Believe it or not, you have control of what you put into your mind. You have control over your thoughts. So, concentrate on what it is you want to achieve. Hang out with people who support you and want to help you reach your goals. If you have people who become jealous or try to sabotage your efforts, you know what to do. Stay away from them. You can’t afford to allow wayward thoughts, words, and bad attitudes to sway you.
It’s important to make a conscious effort to stay positive and focus on all your successes along the way. Be thankful for your progress and also learn to fully visualize your future. Play little movies in your head about what life is going to look like for you when you achieve your goals. If your goal is something that you truly, with all your heart desire, and consistently pursue, then nothing will stop you from getting it.
Until your dream/goal is written down on paper, it is just a wish. So take some time to sit down and really figure out specifically what you want. Each morning and evening review your goals and adjust your plan of action if you need to. The important thing is to continue to take action. Even if you don’t know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, just make sure you are at least moving in the general direction of your dreams.
Lack of persistence is one of the main causes of failure. Conquer your fears. Step out of your comfort zone. Have a target and move toward it with daily focused action.
Napolean Hill, in his amazing book, “Think and Grow Rich” says there are eight definite steps to improve your perseverance.
- Definiteness of Purpose
- Definiteness of Plans
- Accurate Knowledge
Continue to persevere in the face of failure, discouragement, and setbacks. You’re not done until you actually quit. So don’t quit – be persistent – and achieve your dreams!
Willpower + Focus + Desire + Consistency + Action = PERSISTENCE