10 Steps to Be More Persistent. Everyone feels like giving up sometimes.
Action steps you can take to reach your goals and be successful.
I read a lot. Mostly research for my mission for this website: To help women be their best self. While doing the same myself.
So it’s no surprise I read a lot of books on goal setting, self-help, and personal development.
That got me thinking about success. You read all these “sudden success stories” about how someone became famous overnight or a business exploded onto the scene. But when you dig a little deeper, you find out that isn’t true. There are years of work, dedication, sweat, tears, and failure behind these successes.
Why does one person achieve their dreams? And the next is overwhelmed by the circumstances around them? Even when those circumstances are identical?
This is something I’ve seen a lot. Tons of people try blogging every year. And I read over 90% of them give up without ever having made a dollar. Let alone breaking even or making a profit.
So what is the key to success? Why are some people successful and others aren’t?
Table of contents
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The Key to Success
The key to success is persistence.
But I know, all to well, that in the face of defeat, agony, and tears, it can be difficult to stay persistent. It’s one thing to read “oh, the key to success is persistence.”
It’s another to actually apply that on the days when you don’t think you can. When running one more lap, or running one more keyword search for a post, or giving up on lunch out AGAIN to stick to a budget seems impossible.
First, what is persistence? According to the dictionary:
• continuing firmly or obstinately in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition
• continuing to exist or endure over a prolonged period.
That sounds like a lot. Difficulty. Opposition. Prolonged period.
The more important question- and one any person desiring success should ask- is can you LEARN to become persistent? In short, how do you become persistent?
How to be Persistent
Find goals that are meaningful
Unless you have a goal that you will overcome all obstacles to reach, you’re not going to find persistence inside yourself.
Sometimes this means defining the goal in detail. Some vague idea of “I’d like to be rich” isn’t defining the goal.
Sometimes this means finding the reason- the true reason, deep down inside where you hide things- for this goal. Find your “why.” Before I stared losing weight, I sat down and thought about why I wanted it. And I dumped the socially acceptable “I want to be healthy” reason. The REAL reason? I want to to look good in pretty clothes. Laugh away. But it motivates me when “being healthy” didn’t.
Without a reason- a driving, passionate reason- you’ll putter out when things get tough.
Set goals. Correctly.
I will persist until I succeed. Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another. In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult. I know that small attempts, repeated, will complete any undertaking.”Og Mandino
I actually have a post “Conquer Your Long-Term Goals” that you might want to check out. While the information in that post is useful, the big takeaway is the free printable goal setting workbook. Which you can get by signing up below.
Be willing to pay the price
Anything worth achieving has a price. Know in advance what some of it is. Be willing to pay it.
Persistent people want it bad. Really bad. They want it so much they never look for an excuse or a way out of doing it.
How to cultivate a burning desire? That’s tricky. Most people are looking for persistence to achieve something they already want. So cultivating a desire isn’t really an issue.
There are a couple of tricks to increase desire, though.
• Visualize what things will be like once you’ve achieved your desire. Envision it in as much detail as you can. What will your average day be like? How will you look? What will you wear?
• Visualize what happens if you completely fail. Envision what rock bottom would be like. Having been at rock bottom myself, that is a fairly easy task. And the horror of returning there provides plenty of motivation to continue.
Have a vision larger than yourself
Why do you want to achieve this goal? Personal satisfaction? To make the world a better place? To please someone else? To make life better for your family?
Goals with a purpose and vision bigger than yourself are vital to success. For example, while I work on my website for my own personal pleasure, I have a bigger vision.
It may be small compared to Gandhi, but it’s my vision for making the world a better place. And getting those e-mails and comments from readers that I made their life better, easier, or more fulfilled keeps me going on the days when doing one more thing seems impossible. In fact, I keep a notebook written down of things other people have said. Multiple times, I go and scan it looking for inspiration. In short, for persistence to keep going.
• If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t just think of a number on the scale. Embrace how confident you’ll be when you’re healthier. Envision how your happiness will affect your loved ones. Will you be less self-centered and more loving when you’re able to embrace and love yourself?
• If you’re trying to make it to the next level at work, how will it affect others around you? Will you be able to provide a higher standard of living for your loved ones? Will you be able to provide- even more important- future security for your spouse in the form of a comfortable retirement?
The first thing in being persistent is the important of belief. You have to believe. You have to feel it, taste it, know you can do it.
Self-limiting beliefs are one of the top reasons people don’t achieve things. They don’t believe they can.
One thing that helps is getting out a piece of paper. Write down WHY you think you can’t. Chances are this paper is full of self-limiting beliefs.
If you are having trouble with belief, click to download a printable worksheet>>>
It’s a pdf that should open in a new window. Work through the worksheet. Come back and attack the rest of persistence with a solid BELIEF that you CAN do it. That your self-limiting beliefs aren’t valid.
If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.Martin Luther King, Jr.
More and more research is coming out that while traditional goal-setting works, it misses a couple of things. Both Forbes and Medium have recently started talking about micro-goals. In a nutshell “it’s doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you keep going.” Don’t worry about turning your blog into a $100,000 a year business. Worry about the next quality post that you need to finish.
There is no secret. No secret track or method or formula. No conspiracy theory that sets up the poor by the rich and successful. The secret is something revealed in a children’s story: The Tortoise and the Hare.
Embrace living outside your comfort zone
While many of the details of Colonel Sanders life are in debate, the basic story of his business seems to be consistent. He was running a successful restaurant- which featured his now-famous fried chicken- which was forced out of business by the opening of an interstate seven miles away (meaning a loss of most of his customers). He sold the restaurant at an auction at a loss.
He was 65 and had a monthly social security check of $105. Instead of giving up, he started traveling across the country, stopping at likely restaurants, and offering to give them a try of his fried chicken method and recipe. If they adopted the recipe, he got a cut of 4 cents per chicken sold (he later raised it to a nickel). By 1964, he had franchised over 600 outlets and built a company worth millions of dollars.
If we can learn one thing from Colonel Sanders, it that you have to embrace life outside your comfort zone. He lived out of his car, supposedly occasionally begging meals from friends. I find this inspiring on a personal level. I am SO uncomfortable with doing video for my website. But it’s the future. So I’m slowly forcing myself to integrate video even though I’m highly uncomfortable. You don’t get ahead in your comfort zone.
I know, it’s easier to relax. To live on your comfort zone- after all, it’s comfortable! But you have to face the uncertainty of failure. You have to face hardship. You have to embrace living outside your comfort zone.
Recognize failure is part of success
You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.Maya Angelou
I haven’t read a single story in which someone achieved their dreams without failing at it first.
One particularly inspiring story is of James Dyson. Yes, as in Dyson vacuum cleaners. He developed what is now standard- bagless vacuum cleaners. And now has a billion dollar business. And the gratitude of housewives everywhere, including me. I hated those stupid bags growing up. How did it start? With a bunch of failures. In his own words: “There are countless times an inventor can give up on an idea. By the time I made my 15th prototype, my third child was born. By 2,627, my wife and I were really counting our pennies. By 3,727, my wife was giving art lessons for some extra cash. These were tough times, but each failure brought me closer to solving the problem.”
Your story is going to be the same. Failures are how we learn. It’s a matter of getting back up. Deciding if your actions need to be changed or if it was just bad luck. Adjust your actions if necessary. But always keep going.
Have a growth mindset
In a fixed mindset, individuals believe they are either born with talent or they’re not. They’re either naturally good at something, or they’re not. They view intelligence as a fixed trait. They believe inborn talent determines success.
Individuals with a growth mindset, however, believe talent comes through effort. They believe anyone can be good at anything; that their abilities can be developed through dedication, perseverance, and the right strategy.
Definitions from: Scott Jeffrey at “Change Your Fixed Mindset“. I high suggest checking out the article…it’s long, but amazing. And more than I can summarize here.
The good news? You can develop a growth mindset.
Embrace learning. Read new books. Study the area in which you want to grow. For example, every single week of life, I have three items on my to-do list. Learn more about: 1) blogging, 2) photography, 3) design. It’s not optional. It must be done. I’ve embraced the growth mindset.
Listen to your inner voice. If it’s negative, make an active effort to rephrase it to a positive growth mindset. The exercise above (in the section about self-limiting beliefs) is basically this step, but with more details.
Which suggestion do you like?
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