Do you remember buying your first car? I don’t know about you, but I saved for ages, like we did for most things we wanted back then. It required persistence to reach our target and bring home that thing we had been drooling over for months.
It’s not easy to sacrifice those little luxuries we normally enjoy in an effort to save. Unforeseen bills would appear, yet we would stay committed, because we really wanted whatever that thing was.
As a society we seem to have moved into a space of instant gratification, we want things now and we are not prepared to wait. And there is no judgment in this. I certainly enjoy being able to book that flight sooner than I would have in the past.
The thing is though; this has caused the essential quality of persistence to be lost in many cases. I am lucky because I seem to have been born that way, or maybe it’s from watching my mum and dad for years. But for many the expectation is for things to happen instantly. This means they often fall into the high percentage of people who give up after a couple of months.
Why goals are rarely achieved first time around
Goals are rarely achieved first time around and there is a really good reason for this. It is because we are here to grow and expand. If we don’t grow and expand in the process of achievement, then the end result could possibly be detrimental. Both for our own wellbeing and for others.
This reminds me of when I was learning to drive. I was born and raised in the UK. I lived there until I was 25 years old.
I put off learning to drive until I was in my early twenties and that’s possibly because the women in my family didn’t drive. A lack of courage was another reason; I found the whole thing really scary! It was only when I wanted to develop my career that I realised I needed a license, so I started taking lessons.
The whole thing I found terrifying at the time. Each lesson I would get all worked up and it felt like eons before I felt comfortable. I would make mistake after mistake and I don’t know whether it was my instructor or me who was more shaken up each time.
Eventually she got me to the stage of my practical test. My heart was in my mouth, as I walked towards the vehicle and for hours afterwards too. I failed miserably. In fact, I failed three times over a number of months before I eventually passed on my fourth attempt.
Can you imagine if I had been allowed to drive independently without going through that growth process? It would have been detrimental to me and everyone else on the road. I honestly dread to think!
Imagine also if I had lacked persistence, I certainly wouldn’t be driving now. And I am a fairly good driver these days.
It’s the same with anything you want to achieve; there is a growth process so you can actually handle what you achieve. This means there will be hurdles, obstacles and things you would rather not deal with. And this is where persistence is key.
What is persistence actually means
The Dictionary says that persistence is continuing to persevere in spite of opposition, obstacles and discouragement.
That is definitely true for me and it’s the quality that helped me get my driver’s license, and later to set up my own successful business. That took years of persistence.
I believe it is one of the key secrets to achievement. Because of this, if it doesn’t come naturally, it’s important to learn how to develop it and I have identified a few tips that work.
Deciding on something you really desire will increase persistence
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is to set a goal that is not in alignment with what is truly important to them. They set a goal without understanding the true reason why.
The fact is; we are not motivated by goals; we are motivated by what is important to us, meaning our values.
If we think about my experience learning to drive; the motivating force wasn’t getting my driver’s license. The true motivator was my career and having a better job, which is an aspect of life I value.
When you set a goal that aligns with your values, your persistence will increase. As the obstacles arise you still won’t like it, but you will persevere and move through them. Moving through them you will also feel more motivated to keep developing into who you need to be.
Dangle a few carrots for yourself along the way
This is easier done if you have shorter-term goals. For longer term goals it is essential to break your goals down. If this is something you are not familiar with then the planning tool I have developed can help you.
Depriving yourself of something for a whole year or more is enough to break anyone’s resolve. And obstacles can really deflate even the most determined person. Dangling a few carrots for yourself every 90 days will help you maintain persistence, especially after a few challenges.
If your goal is shorter term then maybe your milestones will be each month or two. Either way, it’s crucial that you set up some kind of reward that means something to you and doesn’t deter from your goal in any way.
When you dangle some carrots for milestones along the way, it will help you stay committed. Plus you will also feel a sense of achievement each time you reach those targets.
The secrets to boosting your persistence during challenging times
Some challenges can be doozies and I get that. I’ve certainly had my fair share of those.
The thing is this is often when we can get disheartened and without effective management during those times, we could give up.
One of the things that has really helped me during challenging times is to remind myself of why I actually want to achieve something. Remember it’s not the goal that motivates us, but the reason why we want that goal. And when this reason is connected to our values it is powerful.
And there is an even more crucial secret to this. This is that most of us are more motivated by the avoidance of pain than we are by pleasure. That perceived pain could be mental, physical or emotional.
This means that if we are experiencing the pain of a particular challenge, then we may be motivated to give up.
The power in these insights is that we can use both of these powerful secrets to turn this around. And this is about creating pain around not continuing.
And these are the tools I used both in attaining my driver’s license and while building my business.
If you feel like giving up, remind yourself of why you want the goal in the first place and how that is important to you. And then ask yourself this question;
“How will I feel if I give up now and never have what I want?”
When you use this motivational technique, you will notice your resolve return and your persistence receives the boost it needs.
A simple tactic to develop persistence daily
Higher incomes, the online world, availability and payment plans have made it so much easier to have what we want quickly. I believe this is one of the reasons developing persistence needs to be a conscious choice.
One way you can do this is by delaying gratification. You can do this daily by making a conscious choice to delay your treats and rewards. For example if you want a cup of coffee and would normally go and make yourself one or buy one immediately, delay it by 30 minutes or more. The same with any treats you normally give yourself.
I love buying clothes and shoes but I will often delay this for weeks and when I do eventually buy them, I treasure them.
This is a simple tactic, but it will get you into the rhythm of not expecting everything to land on your plate immediately. This builds persistence and determination. You will also enjoy those rewards so much more.
The bottom line
Just because you don’t get what you want immediately, doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. Most times it’s just because something needs to be changed or tweaked. Or maybe something needs to be sacrificed for a while.
Sometimes we also achieve things shortly after the deadline. So it’s important that you don’t give up, because many people do just before they are about to succeed.
When you choose to be persistent and practice this regularly, you will notice that you find it easier to deal with delays. You will bounce back from challenges and this means you will progress in a much shorter amount of time. It’s about making that conscious choice.