The best-laid plans, to-do lists, and goals are just dreams without perseverance and motivation. Goal setting and planning are your roadmaps to success, but perseverance is what pushes you forward towards the ultimate goal or prize. Perseverance is what sets people apart from the rest of the pack. It helps to create success in your life. To be successful, you not only need to set a plan, but you need to follow through on that plan no matter what stands in your way or obstacles you need to overcome. Perseverance doesn’t mean that you put the gears in motion and hope that things work out.
There is no shortcut to success in life. If you research anyone of value, you will see a few things in common amongst the pack — Hard work and perseverance. There is no magic pill to lose weight or become the best in your field. It takes hard work, day in and day out. Successful people have focus, competence, and passion.
Just because a person is successful doesn’t mean that at times, they aren’t fearful, doubtful, or want to quit. Fear and doubt can creep into even the most successful person’s mind at any time. Successful people know how to get beyond that doubt and fear and push through. It’s how they push through when they are at their lowest and persevere. That is the real success.
In 1978 Michael Jordan (arguably one of the best basketball players of all time) was a 5′ 10″ sophomore trying out for his high school basketball team. Jordan did not make the team that year in favor of a taller player, Leroy Smith (who no one has ever heard of, no offense to Leroy). Now Jordan could have given up on basketball, and he has said that “It was embarrassing to not make the team” and he went home that day and locked himself in his room and cried. Then he did something that successful people do.
He picked himself up and used being cut as a motivator to push himself forward. Jordan said, “whenever I was working out and got tired and ﬁgured I ought to stop, I’d close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it, that usually got me going again.” The rest, as they say, is history. You can read more of Jordan’s story from Newsweek.
If you are ever like Michael Jordan and are tempted to quit but want to find the perseverance to keep going, follow these 5 tips.
5 Tips to Better Perseverance
Set worthwhile goals
Make sure that the goal you have set is worth your time. There are times in life when people find themselves going down rabbit holes that wind up consuming so much of their time that relationships and family life is ruined at the cost of achieving the goal. We see this often when trying to launch a new business. The goal you have set must be something that you are passionate about. I’ve discussed before in my goal setting article the concept of writing out your goals to commit them to memory and then leaving them visible so you can reference back to these goals daily.
If you are working towards a vacation home, then have a picture of the home you want handy. Seeing that image daily will motivate you to keep striving and persevering even when it seems impossible. Perseverance requires a pace to be set, but make sure it is your own pace and not anyone else’s. Just like in the above example, trying to maintain a breakneck pace at all times will only cause you burnout. Life is a marathon, not a sprint!
Remember past successes
Looking back on the past and the times when you persevered and succeeded can help you call up the courage you need now to be successful. Worrying about what can go wrong is just wasted energy. I’ve always loved the quote, “worrying does not take away tomorrow’s problems; it takes away today’s peace.” Worry can destroy a person’s focus. Remember that most of what you worry about is not based in reality but instead based on what you think will happen. Think about the times when you did succeed. What you did to get there to keep you on the right path?
One step at a time
Start slow, but start! You can not get to the end of the finish line if you don’t start. Procrastination often creeps in when we are nervous or fearful about starting something new. We begin to think about all the ways and reasons why we shouldn’t do anything. As human beings, we all exhibit a certain level of contentment. It’s hard at times to get out of our way and try something new outside our comfort zone.
Start slowly and gradually accomplish smaller steps on the way that help you eventually achieve the end goal. Don’t make the mistake of dreaming big and wanting to accomplish everything at once. Doing so will only burn you out, and you will soon drop sight of the goal you wanted so badly to achieve.
Keep moving forward
Always do your best to keep moving forward. When doubt slips in, remember why you are doing what you are and push through. One foot in front of the other and keep making progress. At the end of each day, ask yourself if you’ve done everything you could have today to propel you forward.
Moving forward also involves limiting time-wasting on things such as social media. Time wasted on Facebook and Instagram is time that could be spent moving you forward. Unless using social media is part of your career, then limit your time spent on those platforms until you’re done working.
Expect the best
Always expect the best from yourself! When you raise your level of what you expect from yourself and others, the response tends to be better performance. Set yourself and your mind up for success and not failure. Go in with a positive mindset, and positive things are bound to happen.
Success doesn’t come easy. Anyone who has achieved a level of success has had to overcome challenges, obstacles, and failures. The common thread is that all successful people had shown perseverance in their life and kept moving forward even when it seemed like the cards were stacked against them. Try these 5 tips to better perseverance and let me know below in the comments how it works for you.
LOVE LOVE LOVE this! I am the worst offender of feeling sorry for myself when things don’t go the way I had hoped. But really when I sit back and look objectively on what went wrong it is exactly this: I didn’t show the perseverance to keep moving forward. There might have been a little hitch in the plan and it made me lose all drive.
These steps are so great because you show a step by step “how to” on keeping focus. Because I think when it all boils down, perseverance is about focus and not losing track of the end goal even if there are some roadblocks along the way.
Once again, thank you for sharing your thoughts Scott, your articles never disappoint!
This is such a motivating post! I totally agree that if you want something, like really want something, you need to keep pushing forward and not give in to all the factors or people that tell you it’s impossible! Thanks for these encouraging words!
Thank you for commenting LuLu.
Perseverance is so important for achieving any goal in life. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you have a big task to complete or set ambitious goals for yourself. I like your tip of taking things one step at a time and just keep going!
You have to start somewhere!
Golden words truly. Perseverance as you mention is definitely the key to success. In fact being focused on this aspect, when I look back, it has been the prime reason for whatever little success I have achieved in life. Great post.
This is a great post, Scott. My problem is self-doubt. I often stop a project before I even start because those negative thoughts fill my head. It doesn’t matter how successful I’ve been in the past, I tell myself I can’t. It’s crazy what our own minds can do to us. I really love your tips here and will try to put them into action.
It’s hard to get rid of the negative at times but I am glad you’re working through it.
Great advice. One step at a time is definitely a good rule to follow, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed otherwise. Setting goals is also a great idea. thanks!
Thank you for the comment Ivana
I absolutely LOVE this, Scott! Oh, perfect timing. I tend to procrastinate a lot, while I take full ownership of it, I’m not proud and want to change. You just mentioned something that clicked big time for me: “Make sure the goal you are setting is worth your time”. How many times we set goals, get some things done here and there but that was more time/energy consuming than anything else. You still don’t feel fulfilled or satisfied because it truly doesn’t matter. This was so helpful, THANK YOU!!!
Glad you enjoyed it Aryanne.
my school motto was honesty truthfulness perseverance. Nothing in life is easy. You have to stay the course and be focused and sometimes you just have to persevere no matter the obstacles or challenges ahead of you. I like your point about setting up worthwhile goals and continue to persevere. Samuel Johnson said: Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance. John Q Adams is famous for saying: Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. Great writing a great piece of work and love the new site. All the best to you and your family for 2020
Thank you for the kind words Jerry
This is such a great positive post. I feel empowered after reading this post. Life can so hard that we forget how powerful we are.
Very true Sonia!
This is a great reminder! We will all face trials and tribulations in life, there is no avoiding that. What we DO have the ability to choose is what we do with that – how we handle it and where we go from there. This post highlights the mindset we all need to work to tap into regularly in our lives (and it is work). Thank you!
Thank you for the comment Britt!
Perseverance is sooo important! I need to be true and say that i always expect to much from myself and when things don’t go the way i planned i get so sad with my failure. The tips you gave really putted into perspective how i tend to forget about being perseverant. Thanks for sharing how to be more positive by being perseverant.
The best motto is that it’s okay to rest, but it’s not okay to quit. Hardwork and dedication always pay off eventually, so it’s so important to keep going
I am the worst at thinking about everything like a year down the road and what all I have to do to get there. The list is huge and suddenly I’m overwhelmed and not remotely motivated. The one day at a time thing is something I’m terrible at, but working on. My favorite person on the planet reminds me of this often when we are talking about my business.
This was good and very much needed right now. I have been on the fence about abandoning something and….I just don’t know. I need more motivation to keep at it and that Michael Jordan story just might have been it. I have never heard it before but I think I’m going to share it with my kids who also tend to give up early. Thanks!
There are hundreds of stories like Michael Jordans from famous people to everyday folks like you and me.