Personal change is not for wimps. It is often a slow and arduous process spread across years. Think about an athlete practicing for years to go to the Olympics; a soldier training for combat; mountaineers preparing for and climbing Mt. Everest. These efforts will never lead to success without one key ingredient: determination. When things go well, they leap ahead; if obstacles come up, they push through. Nothing deters them and everything is turned to learning and honing the skill, even and especially mistakes.
Like athletes or soldiers, those seeking to change their thinking and behavior patterns face a challenge requiring great discipline. They might have every other characteristic of change – being aware of the need, wanting it, being willing – and yet never achieve it without this element. Persistence, tenacity, stubbornness, doggedness, or as the British say, sheer bloody-mindedness.
Those with persistence tend to:
- Believe in themselves or their path
- See obstacles as opportunities
- Ignore what seem to be overwhelming odds against them
- Allow and even welcome mistakes
- Envision their goal and use it as inspiration
- Be willing to go to any (ethical) lengths to feel better
- Deal with setbacks without letting them derail the process
It can be tough to keep going at times. Here are some ideas to keep fueling your persistence.
- Always be kind to yourself and give yourself time to deal with disappointments
- Don’t allow pity parades to go on too long – a little indulgence if ok; too much sucks you into a quagmire
- Believe in your progress – a miner can hit a boulder 99 times with no obvious result until it splits open on the 100th blow
- Remind yourself that change is mostly incremental and just focus on putting one foot in front of the other
- Look for role models and read their stories for inspiration to keep going
- Give yourself credit for small victories; go with a reward program, not self-punishment
- Avoid black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking that stops you in your tracks; allow for shades of gray
- Focus on hope, not despair
- Take breaks, give yourself treats, motivate yourself with things you like and enjoy; refresh yourself before returning to the hard work
- Be curious – read on the topics that encourage you in your inner development, keep up a continuous flow of new information
Are you persistent? What makes you stick to your personal change plan?
More on the 10 traits of personal change:
- Desire to feel better
- Belief that it is possible to feel better
- Rigorous self-honesty
- Detachment from others
- Personal responsibility
Last: Personal Responsibility