The Secrets of Boosting Self Discipline. Keystone #4 - Persistence


“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”
- Calvin Coolidge

The final keystone needed in developing our self-discipline is persistence.

If you’ve missed the first three of these keystones, you can access them again now by clicking the following links;

What Is Persistence?

Persistence is the ability to maintain action, regardless of your feelings. You press on, even when you feel like giving up.

When we’re working on any ‘medium term’ goal such as losing weight, our motivation and drive will ebb and flow, like waves hitting the shoreline. Sometimes we’ll feel motivated; sometimes we won’t. But it isn’t our motivation that produces results; it’s our action.

Persistence allows you to keep taking action even when you don’t feel motivated to do so, and therefore you keep accumulating results. Persistence will ultimately provide its own motivation. If you simply keep taking action, you’ll eventually get results, and results can be very motivating. For example, we often become much more enthusiastic about watching what we eat and exercising, once we’ve lost that first 10 or 12 pounds, are feeling our clothes fitting more loosely and people around us are beginning to notice.

Should we always persist and never give up? Not necessarily; sometimes giving up is clearly the best option.

Have you ever heard of a company called Traf-O-Data? What about Microsoft? Both companies were started by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Traf-O-Data was the first company they started, back in 1972. Gates and Allen ran it for several years before throwing in the towel. They gave up. Of course they did a little better with Microsoft…!!

So, how do we know when to press on and when to give up?

Is your plan still correct?

When we initially want to lose weight, we usually have a ‘plan’ that has motivated us into wanting to lose weight in the first place. It might be to feel better about the way we look, or to be able to shop for nicer clothes, or to become more confident or even to find a new partner. Whatever your original plan was, is it still valid now? If it isn’t, it might be an idea to update your plan in order to stay motivated.

Is your goal still correct?

Setting a goal at the start of any weight loss journey is important in giving us something to aim for; it might be a clothing size or a specific weight. Quite often though, having set off on our weight loss journey, things may have happened that make us feel differently about our original goal. For example, we might feel and look great in the clothing size above the one we had originally aimed for, it may be that those around us are telling us we’ve lost enough weight before we reach our originally intended target, or it may just be that we’ve reached our original goal and realised there’s still a way to go. Again, from time to time, we may need to update or even abandon our original goal. There’s no gain in clinging to a goal that no longer inspires you. Persistence is not stubbornness.

In order to make room for new goals, we have to delete or complete old ones. And sometimes new goals can be so compelling and inspiring that there’s no time to complete old ones; they have to be abandoned half-finished. In the past, I’ve always found it uncomfortable to do this, but I know it’s necessary.

When we feel that we are not attaining what we wish for, we are linking to a lot of pain in getting it. We are allowing the discomfort to halt our progress. The key is to re focus. Think about what you will do instead of whether you can do it and persist with determination.

So, how can we solve the problem of setting goals that might become obsolete in a few weeks or months? Well, one thing we can do is to set more flexible goals; goals that aren’t fixed. For example, an overall weight-loss goal may be broken down into, fitting into a particular outfit by a certain date (maybe a special occasion), then a different outfit by a later date (perhaps another occasion), then taking part in specific activities that you may once have felt too self-conscious or embarrassed to, in time for particular event (significant birthday, etc). In this way, progress itself is the goal.

Use your imagination creatively and positively. By doing this, you can enable yourself to visualize the experience that you wish to bring about in reality. The way we see something in our mind will affect the way we feel and therefore the next action that we are going to take. Your imagination of your future outcome will stimulate and mobilize your activities.

The value of persistence comes not from stubbornly clinging to the past. It comes from a vision of the future that’s so compelling you would give almost anything to make it real. Do your goals (your visions for the future) match up to this?

Persistence of action comes from persistence of vision. When you’re totally clear about what you want in such a way that your vision can evolve as you do, you’ll be more consistent, and persistent, in your actions. And that consistency of action will produce consistency of results.

Act boldly as if it were impossible to fail and pretend that you have gotten around your limitations. Whatever you are striving for takes time and you achieve them by taking one step at a time. As long as you make a resolution to succeed and maintain your persistence and perseverance, you will and you must succeed.
Self Discipline Summary

If you haven’t done so already and you have a weight loss goal (or any other goal) that you would love to become a reality;

1 Assess where you are right now. Accept where you are but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that things are worse than they are or beyond your control. Decide where you want to be; what your goals and plans are.

2 Use willpower to get you started. Remember, willpower is only sustainable in short bursts; so use it to do the preparatory work that will make your ‘journey’ ahead much easier.

3 If you want to achieve anything of any real value in life, you have to accept that there will be some effort involved along the way. Prepare yourself to put the time in for the tasks that need to be done, then do them. Also, challenge yourself to attain those tasks that aren’t necessarily easy or straightforward; these are the things that will help you appreciate your achievements all that much more when you reach your target.

4 Keep it going. Persistence is the key; if you persist and persevere you can not fail. As well as feeling motivated from your ongoing results, remember to continually assess your goals and targets to ensure they are compelling enough to motivate you to stay focussed.

That’s it for now; more from me again soon,

Best wishes



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