What goals have you set for yourself? Are you achieving those goals? Many of us do not achieve the goals that we set for ourselves because we get sidetracked with other demands for our time and attention. We are pulled away to tend to the needs of family, friends, work, and projects. We lose focus and make excuses that we are too busy. With all these demands, it’s easy to sacrifice our goals. In an attempt to recover, we start over with new goals. Unfortunately, these often fall victim to the same fate and a destructive cycle begins.
What happened to prevent you from achieving your goals? There are people all around us who we perceive to be successful. Maybe it’s the blogger with the 6-figure income or the full-time working mom who just finished an MBA. How do they do it? The answer in every case is PERSISTENCE.
What is persistence and how do I get it?
Persistence is an unwavering pursuit of your goals, which is fueled by a combination of determination and desire. Accomplishing goals or achievements that are important to you requires taking risks and persevering during the tough times. Everyone can do the easy stuff, but within every challenge lies opportunity. Even the smartest people can fail to achieve their goals. Achievement requires action. In my opinion, intelligence and talent cannot take the place of persistence. If you regularly give up on your goals or procrastinate, there are things you can do to develop your skills to become more persistent and make progress towards personal success.
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First, you must identify your desires and why achieving your goals is important. You must select goals that you are passionate about so you can clearly envision the long-term benefits of achieving these goals. Having a clear vision will give you the strength you need to overcome the inevitable obstacles that will challenge you along the way. If you are pursuing dreams you are passionate about, then the journey will be as important as the result. When you get knocked down, your determination and desire are what make you get back up to move forward or fight harder. The more focused you can be, the more likely you will succeed and the less likely you will be derailed.
Second, you must outline a plan that will allow you to maintain your path to success. Be confident, but be realistic. Make it a game or challenge. What motivates you? I need deadlines and I love to check-off items on a ‘to do’ list. If you are pursuing a passion, what will you learn along the way? Use this information to create milestones.
Third, you must prepare for obstacles. Don’t make this a win/lose situation. The prospect of losing will make it more likely that you will give up when the going gets tough. Instead of fearing your losses, embrace them and use them to learn and improve. We are never done developing our skills. Be optimistic and imagine what life will be like when you accomplish your goals. Determine how your immediate goals fit into your vision for your life. These exercises will help you overcome interruptions and distractions.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Set-backs are inevitable. It might take longer and it will take some practice, but do not give up. Seek out support; sometimes we all need a cheerleader. Another strategy is to identify a mentor who might be a step or two ahead of you on a similar journey. They can help you brainstorm ideas to overcome your challenges. Sometimes you just need someone to listen. In some cases, the process of simply verbalizing the situation puts things into perspective, helps you view it from a different perspective, or even leads to the ‘a-ha’ moment that helps you identify a workaround strategy. Be sure to manage stress so you keep yourself healthy.
Under certain circumstances, decisions to discontinue a project or terminate an assignment may be out of your control. This news can be devastating when we are passionate about our work. While it is important to be persistent, it is equally important to know when to stop pushing. You may not win all the battles but focus on long-term goals and the lessons you learned along the way that will help you achieve success in the future. Is there something you could have done to influence the decision earlier in the process? Is it possible that additional information on the topic would have influenced the stakeholders? Be sure to reset your goals to align with your life vision and leverage your strengths and passion.
Most importantly, take time to celebrate your victories. Reflect on the obstacles you encountered along the way and how you tackled and overcame these challenges. Success breeds success.
How does persistence lead to success?
I enjoy cooking and grew up watching random episodes of the ‘French Chef’ with my dad. I was inspired by many of the recipes and techniques, but it wasn’t until later in life that I really appreciated Julia Child’s journey to success. After attending a liberal arts college in the 1930’s, Julia Child wanted to join the armed services. After being rejected several times she persisted and found an opportunity to work with the Office of Strategic Services. This allowed her to find her way to Paris where she achieved many great accomplishments and eventually attended cooking school.
While in France, Julia Child started a cooking school and authored a cookbook with two other women. This book met fierce criticism and rejections. Instead of giving up, they made several revisions and finally ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ was published. This book became a best seller and Julia Child’s persistence not only led to a highly regarded cookbook, but also a famous cooking show that pioneered cooking television in the U.S.
I have been fortunate to have a successful and rewarding career as a scientist. This certainly wasn’t luck. I have worked hard to achieve my goals. Not every day or every project is easy.
Related: Why I Got My Masters
I find myself where I am at today as the result of my persistence. I have always had a clear vision of where I wanted to take my career and didn’t let anything or anyone get in the way. Identify your strengths and leverage them to achieve your goals. My strategy is to recruit help to compensate for my weaknesses or tasks that I am less passionate about.
I’m a dreamer and visionary, so I make sure to recruit and motivate team members who possess strengths related to planning and execution. I am currently working on a project that is way outside my comfort zone. I must confess that I have been tempted to quit on several occasions. This is hard! However, the impact of the project on the industry I serve is significant. If I can find my way, the satisfaction of completion where others have failed or have even been too afraid or lost to get started will be extremely rewarding. It will certainly lead to new and exciting opportunities. I’m all in!
You can do this!
Life is a lot more fun when you feel good about what you have accomplished.
Completing a task or goal that you are passionate about is extremely rewarding.
To strengthen your persistence, commit to a realistic goal (e.g. walk or run a 5K, remodel or redecorate a room, write an e-book, start a blog, etc.). Develop a concrete plan. Be sure to ask for help and support along the way. Embrace your losses and leverage both your strengths and weaknesses. Talk about your goals regularly with others. This will keep you more committed, especially if others are checking in or even holding you accountable. Always strive for your personal best. Remain optimistic, enjoy the journey, and learn along the way.
“The slogan ‘Press On!’ has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.” Calvin Coolidge.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.” -Thomas H. Palmer
Laura Rice is the founder of Provenance Preservation. Her passion is bringing new life to old homes & vintage objects and to create memories by organizing and preparing great meals and parties. Laura provides guidance on how to tackle each phase of a project so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor, relish the process, and avoid the potential pitfall of project stress. Laura is a microbiologist, currently working as a corporate research scientist. She is a problem-solver, learner, builder, tinkerer, creator, and inventor. Growing up in a Chicago suburb filled with beautiful historic homes, her mom was always decorating their family home and her parents enjoyed entertaining family and friends. The information you will find on Provenance Preservation has been inspired by many decades of parties, antique store visits, and flea market scrounging in the hunt for treasures of old.