In this article, we will be looking at the single most common and deep-rooted cause of our problems. Problems like in example:
Most importantly, this article will introduce some ideas on how to solve that problem.
Ok, let's go! Let's look into the head of an average person for a moment. We will overhear thoughts like:
and so on …
“Damn! I am just not persistent. I would love to be determined and persevere. Not only that, but I want to be an achiever. And I know the drill. I am trained, I attend seminars. I read books about it. Furthermore, I KNOW what I should do.
But I rarely manage to implement this knowledge as habits into my life. It works for a few days until the ideas get lost in my routine.
I am sick and tired of that. Every so often, I feel like a real idiot and a loser.”
We all have had these or similar thoughts. Because it is hard to be persistent, resilient and pull through.
Because our goals and our long-term behavior often do not go hand in hand. As if our behavior had an isolated agenda.
We KNOW what we have to do. But we don't do it. Or we just do it unless the initial motivation fades. Like a straw fire, our enthusiasm burns hot at first to leave only cold ashes behind.
And it is frustrating, that we start many projects that we do not see through. Not only because it is a waste of energy.
Even more so because every time we do not persevere, the concept that we are weak manifests in our mind a little more. We might even consider ourselves a failure.
Which is not true. You are not a failure because you failed. You are only missing one skill.
What many people are lacking is perseverance. And a lack of perseverance is a bit like a virus. A sneaky, devious virus. And this virus has a massive impact on our lives. A very negative impact.
We cannot see that virus. We do not think about it in everyday life because there are no symptoms like a cough or a rash.
Nevertheless, this virus has an extensive negative impact on our well-being, our health, our career, and life success, as well as our relationships.
This virus shortens our life span, makes us sick and makes us fail.
Because we just don't do the things that are important to our happiness, our success, and our physical and mental health. Even though we know what we should do.
People who exercise regularly live longer and healthier. We know that. And we know that that's what we should do.
We know we have to make those cold calls to find new prospects, but we don't.
We also know that regular meals and good food are the foundations for longevity and good health. Not only that, but we know what we have to do. But we don't do it.
Not because we are too stupid. Surely not.
In a race of a candy bar and a carrot, the carrot wins most of the time. The television beats the yoga pants.
In our decision-making process, short-term rewards weight heavier than the long-term effects of our behavior.
Short-term happiness weights way heavier than the disadvantage that our behavior will have in a week, in a month or in a year.
What do I care today if I get a heart attack in 10 years because I eat wrong?
The sales guy who knows missing his quota is not worth that one moment of relief over not having to do those cold calls.
Short-term reward beats long-term nearly every time if we do not consider certain things.
That is why it is so hard to implement behavioral changes and form new habits.
Yes, it is hard. But it is possible. You can do it. There are people who manage to act responsibly even though temptation lurks at every corner. That is not so much a matter of strengths and willpower. It is more a matter of a clever and planned approach.
How can you train and learn to act responsible and in your own best interest? It's not like it's a field of study at Harvard University. Even though there could hardly be a more valuable field of study.
We never learned how to implement life-serving behavior. We can make short-term changes thanks to our willpower. For a few weeks or even a few months. But rarely eventually.
Willpower does not work long-term.
Make a guess. How many trade mills are standing somewhere in the US unused? How many self-help books sit on a shelf unread?
Health, happiness, and success are the result of a certain long-term behavior. Sadly. Because most of us are impatient. We want results. Right away.
Advertisements reflect that brutally:
We are talked into thinking that it's quick, easy, and effortless. And we fall for it because we want to believe it's true.
So, we often fall for dubious promises and set ourselves up for disappointment and failure.
Wish and reality are entirely different things.
This is why we must tame our impatience and allow ourselves the time we need to form new habits or retrain our brains – for long-term results.
Long-term success is rarely created on the fly. Success is the result of endurance, commitment, discipline, repetition, and failure.
That is the nasty and inconvenient truth. New skills and habits are formed by repetition. Repetition is the mother of learning. It takes AT LEAST 80-90 days for new neural networks to form.
No matter if we want to hit our target, lose weight or want to write a novel.
To achieve a goal we need durability, toughness, and endurance.
If we look at the resumes of the most successful people, we rarely find “easy street” on it. Generally, they will tell you that it took them a while until they got where they are now. They will mention to you that they had to overcome failure and setbacks.
For lasting career success or to lose and keep the weight off, you have to form habits. Enthusiasm is a great starting point, but will not be enough in itself.
A novel is the result of someone sitting down every day and writing a few pages. The career of an author is based on writing one book after the other.
To become an NBA player you have to train, train, train and train more.
We all know what's the right thing to do on a conscious level. We want to be successful, healthy, and happy. Yes, we were BORN to be happy.
But we wished it was different. Easier, faster, effortless.
Let's face the music: That's not how it is. The good things in life require permanent attention.
However, if we force ourselves for a certain time to do the right things, they become a habit. Once something is a habit, it's not a stretch anymore but an automatism.
That is why, for some people, it seems so easy to do the right things. They have made perseverance already a habit. Discipline and commitment are what carries you through your bad days when you just do not feel like following your plan.
Making changes that allow for implementing new habits takes longer than companies want to make us believe. It takes at least 90 days and can take up to a year. That depends on the “difficulty” of the new behavior.
To form a new habit is hard indeed. But once you did that, it becomes easy, and you will do what's good for you automatically and effortless.
We are often being told: Listen to your intuition. Follow your guts. And that is good and true. Just not when it comes to implementing new habits.
Our intuition is not a good helper for achieving goals. Let's look at a typical process of an intuition-based approach to implementing changes:
The starting point
We are dissatisfied with something. Our career or life success or our weight.
The problem? We did not plan for how we can see it through. Because we believed that our initial enthusiasm will be enough.
The issue is not that we do not know what to do long-term. We just do not know how we can form new habits and implement new beliefs that enable us to achieve our goals and make long-term changes.
We are lacking supporting measures that carry us after the initial 21 days. Measures, that make sure that we stay on track after 3 months, after 6 months and after a year.
“I made it” is the most rewarding feeling. “And now I know I can achieve nearly anything and everything.”
Yes, there are people who manage to stay on it and see things through effortlessly. But that's only a tiny number of people. Maybe 2-3 %.
These people are committed (vs. interested). They are resilient. They achieve more in business and in life.
Furthermore, they have been conditioned in early childhood to be tough and resilient, and it became their personality. Or they have already become masters at goal achievement.
That is the 2-3 % of people. Then there is the rest of us.
The rest of us has to work to get there. And there are not a lot of effective supporting tools. Most tools tell us what we already know – what to do. But they fail at teaching us how to implement the behavioral changes.
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If you failed…
You are just someone who did not yet have the supportive tool that allowed him to develop the resilience needed to achieve goals.
Not only that, but you are not weak. You just did not train and develop the skill of perseverance.
It is not a matter of willpower. It is a matter of knowledge and training. Furthermore, it is not mainly a question of inner strength. Moreover, often we are more patient at developing motoric skills than changing our brain patterns. Why would changing your success level be faster than learning to repair a car? Or mastering a computer game?
Long-term perseverance is a matter of commitment, knowledge, training, and repetition.
A student of perseverance.
The difference between successful and unsuccessful people? Commitment. The successful (committed) ones do what is necessary. The unsuccessful (interested) ones do what is convenient.
How can you develop from a sprinter to an endurance runner?
Make a motivating decision
Decide which behavioral pattern you want to change over a period of 3 -12 months. You must focus on clear, verifiable behavior.
“Hitting my goals”, “getting rich” or “losing 10 pounds (4.54 kg)” is not enough. Commit to which food you will eat and which you will not eat. How many exceptions are allowed? Get concrete and detailed.
If you are hesitant to do so, it means that you are not committed and will most likely fail.
In that case, save yourself from just another hit to your self-esteem and preserve the energy.
Define, analyze and eliminate your personal success blockers
Why are you doing some things regularly while you neglect others?
There are circumstances that make us succeed and circumstances that make us give up and fail. The most common factor is fear. Fear of pain and failure, as well as fear of success.
What helps is a daily reminder on our goal. Very helpful is to divide the goal into concrete, easy action steps. That way, the diffuse goal becomes a crystal clear goal with traceable steps and rules.
Another potential success blocker is other people. That can be your boss, relationship, or you might just hang out with a crowd that does not share your ambition.
Also, we need to be prepared for setbacks and dry periods that we will face with every goal worth achieving.
It is about understanding your personal + and – factors. The + factors that make it easier for you to stay committed, and the – factors that make it harder.
Let's say you are a sales guy and want to generate a better pipeline. Your Manager implements weekly sales meetings. That's a + factor.
Or let's say you want to drink less alcohol. And your friends offer you booze daily, “Just one.” “Beer is not really alcohol.”. That's a – factor.
First, you need to analyze and understand what your personal + and – factors are. Being aware of them helps a bit in itself. When a – factor comes by, you can be like: “Oh, hey, good to see you again. I know your game and I don't really have time to play right now.”
Try to eliminate as many – factors as you can and strengthen the + factors.
Mike Bosworth put it into easy, powerful words: “Who is not part of the solution is part of the problem.” Seek those people who support your success, and try not to be around those who do not. Sometimes people's level of support can be influenced by making them aware that they hinder your success.
The harder the goal and the more massive the needed behavioral changes, the more supportive tools you will need.
That can be through books, friends, training or a personal coach.
Let's say you want to write 500 words for your new book every day. A + factor could be that you ask a friend to ask you every day if you have done it.
Again, the harder the goal, the more supportive measures and help you will need. There is no shame in asking for help.
Supportive tools are in example:
There are a lot of other potential measures. Typically, 2-3 are enough. And if you use them wisely, they will support you in 1 month, in 3 months and in 1 year.
It is about creating an environment in which you can reliably do what you went out to achieve. Even if you are in a bad mood, or you don't want to. A good plan and discipline are friends.
If you consider these ideas, you will most likely achieve your goals. And that is what makes a successful person. He achieves what he wants by doing what he had planned.
You can do that if you approach perseverance step by step.
You can become a master of perseverance and implement any behavioral changes you want. Not only that, but you might even surprise yourself with how easy it is for you to implement change.
Perseverance is a superpower with nearly unlimited fields of application:
Whatever it will be for you: You can learn perseverance and make your life better, more beautiful and abundant.
Another success blocker is the sense of urgency.
Typically, if we do not do it right away, we do not do it at all.
Now is a good time to start.
The three most helpful tools:
The DreamBuilder - Mary Morrissey's knowledge on transformation is unbeaten.
NeuroGym - Winning the Game of Money – Free & useful webinar.