Think back to a big goal you worked long and hard to achieve. Perhaps it was coaching a successful sports team, winning a new client at work, planning a long-awaited family trip, or finally reaching your target weight.
How did it feel? The reward probably held way more value than if you’d accomplished it overnight.
Think about an example even as trivial as waiting two hours for brunch at a popular restaurant this Saturday. Chances are, the food will be worth more to you because of the investment you made in getting it.
While we don't recommend eating sugary breakfasts every weekend (although they're delish!), there is something to be said for showing endurance to reach a goal—big or small. People who are willing to persevere understand and follow through with things that others don’t. Here are several of their key characteristics. Take in some of these tactics to grow in spirit, mind and body.
People who persevere…
1. Find out what they can do.
When an exercise instructor says to do 25 burpees in one minute, there are three basic responses. Some people perform the full 25. Others know they can’t and give up. While others also know they probably can’t, they push to do however many they can.
We see this kind of situation often at the Y, and the most exciting group to watch is the third one. They’re figuring out what they can do; they’re not quitting; they’re struggling. But they keep going, and it’s inspiring to see!
There’s quite a bit of room between 0 and 25, or between nothing and the next big goal you are trying to achieve—whether it’s related to your health, career, finances, etc. Can you get to a 3 or maybe a 13 today? One day you'll look back and marvel at how you arrived at 25.
People who persevere do what they can and don’t stop until they have to.
2. Recognize friction as a frenemy.
You know the facts: you have to stress your muscles in order for them to get stronger. Did you know your body actually builds muscle when you're at rest and not during your workout? Pretty cool.
People who persevere know that friction can be both a friend and foe. This "frenemy" helps turn you into the person you want to be. A certain amount of stress, of breaking down in order to build up, is necessary for growth.
Sure, "no pain, no gain" is easy to say when you’re not in pain. But, persevere through the periods of discomfort, and trust that in between, you are growing stronger and more resilient.
3. Don’t waste time second-guessing.
Right before you begin a workout or lead a meeting isn’t the time to re-evaluate if you actually want to do it. That should have already happened, or it can happen afterwards. You’re committed.
People who persevere learn how to stop second-guessing and just do things. The reason we are often afraid of putting in effort towards our goals is that we know it’s going to be hard. We’ll have to be vulnerable. We’ll have to push ourselves to new limits.
But the thing is: if you have already defined an important goal, you know why you’re putting in the blood, sweat, and tears. Something is worth all of this to you, and it’s all payment towards a greater purpose.
So, don’t waste time stopping to rethink if you want to keep going. Persevere and show up for yourself and others. You won't regret it.