"You didn't come this far to only come this far." I replay this mantra in my mind when I get weary from moving forward with any of my goals.
Whether it's my fitness regimen, navigating my sons through the teenage years, or my many business goals, when things get hard, I double down and remind myself of how hard I've worked and how far I've come to get to where I am.
I celebrate the wins. However, I also remind myself that all of the struggle--and all of the victory--will be for nothing if I quit now. So I keep going.
Here are 10 additional strategies you can apply when you find yourself de-motivated, off-course, or discouraged. It happens to everyone who is ambitious and goal-directed.
Select the strategies that work best for you, knowing that what works in one circumstance may not work in another. Progress is always a fluid process, and the road to goal achievement is highly personal and individual.
- Figure out what you really want. Have a crystal clear vision of your desired future state. A clearly defined vision is a source of electric energy. Without it, we flounder because we don't know where we are going. It's exhausting trying to determine the direction we need for every step forward. Imagine your exhaustion if you had to think about where to place your foot every time you took a step. This is what happens when we move forward without a defined path.
- Constantly remind yourself why you want it. Once you know what you want, you can regularly remind yourself why you want it. When I repeat my mantra--"You didn't come this far to only come this far"--I remind myself why I am working on this outcome in the first place. I did not start down a path simply to move forward. I did it to succeed.
- Believe in yourself. Moving forward toward your goals can be lonely. Progress requires a strong self-belief system and inner compass. We can boost our self-confidence by practicing gratitude, surrounding ourselves with positive people, reminding ourselves of how far we have come, and believing that failure isn't an option.
- Strengthen your agility muscle. One of the most important aspects of progress is flexibility, and the ability to quickly pivot when an unexpected roadblock appears on your path. Our inability to accept change derails our ability to move forward. We get fixated on what we think should happen, rather than accepting what will happen.
"Accept, then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it." --Eckhart Tolle
- Surround yourself with a strong community that also persists. When chasing a big dream, you'll need a community of ambitious, positive people to keep you moving when you get tired. They believe in you when you need it most, and understand what drives you.
- Outline clear action steps, even if it means saying no to other things. Strong persistence requires laser focus. It demands you say no to other opportunities that may be great but don't align with your desired end state. The ability to multitask is a myth. Set up a plan for your desired end state, and stay focused.
- Keep structure, even when it's hard. Intention is one thing; execution is another. Without a disciplined plan of action, we stay in a reactive mindset, always responding to the latest email, phone call, text, or notification. Structure sets us free. It takes the guesswork out of how we should invest our time and minimizes distractions. If an activity is not aligned with a goal, should we do it?
- Remember: Incremental progress IS progress. Progress happens in every step, even when we don't feel as if we are moving forward. All individual efforts weave together to ultimately create a breakthrough.
- Take breaks. Integrate breaks of all kinds into your schedule. Schedule in buffer zones between appointments; schedule non-work lunches with friends; plan some play days to disconnect from your working mindset; unplug for a complete vacation. However you define "break," be sure to integrate it into your work.
A close friend plans a quarterly "think day" at a 5-star spa resort, which allows her to recharge and work "on" her business instead of "in" her business.
- Be aware of your own patterns. One of the first assignments I give my CEO clients who feel overwhelmed is to conduct a time audit so they become aware of how they are spending their valuable time.
They are always stunned at their own inefficiencies. We activate strategies to remove everything they shouldn't be doing, which frees up their time and energy to work on the business aspects that only they can do (and want to do).
One final way to increase persistence is to stay out of other people's drama. Nothing sidetracks us faster than drama and gossip which has nothing to do with us. It's easy to get distracted when we see a social or emotional train wreck unfolding before our eyes. While it's important to have empathy and compassion, these scenarios usually don't call for self-sacrifice or entanglement. Avoid the drama-tornado at all costs!
Good luck! And see you at the finish line!