Perseverance Makes Perfection
Today, we’re going to talk about perseverance.
If you think about it, the most simple definition of perseverance is suffering…and learning through your suffering…and applying your learning and improving... yikes, perseverance sounds brutal!
That’s because it is.
Let’s take one that everybody’s tried: working out.
We know that regular exercise offers incredible benefits to our bodies, like improved cardiovascular and circulatory systems, increased musculature, endurance, and flexibility, and a decelerated rate of aging. We also know that—despite its irrefutable evidence in supporting a healthy and happy life—it’s a habit that most people struggle to build and maintain… at least at some point or another. Perseverance is key to becoming physically fit, and it involves a whole lot of sacrifice and a cycle of pain and recovery repeated over and over again.
A lot of people bulldoze into working out. They think, The stronger I start, the stronger I’ll finish! But that’s the thing about an uphill battle: the hill’s gonna win before you do. Maybe more than once. Maybe a few hundred times. But eventually, you’re going to get to the top…if you keep moving up.
Trying looking at perseverance within physical health one step at a time. Like the fable of the tortoise and the hare—slow and steady, right? As long as there’s forward momentum, that’s something! Whether that looks like driving to the gym and sitting in the sauna for 10 minutes everyday just to establish the habit of showing up; whether it’s setting 15 minutes aside in the morning to follow a guided stretching routine; whether it’s signing up for a jiu-jitsu class, riding a bike on a trail, or just taking a few minutes to shake your body out in your office. It’s progress; it’s a step up the hill.
An important part of taking things one step at a time is allowing it to be okay when you fail, falter, or fall short. Don’t bully yourself. Don’t put yourself down. Forgive yourself! It’s the kindest, best way to get back on your feet. Negative, self-deprecating thoughts only feed your brain the proof it needs to tell you that you aren’t good enough to continue. You are! Because you’re still farther along than when you started. Maybe farther than you think, after making a mistake and learning from it.
Let’s be honest though… failing sucks! Most of us have failed way too many times in the pursuit of the things we not only want, but even know that we need—like exercise. The challenge is that because we have failed so many times, we can end up creating a deep distrust within ourselves. If we view failure as an obstacle, instead of simply a wrong way to do something, it can actually damage our relationship with ourselves. So much so that we may not be able to believe ourselves at all anymore, even when we do want to start up that hill again.
Heavy, we know… but stick with us because there is hope.
So here’s the next question—or three—to ask yourself: How well do you know yourself? How much do you trust yourself? And what is the next step if you keep trying to ‘climb the hill,’ but you’re not seeing yourself get anywhere?
The first two questions are up to you to answer, and we recommend that you do. Seeking after the answers will teach you a lot about yourself, and more importantly, your habits.
The answer to the third question is one we can help with. Here’s an idea that may sound silly or way too simple, but can help you move toward trusting yourself like a boss again. With a new commitment to building trust within yourself, boil it down to the very simplest activity you could use to start. One habit that you can establish that you absolutely cannot fail at. Seriously, this could be as small as a 5 minute walk, one page in a book, one phone call, two minutes of mindfulness or meditation. Once you master that one, simple, silly thing for a week or two, you will start to feel like you could up the stakes a little. That’s the result of the work you did to build confidence and trust in yourself. You’re learning that you can successfully do whatever you set your mind to.
Now, BE CAREFUL! With all this new confidence, the tendency to start bulldozing again might try to kick into gear, but don’t get too cocky. You might burn yourself out if you jump right in again, and with the fragile trust you have in yourself, you’re not in a spot to break it just yet. Instead, try slowly increasing the time or intensity of the thing you are already doing by a little bit for a couple of more weeks. Over time, you’ll find you have more trust to depend on when it comes to doing more and picking up things that are going to build your trust with yourself in the future. But remember… YOU CANNOT MOVE FASTER THAN THE TRUST YOU HAVE BUILT WITH YOURSELF.
Once you trust yourself and can hold yourself to your word, the world is your oyster.
When things get tough—because they will sometimes—what will you use as your reason to persevere? What is your inspiration? What are you going to think about when obstacles pop up in your way? The more important your inspiration is to you, the better motivator it will be. Cheat day, a goal max weight, or measurements can all be great motivators to work out, but your inspiration will have to come from somewhere deeper. Maybe you want to stick around for a long time for your family, maybe you want to feel more comfortable living within your own skin, or maybe your health depends on how well you can discipline yourself. At the end of the day, what will drive you?
Motivators push us toward things in short bursts, but when the adrenaline fades, it’s your inspiration that will keep you going. Your mind will try to slip back into the comfort of the normal. Shifting your focus when you start to feel lost, looking for the light, the spark… the inspiration—it’s difficult! We’ve said it now and again… it’s the hardest thing you’ll do.
Because the decision to persevere is the only thing between you and everything you want.
We, your 7k family, are always here, trying to help recenter your focus. We KNOW how hard it is! We’re standing shoulder to shoulder with you, encouraging and refocusing you whenever you slip up. That’s our job! Your job is to learn from your experiences and to become better. Little by little, step by step. Regardless that it’s hard, or that you failed, or that people tell you you can’t. You’ve got this…and we believe in you.