“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its PERSISTENCE.”
— James N. Watkins
So many of us focus on BLASTING toward our goals at full speed.
Yet I wonder… how many of us will stall out within three months? How many will end up right where they were before?
I’ve been there. At first, it feels turbocharged, like nothing can stop me. Like I have powerful engines behind me.
Power is, well, POWERFUL… it’s exciting, motivating, and it absolutely can get you started, but it isn’t sustainable for the long haul. At least not for most of us.
The amount of effort that goes into being 100% “on” or “all in” all the time becomes exhausting and irritating. You can’t keep going on power alone. It just won’t last. We aren’t cut out for that, anyway.
There’s something else you can do, though: persist.
Abandoning power and transitioning instead to persistence will, by its very nature, keep you going — and get you results. Results that LAST.
Why Do We Stall Out on Our Goals?
So why do so many of us stall out when the power fails — instead of just switching to persistence?
The answer is simple: Transitioning to persistence is scary when we start out relying on power because it feels smaller somehow… like failure. By cranking down to a manageable rate instead of blasting day in and day out, it feels like a downgrade. We’re afraid if we scale back or don’t do things at a constant full throttle, then we won’t get results.
This is the “all or nothing” mentality. And it’ll bite you in the butt every time!
Doing something — anything — at 25% or even 10% every day is better than going 100% for a short time and then quitting. Back in my personal training days, it was shocking how many folks would rather do nothing than something. They felt if they couldn’t work out six days a week, four days was unacceptable, and it was somehow better not to do anything at all than not “do it right.”
I’m not knockin’ my former clients, though — I’ve been there, too! I battle with thoughts like, “If I can’t complete this ENTIRE blog post in one sitting, then I’m not going to start at all,” and “If I can’t fit in a 30-minute workout, why bother with a 15-minute one?”
I sabotage myself! We all do it. No one is immune. The key is to catch yourself when you get into that mindset, and then work your way into persistence.
Get Over the Desire to Be “Done”
Another reason relying on power over persistence leads to failure is because the reliance on power is usually based on the idea that you’ll be “done” quicker.
Guess what? You’ll never be done. If you ever think you’re “done,” you’re actually quitting.
Even if you finish a course, you’re not done with that subject matter. You’ll always be learning; you’ll never be perfect at that thing. Never.
Even if you lose the weight, it won’t stay off unless you’ve built sustainable habits and a positive relationship with food.
Even if you pay off the debt, more will take its place unless you stay vigilant with your spending.
Fear and Doubt Never Go Away
Confession: I’ve been struggling a lot lately to keep going when I feel I’m not getting anywhere.
And here’s the kicker: Even if I am getting somewhere, I feel like I’m not. And once I’m done with the Fear of X, the Fear of Y steps in to take its place. There’s always a new way to self-sabotage and throw in the towel instead of keeping up the forward motion. But there’s always a way to improve yourself, too.
Nobody is immune to fear and doubt. No matter how mindful you are, no matter how much work you do to conquer your fears, no matter how many mantras and affirmations and visualization exercises you do… fear and doubt will always be there.
Fear never goes away; it just changes its face. Change and fear are both inevitable. They’re also completely out of your hands.
The only thing you can control is the action you take every minute of every day. Despite the fear. Despite the intimidation. And despite the lack of motivation.
This is your life — the only life you get. Achieving goals, making money, creating your identity… none of this stuff is supposed to feel easy, and you’re never going to feel ready to tackle it. You’ll never have the power to propel yourself forward. Commit to what actually works, and you’ll soon find yourself loving the progress you make.
Progress is the keyword here. Rome wasn’t built in a day, the next great American novel won’t be written in a day, and a better, smarter, healthier, happier you that makes more money won’t happen in a day, either. Move beyond the way you feel. Show up every day anyway. Embrace the action and enjoy the journey — even the crappy parts — because without those rainy days, we’d never appreciate the sunny ones.
Fall in LOVE with the journey of becoming the best version of you. I promise you’ll be much happier when you do 🙂