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6 Powerful Ways to Become More Persistent (And Never Quit Again)

6 Powerful Ways to Become More Persistent (And Never Quit Again)

Most of us are great at setting goals, but not at achieving them.

Whether it’s starting a new business, learning a new language, or mastering an instrument  —  we love to start things without finishing. One of the biggest reasons why we never achieve our goals is due to a lack of motivation and persistence.

We start out with an abundance of optimism about the journey, without being fully prepared mentally  for the inevitable obstacles ahead. As Tony Robbins says, “Success in anything is 80% psychology, and 20% mechanics.”

Let’s uncover the six powerful ways to become more persistent, so you’ll never quit again.

1. Have a vision outside of yourself

It all starts with this first step.

Without a bigger vision and purpose that is greater than yourself, you’ll quit at the initial stages of difficulty, as you will inevitably be knocked down. In contrast, when you’re achieving something for a purpose outside of yourself, the pressure of accountability alone will push you further than a purpose that is self-centered.

For example, if you’re learning a language in order to have a deeper connection with your life partner, you’re much more likely to persist because your relationship is on the line.

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Or, if you’re trying to lose weight, think about how confident, joyful, and happy you will feel. But more importantly, think about how that will affect the loved ones around you.

Shifting from a self-centered goal to a bigger purpose that affects those you love helps you focus on what you will get out of it, instead of how hard it is.

2. Build a support team

As the popular saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

The top performers in the world all have a support team to keep them motivated and persistent, from personal coaches, employees, assistants, mentors, accountability partners — the list goes on.

More importantly, you should surround yourself with individuals who have already achieved what you want to achieve. Not only will this affect your speed of learning, but science has shown that it will impact your persistency and resiliency when things get difficult. When you have a clearly-defined purpose, with a state of certainty that you can achieve it, you influence a system in our body called the reticular activating system (RAS), that helps our brains decide what information to focus on and what to delete.

In summary, your mind starts to focus your energy on achieving the goal at hand, instead of unhelpful distractions like doubts and fears.

3. Have a growth mindset

In order to achieve our goals, we often have to get out of our own way.

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The author of Mindset, Carol Dweck, spent twenty years researching how our mindset affects success. The research claims that individuals have on of two mindsets. Perhaps you possess the growth mindset, where you thrive on challenges to achieve success. Otherwise, you own a fixed mindset, where you think you were born with whatever talents you have, and there’s not much you can do to change them.

Growth-v-Fixed

    In other words, we should focus on celebrating small wins and progress, knowing that we are continuing to improve, rather than having lofty expectations.

    4. Schedule it

    The most successful people in the world, including billionaire entrepreneurs, Olympic athletes, and world-class learners, all use schedules to prioritize their day.

    Why a schedule as opposed to a simple to-do list?

    According to a researcher Kevin Kruse, there are a few key weaknesses of a to-do list:

    • A to-do list doesn’t account for time. When we have a long list of tasks, we tend to tackle those that can be completed quickly in a few minutes, leaving the longer items left undone. Research from the company iDoneThis indicates that 41% of all to-do list items are never completed!
    • It doesn’t distinguish between urgent and important. Once again, our impulse is to fight the urgent and ignore the important. (Are you overdue for your next colonoscopy or mammogram?)
    • To-do lists contribute to stress. In what’s known in psychology as the Zeigarnik effect, unfinished tasks contribute to intrusive, uncontrolled thoughts. It’s no wonder we feel so overwhelmed in the day, but fight insomnia at night.

    Instead, we should focus on scheduling our priorities, such as reviewing your Spanish common words, practicing the drums, or writing 500 words for your upcoming book.

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    What doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done.

    5. Teach Others

    Have you ever taught something you learned to someone, and found it easier to remember in the future?

    This is because when we teach something to someone, our brain is able to register the information more effectively than simply reading about it.

    As research shows, it turns out that people retain:

    5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from a lecture.
    10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading.
    20% of what they learn from audio-visual.
    30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration.
    50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
    75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.
    90% of what they learn when they teach someone else to use the information immediately.

    This research finding is especially relevant for those wanting to master a new skill.

    If you want to learn how to become a better speaker, don’t just watch others do it. You need to immediately use what you’ve learned; then try to ‘teach’ someone else what you’ve just done.

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    If you’re learning a new language, instead of using one-sided interactions like audio tapes or mobile apps, work with a language teacher or conversation exchange partner to practice what you’re learning.

    The key to learning with persistence is to use it (or lose it).

    6. Have stakes

    Why are we less likely to be late to a business meeting than a meeting with our friends? Because the former could get us fired. As humans, we’re naturally more motivated to commit when there is a consequence or a stake, even if it’s a friendly one.

    Research shows that we are three times more influenced by negative consequences than positive consequences, so stakes such as losing money are powerful incentives to use against yourself.

    You can make a friendly bet with a friend to keep you honest. Or, try using a program like StickK, where you can set a specific goal with a referee to monitor you, and donate money to a charity as a consequence for not succeeding.

    The key is to get someone involved from your support team, and share your goals publicly. The social pressure of affecting your reputation alone will push you further than you can imagine.

    Over to you

    What’s a goal or new skill you’re trying to persist through? Which of these strategies will you use to achieve it?

    I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

    More by this author

    Sean Kim

    Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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    Last Updated on March 29, 2021

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

    What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

    The Dream Type Of Manager

    My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

    I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

    My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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    “Okay…”

    That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

    I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

    The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

    The Bully

    My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

    However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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    The Invisible Boss

    This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

    It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

    The Micro Manager

    The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

    Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

    The Over Promoted Boss

    The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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    You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

    The Credit Stealer

    The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

    Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

    3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

    Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

    1. Keep evidence

    Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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    Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

    Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

    2. Hold regular meetings

    Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

    3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

    Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

    However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

    Good luck!

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