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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 January 21, 2020

    How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

    How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

    We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

    So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

    While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

    Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

    What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

    How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

    But what does being productive actually entail?

    Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

    Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

    It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

    Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

    9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

    1. Avoid Multitasking

    Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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    Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

    If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

    2. Turn off Notifications

    According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

    Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

    The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

    Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

    3. Manage Interruptions

    There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

    Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

    If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

    By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

    4. Eat the Frog

    Mark Twain once famously said that:

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    “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

    What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

    We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

    Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

    5. Cut Down on Meetings

    Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

    You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

    The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

    But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

    If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

    6. Utilize Tools

    Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

    If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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    And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

    Some examples of tools that could be used:

    Communication
    • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
    • Samepage for video conference software.
    • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
    Task Management
    • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
    • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
    • Wekan for an open source option.
    Database Management
    Time Tracking
    • Clockify for a free tracker.
    • TMetric for workspace integrations.
    • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

    You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

    7. Declutter and Organize

    Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

    Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

    Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

    Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

    8. Take Breaks

    Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

    As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

    Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

    Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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    9. Drink Water

    Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

    Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

    Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

    A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

    If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

    You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

    The Bottom Line

    The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

    After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

    In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

    A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

    Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    More About Boosting Productivity

    Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

    Reference

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