I’m a sucker for movies about underdogs. Whether it’s Rocky, Seabiscuit or those runners in Chariots of Fire, nothing delights me more than seeing the underdog come out from behind and win big. In each of those stories, fervent passion and an aggressive plan of attack got the heroes halfway home. But even beyond passion and planning, perseverance is the critical element that gets the winner to the finish line every time. Changing your life is hard work, so what do you do when your energy is flagging and it seems like there’s a setback at every turn?
Following are 21 Tips and Tactics to help you go the distance, to persevere toward your big-picture vision. Perseverance requires that you understand that sometimes you need to cut yourself some slack, back off of your goals, and just take care of yourself. Other times you need to give yourself a swift kick in the rear to stay on track. Whether you need help in pulling back or ramping up, go through these tips and see which ones might work for you. Just keep one foot in front of the other and you’ll make it!
1. Reach out and call a friend for encouragement.
2. Write out what you’re feeling about your progress in your daybook.
3. Identify a specific action step you want to complete and enlist a buddy or member of your Support Squad to stick with you until you’ve done it.
4. Offer to help someone else who’s struggling with one of the same issues you are, whether it’s fitness, parenting, or career problems.
5. Ask a few members of your Support Squad to get together to address a specific problem or issue about which each of them has information, expertise, or prior history. Be careful about mixing completely unrelated areas like your workout buddy and your career mentor.
6. Do some deep breathing exercises.
7. Enroll in an adult education or college course to help you meet one of your goals or learn a new skill.
8. Get your endorphins going and your body moving by taking a brisk walk or lifting some weights (even soup cans or water bottles).
9. Practice one of the visualization exercises like envisioning your healing sanctuary.
10. Teach someone a skill that reinforces a step on your road map.
11. Do some uncensored brainstorming with a couple of pals around an issue where you feel stuck.
12. Pick a negative thought or action in which you habitually indulge and commit to stopping today. If you frequently tell yourself or others that you’re fat, decide never to say that again and stick to it. Have your friends and family fine you if you break your rule.
13. Treat yourself to something that feels luxurious, even if it’s only a supermarket bouquet or an inexpensive CD.
14. Explain one of the tools you’ve learned, like tapping into your creativity, to a child. Then indulge in whatever you’ve described.
15. Have a success party to celebrate having completed a small action step or an overall goal. Make sure it suits your budget and style, whether it’s cake and coffee at home or a fancy night on the town. Invite your genuine supporters to join you.
16. Become active in a cause or activity that renews your commitment to your own vision. If your vision includes a career change, join a group or class that strengthens that goal.
17. Find a new way to tout your successes. Start a family newsletter to brag about your recent accomplishments. Encourage everyone to join in and make some noise about their successes, too. Start a friends and family trend.
18. Deepen your faith. Whatever you believe spiritually, renew and expand your commitment. Join a church or temple, find a community of like-minded people, and find strength in numbers.
19. Take a break and back off your goals for a couple of days. Rather than kick yourself for slacking off or feeling guilty for not making progress, make a conscious decision that you’re on holiday and enjoy the vacation.
20. Take Sundays off. There’s a reason so many religious groups consider Sunday a day of rest. Try not working, not talking, not driving, or not watching TV one day a week and see how much more focus you can give yourself and your goals.
21. Take a risk. Large or small, try something you never thought you’d have the courage to do, whether it’s making a speech at a Toastmaster’s club, climbing a mountain, taking a ballroom dance class at the Y, or bungee jumping.
Perseverance isn’t drudgery. It’s a commitment to keep moving forward toward the vision you’ve created of your best possible life of purpose and passion. And now you have 21 Tips and Tactics to keep you traveling hopefully!
About the Author:
Libby Gill is a life-change coach, lecturer and author of two books, including the book “Traveling Hopefully: How to Lose Your Family Baggage and Jumpstart Your Life.” Libby can be reached online at www.LibbyGill.com or at 866-77-LIBBY.