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How to Persevere

Three Parts:Strengthening Your ResolveDealing with ObstaclesStaying Resilient

What's the key to perseverance? Putting one foot in front of the other will get you the finish line, but there are tools you can use to help you face down challenges, meet your goals and truly enjoy the process, rather than just getting by. Banishing self doubt, living by your values and nourishing your spiritual side are just a few ways you can strengthen your resolve to keep moving forward.

Part 1
Strengthening Your Resolve

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    Know what you want. Maybe your goal is specific: you want to climb Mount Everest, stop smoking, or get a better job. Or maybe it's more a more general goal to be a better family member or a happier person. Either way, the path toward meeting your goals will be more clear if you take the time to do some deep thinking and preparation.
    • If you have a specific goal in mind, plot out a course to help you reach it. Do research to find out what steps you need to take along the way. If it's helpful, create a schedule that will help you meet your goal. Give yourself a deadline for each step along the way.
    • Whatever your goal, prepare to put in some time and work. Developing the mental strength to persevere takes a lot of practice, but you can start right now.
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    Get rid of self-doubt. The first hurdle you're likely to encounter is correcting the state of your own self-confidence. It's really difficult to make progress unless you believe you're capable of persevering. No matter how unobtainable your goals may seem now, you have the intelligence and power to get there. If your goal is to overcome problems and face life's troubles with grace, you can do that, too.
    • Don't compare yourself to other people. Doing so will inevitably lead to self doubt. You have the power to persevere using your unique strengths and talents, and your process is going to be different from other people's.
    • If there are things in your life that hurt your confidence, get rid of them. For example, if you tend to fall back on harmful habits like drinking, abusing drugs or eating only junk food, this will make it harder to see yourself as a person with the mental toughness to persevere. Take steps to end addictive behaviors and bad habits.
    • Spend time doing things you're good at. Practicing your skills, like playing a sport, making art, cooking, reading, knitting, or gardening, is a great way to build up your confidence. Spend time doing things that make you feel satisfied and positive about life.
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    Practice staying cool. Getting hung up on stressful but small incidents takes a lot of energy - energy that could be going toward something more productive. Part of persevering is mastering the ability to let go of the little things. It's a lot easier said than done, but you can start practicing right away. Next time you find yourself in a long line or a traffic jam, or you start to heat up over a silly comment someone made, practice staying chill using the following technique:
    • Think before speaking or acting. Give a few minutes to think it through before you do anything. Think about how small this issue is in the grand scheme of things.
    • While you're thinking, feel the anger or irritation move through your body, then feel it subside.
    • Take five deep breaths. Breathe so that your stomach distends when you inhale, then pulls in when you exhale. Breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
    • Move on with your day, dealing with the situation in a cool and appropriate manner. If you're in a line, wait patiently for your turn (and don't berate the person working the desk when you get to the front). If someone made an annoying comment, respond with a smile and let it go. You have more important things to spend your energy on.
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    Don't get dragged down by haters. As you walk the path toward your goal, or just work on persevering in daily life, you might encounter people who question you or tell you you won't get far. Don't let it weigh you down. Realize that people are usually negative as a result of their own problems and issues they're dealing with.
    • If the goal you're trying to reach is a big one, like climbing Mount Everest, you'll encounter people who tell you you can't do it. This is all par for the course. Have faith in yourself, and think ahead to the moment when you'll be able to prove them wrong.
    • If there are people in your life who are particularly negative and seem bent on preventing you from achieving, it's ok to either stop spending time with them or limit how much you see them.
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    Know your values. Having a good grasp of your own personal values is how you figure out the best way forward in any given situation and keep you aimed toward your target. What are your core beliefs? What do you stand for, and how does that play out in your life? The answers to these questions don't come easily, but with each life experience, you'll get closer to understanding yourself and your view of the world. These things can also help:
    • Read up on a lot of different perspectives. Even if you feel very strongly about a certain issue, get the other side of the story. Gain as much knowledge as you can on subjects about which you care.
    • If you're religious, delve deep into the teachings of your religion. Have conversations about ethics and morality.
    • Meditate. Explore your own mind and learn how to listen to your conscience.
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    Figure out if you're enjoying life. Perseverance can mean putting in countless hours of excruciatingly difficult or boring work. However, in the knowledge that you're putting in this time to meet your goals, life will have a predominantly positive tint. You're not just getting through life, you're making the most of it. If dread and resentment have creeped in, and you're not enjoying the challenge anymore, you might want to change your tack.
    • This is not to say that life won't sometimes be upsetting on the path to your goals. Over time you'll recognize the difference between temporary frustration and longer-term negativity.
    • What tools do you have at your disposal to help yourself feel more positive? For example, you could make a weekly coffee or phone date with your best friend so you have someone to lend an ear when things are hard, or you could schedule time for a long run with your dog to give your mind time to relax.

Part 2
Dealing with Obstacles

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    Face reality. Having the ability to stare life's challenges in the face is a big advantage, but it can be really difficult to do. When a big problem arises, it's so much easier to ignore it, sugarcoat it, or put off making a decision. Practice seeing obstacles for what they are so you can figure out the best way around, over or through them.
    • Be truthful with yourself. If you've strayed from the path toward your goal, own up to it. For example, if your goal is to become a published author, and you haven't set aside time to write, face the facts instead of making excuses for yourself.
    • Don't place blame where it doesn't belong. You haven't started your couch to 5k program because your boss gives you too much work, your kids have been keeping you up, or it's too cold outside - does this sound like you? Remember the power you have to take action in your life, and use it to move forward, even if you have to start again at square 1.
    • Avoid escapism. Big problems can be temporarily eluded by turning to alcohol, TV, drugs, overeating, constant video game-playing - but only temporarily. If you find yourself putting things off until tomorrow because you're too busy to face what matters, the problem will just fester in the meantime.
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    Weigh your options carefully. Making careful, reasoned decisions instead of rash ones will get you further, faster. Each time you encounter an obstacle, examine the issue from all angles before you take action. There's always more than one way to handle a problem, and you want to figure out which path makes the most sense without taking any shortcuts.
    • Get advice from those with wisdom. Other people can be a huge help when it comes to making big decisions. If you know people who've been through it before, ask them how they handled the situation. Just remember to take other people's advice with a grain of salt, especially if they're somehow invested in the outcome.
    • It may also be helpful to have a few role models - people in your life, celebrities, religious figures - with values that align with yours. Asking yourself what those people would do in a given situation could help point you in the right direction.
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    Listen to your conscience. It's the ultimate deciding factor. What do you believe is the right thing to do? Acting with your conscience as your guide is always the best decision, even if it brings about an apparent setback. When you act according to your conscience, you can be confident you did your very best. If doubt or confusion set in later, the knowledge that you acted according to your conscience will help you get through.
    • Sometimes the right path is clear, and other times it's murky. Do what you need to do to see clearly, whether that's meditating, going to a religious service, writing in a journal, or another activity that helps you sort through your thoughts.
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    Stand up for yourself. After you make a decision that you know is right, back it up with all you've got. Follow through in the face of criticism, hardship and self doubt. It takes courage to act on your beliefs, especially when they aren't popular. But you can draw strength and confidence from the knowledge that you weighed the options carefully and acted based on your own steadfast beliefs.
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    Learn from your mistakes. You won't always find your way on the first try. Wisdom is gained by making lots of mistakes and trying something different the next time around. Reflect on what happened and figure out what you can take away from the experience, then apply what you learned next time you have another obstacle to face down.
    • Even the strongest people have failures. Don't fall into a pattern of beating yourself up when something goes wrong. Instead, plot a new strategy for pursuing your goal, knowing it'll turn out differently next time.

Part 3
Staying Resilient

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    Keep your mind and body healthy. When your mind is cloudy and your body's out of shape, it can be a lot harder to get through tough times and reach your goals. Taking daily measures to stay healthy will go a long way toward helping you persevere. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
    • Eat a wholesome diet. Make sure you're getting plenty of nutritious, in-season vegetables and fruits. Eat whole grains, meat, and healthy fats. Try not to eat too many processed foods.
    • Get plenty of sleep. A full night's sleep can make the difference between having a bad day and a great one. Get 7 to 8 hours nightly whenever possible.
    • Move your body. Whether you like walking, yoga, running, biking, swimming, or another activity, move around as much as you can. Exercise puts you in a good mood and keeps you in shape for whatever life may throw at you. Trying a regimen of exercising for 30 minutes daily is a great place to start.
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    Be part of a community. Surround yourself with people who know you and will support you as you work to meet your goals. Support other people, too, so you're an integral part of your community. Be someone others can turn to, and don't be shy to turn to them when you need help.
    • Be a dependable son, daughter, sibling, parent, and friend. Having close ties with family and friends will see you through the darkest times.
    • Get involved in the community where you live. Volunteering, taking classes, going to town hall meetings, and cheering on your local teams are all great ways to feel like you're part of something bigger.
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    Keep things in perspective. Instead of just getting by minute to minute, day to day, take a longer view. Know that each trial will eventually pass, and do your best to get through it with grace and strength, so that you can be proud of how you performed later on, when you're looking back. Understand that while your problems matter, they don't matter more than other people's. Gain a sense of how large the world is, and engage with it as much as you can.
    • Reading books and articles and following the news can help you stay connected and aware, and put things in perspective.
    • Get out of your head and try to see things through other people's eyes sometimes. Take your niece out for ice cream, or visit your elderly aunt in the nursing home.
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    Nourish your spirituality. Many people find that honing a sense of being part of something bigger is comforting and energizing. Having a spiritual life can help you find your purpose again when you don't know where to turn.
    • If you're religious, attend services regularly. If you pray, do it often.
    • Practice meditation and other forms of spiritual awareness.
    • Spend time in natural places, and let yourself experience the wonder of forests, oceans, rivers and open sky.
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    Stay true to who you are. You'll persevere if you continue aligning your actions with your values. When something about your life begins to feel wrong, make a change. Continue correcting your course until you meet your goal.


  • Winners never quit,quitters never win
  • Try to avoid nay-sayers. They will discourage you for the sake of discouragement.
  • Seek advice from more experienced people, and others who have had success in your area.


  • Do not keep trying things that will damage you unless you have a clear path to improvement.

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