Stay the Course or Change the Course with Persistence

Practice Persistence and Self-discipline for Success in Work and Life

Young woman in an office dreaming about achieving her goals through persistence with a hundred sticky notes on her white board.
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"The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night." --Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

”Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." --Calvin Coolidge

More quotations about persistence and determination.

Practicing the self-discipline and persistence to stick with the course you've set to attain your goals and purpose is the single most important factor in determining whether you will achieve them. Without self-discipline, you'll only be able to accomplish easy things. Since true success Is never easy, self-discipline is the key that you need to achieve challenging goals.

Self-discipline to stick with the direction you have set, or to purposefully change it, allows you to persist every day on your journey. Note that purposefully changing your course, if you determine that the action plans you developed or the goal you originally set, are not the right steps or plans, is perfectly okay.

Remember, you only have to be dedicated one day at a time. It can feel overwhelming to look at a long-term goal, but you don't need to accomplish it all in one day. Just one day at a time.

What is not okay is to drift off from your plans due to a lack of persistence, determination, and self-discipline.

Drifting is synonymous with failure. It's easy to drift. It's easy to blame others for your drifting.

These ideas will help you stay on course to achieve your goals and dreams.

  • Renew your vision of what you are working to accomplish regularly. Use your mind to visualize yourself accomplishing the goals or achieving the purpose you set for yourself. A strong, powerful vision of an outcome you sincerely desire is the foundation for persistence and self-discipline. If you don't have that vision, you can't reach the goal, because you don't even know what the goal is.
  • Do something every single day to move in the direction of your desired achievement or goal. Whether you write steps in your planner or shoot from the hip, make sure you make progress every day. Progress becomes your habit. Don't say, “I'll do twice as much tomorrow.” If you want to take the weekend off, that's fine, but make that a part of your plan.
  • If you find yourself drifting away from your course, analyze what is going on. You may find it is time for you to change your course, or tweak your direction, or that the plans you made are not producing the results you want to create. Maybe the goal is not the right goal for you anymore. Do the analysis. Don’t just stop.
  • Involve a friend or network in helping you achieve your goals. Having people to root you on aids persistence and supplies some of the discipline you need to keep moving. Plus, your pride can be helpful. You don't want to have to confess to your friends and mentors that you've given up.
  • When you fail and we all do, place yourself gently back on the path. Don’t beat yourself up, call yourself names or run a negative tape in your mind. Failure is a necessary part of success. If you never fail, you'll never succeed. Keep going.

More about how to encourage the practice of self-discipline in others: Promote Self-discipline.