No more self-sabotage!

keepcalm

 

We human beings are quirky. We are endowed with several wonderful qualities, such as the ability to communicate, love, dream, and find courage in the face of daunting circumstances.

 

We also have quite the tendency to self-sabotage, often right on the cusp of success. Why is this? Why would we knowingly, purposely quit, give up, cry uncle, back out, and buckle under just when success is within our grasp?

 

It’s a brain thing. Call it a minor malfunction or glitch, if you will. Our mind can trip us up far more than anyone, or anything else in this world. It whispers into your subconscious sneaky lies such as:

 

  • You can’t really do this.
  • You don’t deserve this.
  • Eh, you don’t really, truly want this.
  • Even if you make it, it won’t last
  • This is boring. Let’s screw this up.
  • Hey, look over there – something shiny!

 

You’d think your own brain would be your friend, but apparently it has other ideas about your dreams and goals. The mind seems to be kind of a prankster, actually. So if you are serious about accomplishing something, and don’t want your meddling mind getting in the way – you need to trick it right back.


Strategies to strengthen perseverance

 

“Perseverance, secret of all triumphs” – Victor Hugo

 

The word “perseverance” sometimes seems a bit intimidating. After all, it’s commonly associated with highly successful athletes, corporate kings, miracle stories, and other things that seem slightly out of our reach.

However, perseverance isn’t some magical pill some are given, leaving the rest of us in the cold. It is a skill, nothing more. A skill that can be learned, practiced, and mastered by anyone. It’s like a muscle, work it out a bit every day, and before long, it will be strong.

 

Ways to strengthen your perseverance muscle include:

  • Start small – think of a minor project you’ve been meaning to get done. It can be something as simple as cleaning out your closet (admittedly this isn’t minor for many). Assign yourself a very specific time allotment per day to get this done, say, 15 minutes.
  • Question your perspective – how you perceive a task will define how much of a challenge you think it is, and whether or not you can do it. It’s all in how you see it – like the old “half glass full or empty” experiment we all know. If you can take a negative thought, such as “I’ll never get this done,” and then challenge it, telling yourself “yes, I can, and here are 3 reasons why,” then you’re gold.
  • Define the WHY – keep in the forefront of your mind what it means for you, and why it is important to you.

 

Just as important as perseverance is the ability to keep your goal realistic. That’s not raining on your parade, or saying you shouldn’t aim high and “shoot for the stars,” as they say. It means don’t set the bar for success so high that you virtually are asking for a major melt-down.

 

Room to breathe

Goals and dreams are like us, in some ways. They need support, love, encouragement, pep talks, perseverance (of course) – but like us, they also need room to breathe.

To make this happen, you need to create margin. In the book “Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives,by Richard Swenson,  margin is described as

…the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.”

 

If in your quest for your goal, you leave no room for mistakes, rest, and breaks, you will undoubtedly begin to burn out. This is the point where your mind starts to whisper “this is too much work, you can’t do this.”

Don’t let that happen. Learn how to create margin so you can have an emergency reserve of perseverance when you need it the most – likely when you are close to the finishing line.

Finish-SprintforSight-Large

 

Benjamin Disraeli once said,

 

“Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure.”

 

What he did not say was that many people seem to have a tendency to, as some joke, “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”  You don’t have to be one of them. You can stop the cycle of self-sabotage.

You can challenge yourself, develop self-awareness, press on, and reach your goal.

 

 

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