I am going to be starting a series of posts on overcoming obstacles, and facing our fears. The obstacles that we face in life, are as unique as we are individuals, but they often have similar ways of being solved. Things like perseverance, courage, flexibility, and creativity are important to have in our problem solving arsenals.
This is a biggy; probably the biggest part of whether you succeed in your mission or not. What is perseverance? How do we strengthen it in ourselves? What can we do when we just don’t have enough of it? These are all really important things to think about when we decide to go after something.
Perseverance is when you stick with something until it’s completion, even when your task becomes difficult.
Sometimes perseverance is a necessity, like when you need to get a job after being laid off. However, sometimes it can be looked at as an “option”, like when you have a goal that you are trying to reach that doesn’t have an immediate effect on your well being. It isn’t as vital that you reach your goal, and it becomes easy to let it fall by the wayside. If it’s not killing me then I’m not going to worry about it, even if I know that there is a better option.
The trouble with perseverance is that it’s a really hard thing to master. It’s easy at first, but when the going gets tough, the weak bail out.
Food is a big area of weakness for me. If I could eat nutella toast and jalapeno flavored potato chips all the time, I would. However, recently I have been diagnosed with PCOS, (which I will go into in a later post, but here is a good article about it for now if you’re interested) and it has become the biggest obstacle that I have faced yet. It brings with it a whole lot of hormone imbalances, the possibility of infertility, anxiety, insulin resistance, and usually weight gain. All of these symptoms can be controlled and sometimes even reversed with two seemingly simple things, diet and exercise. My faves… I have been on a pretty strict diet of as many veggies as possible, plus some protein, a small amount of starch and no sugar. I am a few months in and so far going strong.
Every time that I say no to something that I really want to eat, like cookies, or ice cream, I am building up my perseverance level. I am becoming stronger, so that when it comes to really big things, like what I am going to eat on an upcoming weekend away from home, I will be able to be strong in my food choices.
Getting better at persevering.
The first step of overcoming an obstacle is planning out the steps that you need to do to get past whatever it is that you are facing. I’ll use my example from above to illustrate. In order to heal my body I need to do one main thing: get my hormones balanced. There are a few different ways to do this including medicine, and life style change. I have decided to give life style change a go first, because I’d rather not be dependent on medication if I don’t have to be. A lifestyle change means two big changes in my life, I have to exercise and I have to cut out a lot of foods that I really enjoy.
My first step was to change my diet. I made a list of foods that I couldn’t eat, and I stopped buying them so that I wouldn’t be tempted at home. I also followed a lot of clean eating blogs, and learned a lot of new recipes. One of my favorite recipes so far are these Buffalo Chickpea Wraps from The Minimalist Baker. We also picked up some new spices to add more flavor to our meals.
The second step was exercising. To achieve this we got a membership at Planet Fitness. So far I have been really happy with our choice here! They have a lot of machines, so I find that I am able to easily fill up 45 minutes with activity.
What if you don’t have enough perseverance?
What happens when you are finding it difficult to move forward? Maybe you have reached an unexpected roadblock, or are finding it hard to keep up with the steps that you have laid out for yourself. When this happens I like to do two things:
First, I reevaluate the way I am tackling this particular obstacle. Maybe I need to break my steps into smaller pieces. Or maybe I need to take a different approach to how I am looking at my challenge. In some cases I might not be at a point in my life where I can accomplish the goal that I have set, and I need to make adjustments to what I am trying to accomplish.
Second, bring in the reinforcements. When I am having a hard time completing the steps that I have laid out for myself I bring in some help. Usually this is my husband, he is really good at holding me accountable and supporting me.
By breaking bigger steps up into smaller more manageable pieces, it makes it easier to persevere until you reach your goal. Sometimes when you can only see the mountain in front of you it can be hard to take the first step.
I hope that I have been able to offer some helpful insights on goal setting and persevering! I’d love to hear your suggestions for how persevere through something difficult!