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Why is Persistence So Important?

by Heather Cribbin, Mental Toughness Coach The Webster’s Dictionary says PERSISTENCE is the act of persevering, continuing or repeating behavior. It is related to enduring determination, doggedness and tenacity. Why persistence? You already work hard really hard, and you’ve got more than your share of talent!

Persistence has been shown to be the biggest predictor of success, in school and in work. It will be key to reaching both your athletic goals as well as any other goals you set in your lifetime. Persistence is an extension of Mental Toughness. It refers to the kind of actions that you take in the face of performance plateaus, setbacks, injuries, and failures. Persistence is a skill you develop overtime by training specific pathways in your brain. In other words, you can train yourself to be persistent because you can train your brain.

Persistence is related to resilience (see my earlier blog on this subject) and optimism. To persist at something with intention, is to presume that you believe you can alter the outcomes of your actions; meaning if you work at it you will get even better! When we fail, or get stopped in some way, we need to train our brains to stick it out. The three keys to developing the skill of persistence are:

  1. Become Aware: Is it your failure, or are you discouraged, or do you have low motivation, or do you feel pessimistic – what’s stopping you from taking action?
  2. Reset: Cue yourself to get conscious, shake it up, become optimistic! Ask yourself:
    • Has it always been like this?
    • Will this last forever? When you answer NO to these questions you engage your optimism and now you are ready to….
  3. Reframe: Plan what you can do differently to create a different outcome? Take a CAN DO approach. Remember the same actions often produce the same results, so what can you do differently? The daily practice of persistence can make this an unconscious way of being. Practice persistence by:
    1. Doing the hard things first
    2. Start your day with discipline
    3. Avoid your own personal pitfalls like things that demotivate or distract you
    4. Finish your workouts with your strengths, as a physical and mental reward
    5. Focus on your progress, don’t aim for perfection

4. Be Always Learning: Seek wisdom, get coached, find mentors, read personal development blogs and books, train your brain.

You know you “want it”. Want what? That elusive best performance ever of course! So train your brain to stick to it, keep at it, tweak your practice, and go back at it again and again. Persistence will lead to the perfect payoff!     Get Psyched! The Mental Toughness Team!

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