Lack of persistence is the biggest mistake you can ever make when you want to change something in your life.
Imagine the next scenario:
You meet somebody who lives the kind of life that you want, and you don’t fall in the trap of comparing yourself to him/her; instead you get inspired to work hard on yourself and get that kind of life too.
So you start working, planning and doing everything that you can to get where you want to be.
And everything is going well; in fact you’re starting to see some changes and feeling great.
After a while you stop working. You just slip out of the track.
For a reason or another you can’t get yourself to keep moving forward, you stop for a while and then you can’t move anymore.
After all, as long as there’s persistence, there’s progress. No persistence, no progress and no change.
We’ve all been in this situation before, especially in the gym: we workout for a while and then we stop and screw up our progress, then we start all over again, it’s a cycle.
And if I were to tell you how to actually change something in your life, I would say: be persistent and never stop working.
In this article we’re going to see what stops people the most from taking action and being persistent.
Those 6 things we’re going to discuss will stop you from taking action, being persistent, and creating long-term change.
Examine your own life and see if any of these things is stopping you from doing what you need to do.
1. Pain and Fear
In the article The Real Reason You Don’t Take Action (and what to do about it) I said that the only reasons we stop taking action is because of pain.
Simply we start to believe that taking action will bring us pain, on the unconscious level of course.
Fear is one form of the pain that can stop you from taking action.
Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of embarrassment or even fear of success.
Someone can stop going to the gym because he feels uncomfortable, and he hates these feelings of comparing himself to all those fit guys in the gym.
Someone can stop trying to apply for a new job because he failed many times.
The reasons why someone can’t ask the girl he likes out is the fear of rejection.
Also the reason why someone can’t get close to other people and open up is some kind of fear; fear of rejection, fear of looking weak …etc. (Read: 5 Studies (With Case-Study) that will help you become more social)
Someone can stop working on his project/business because he’s seeing no results. Disappointment and frustration are very powerful emotions that you may stop taking action in order to avoid them.
The point is that for a reason or another you started to think that taking action will actually hurt you, and most of the time this happens on the unconscious level and we’re not even aware of it.
Be honest with yourself, what pain/fear you’re trying to avoid by not taking action?
Last but not least, I believe that this reasons is the root for this problem (not taking action), and most of the following reasons are just indicators of it.
2. Lack of Flexibility
It’s really hard to move when you don’t know what to do and which road to take.
And it’s even harder to move when the road you take doesn’t get you where you want to be.
Yes you can get yourself to the gym, but if you’re doing it wrong you may end up stopping, simply because you won’t get the results and you’ll feel disappointed.
And even if you kept doing what you’re doing, you’ll be frustrated because you’re not getting the results that you want.
To ensure that you stay consistent you must study what works and what doesn’t work, and be flexible in the way you move.
Sticking to one plan and not being able to change it when it’s obviously not working is not persistent, it’s foolish persistent, and foolish persistent will hurt your progress.
Sticking to what doesn’t work and not being able to be flexible and change your approach will result in two consequences, and both are bad.
You’ll either just not get the results that you want, or you get disappointed and stop taking action in the first place, and thus not get the results as well.
You have to be willing to change your approach when things are obviously not working.
Or simply when it’s no longer possible to continue working the same way.
When you can’t join a gym, for whatever reason, you need to be flexible and find another way to workout, and not just stop working out.
You can buy a pair of dumbbells or you can simply workout using your bodyweight.
That will keep you going and will save your progress.
And it’s not only about the gym, that’s true in every other area in your life as well.
Self-sabotage is when you’re close to get the things that you want, or at least you’re on the right track, and you start to sabotage everything.
It happens more than you think it does.
But the thing about self-sabotage is that it happens on the unconscious level, we’re not even aware of it.
Your unconscious mind kicks in and decides that this thing you’re doing will bring you pain and it must stop.
And without you know it, you start doing things which will result in failure.
People who fear success, unconsciously, will sabotage their progress whenever things start to work.
Not because they don’t want to succeed, it’s just their mind is trying to make them avoid some pain that it believes this success will bring them.
Their mind has good intentions, although it’s working against them.
For example, someone who succeeded before but all the people around him started to judge him. And most of them didn’t actually love him because of who he is, but rather because of his success.
If connection and having healthy relationships/friendships is important for this person, then there’s a big chance that he’ll start sabotaging his success in order to get back to where he was before.
Sure this is a very simple example, things in reality can be more complicated.
And to really understand the reasons behind this conflict and self-sabotage we need to examine this person’s values and see what really matters to him.
However, that’s a different topic and it needs a whole in-depth article (Read: Values are the backbone of your self-development journey ), for now awareness of the existence of the self-sabotage is what we need.
Whenever you find yourself stuck in a rut and always get back to square one, then there’s a chance that you’re sabotaging yourself.
Of course not every time you procrastinate or do poor job then it means that your unconscious mind has secret agendas and you’re sabotaging yourself.
But when you notice a circle or a pattern, you need to do something about it.
Sit down with yourself and see what your mind is trying to run away from or avoid, where the conflict is, and what is it that you want but your mind believes it’s painful to get?
In the article 4 Mentalities That Will Simply Ruin Your Life one of those mentalities was the all-or-nothing mentality, trying to be perfect.
It’s when you want to get something done perfectly or never get it done at all.
In fact, perfection can lead to procrastination, here’s how:
You want to get something done, and you have that overwhelming urge to get it done perfectly with no mistakes at all.
You start doing it and you suffer a lot because you make many mistakes.
And when you get it done you’re still not satisfied because you believe that there’s something that you can add to make it even better, or simply because of few imperfections that are parts of every human’s work.
You never feel good about your work, you even decide not to share your work with the world because your work is still not perfect (and will never be).
As you can see this is a very stressful experience, and your mind will start to link stress and pain to doing the work, you do your best but you’re never satisfied and you never get that 100%.
You’ll never be perfect, there will always be something to add, there will always be one more rep, there will always be a flaw somewhere, it’s life!
Yes do your best to do a great work, but know the difference between doing 100% and doing YOUR 100%.
Because pursuing perfection will, after a while, make you unable to take action anymore, because you’re never satisfied no matter what.
5. Weak Mindset
Time for the harsh truth.
Lack of self-discipline, expecting fast results, thinking that you don’t have to put much effort …etc, all of these things aren’t forgivable.
There will come days when you don’t feel like getting out of the bed, there will be tough days where nothing works, and there will be some pain.
And you better work on your character to make sure you don’t stop working and taking action when things get tough.
You have to be willing to face the discomfort, you have to be willing to be disciplined, and sometimes you just have to do it regardless of what you’re feeling.
Yes it doesn’t feel good to wake up at 6 a.m. everyday to work. It doesn’t feel good to work when you don’t feel like it.
But if you’re only willing to work when you feel like it, you won’t get much done and you won’t be consistent.
So it’s very important to have that mental toughness that allows you to work even when you’re not in the mood.
Nike sums it up and says: just do it!
In brief, don’t let your emotions to control your action, you don’t have to feel good all the time, and sure you can’t work only when you feel like it.
It’s about the ability to tell yourself “no”. and it’s about the ability to push yourself to the limits.
Remember the words of Jim Rohn “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weights tons.”
6. Lack of Faith
Sometimes life knocks you down, things out of your control happen.
During these dark moments you need faith, you need to believe in something bigger than you in order to take a huge leap and take some risks.
All successful people talk about the importance of faith, when things are uncertain faith is what gives you the courage to move on.
Faith will give you confidence to take action.
And regardless to your religious beliefs, faith is a necessity.
That feeling that your actions and efforts are not going to be in vain, and that you’ll be rewarded somehow.
This feeling will give you the courage to keep pushing.
Faith will give you that kind of certainty that things are going to work after you do your homework and work very hard.
The stronger your faith is, the stronger that certainty will be.
Last but not least, faith is not only about believing in something out there, faith is also about believing in your own self and your own abilities.
I’m telling you, unshakeable faith in something bigger than you, plus that absolute faith in yourself, tat kind of faith can move mountains.
This will make sense when you go through tough times and face some serious setbacks, when life shows you its ugly face.
During those times, nothing can help you more than faith. It’s going to give you hope, and hope is what you need the most in such dark moments.