The ‘P’ words are the hardest, especially patience and perseverance. What makes them so difficult is how easy it is to put them down when facing a challenging situation. It’s easy to get angry or frustrated when things aren’t going well and walk away. And it’s easy to stop or give up when facing large challenges.
When feeling pressed, I like to remind myself of this quote:
“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”
~ John Quincy Adams
As we move into a new year, I thought it would be a good time to look at what makes these words such powerful tools in helping us achieve our New Year’s goals.
Patience, the ability to accept delays, set-backs or trouble without getting upset is the one that for me takes the most work. Maintaining my patience allows me to keep a clear head and choose my reactions to situations. As my patience slips away, I notice that my reactions to things become more habitual and not necessarily what I would choose to do under normal conditions.
The challenge with patience is that it’s not really something that can be stored up. I can’t do a few hundred extra patience sit ups and bank that for when I’m feeling stressed. That said there are tools that I use when I feel my patience begin to slip; my breathing and space.
When I feel my patience begin to slip, it helps me to stop what I’m doing, take a step back and take a few breaths. This has the benefits of giving
me time to calm myself with my breathing and add space between myself and the situation. The combination of those is what allows me to center myself and approach the current situation with a clearer, calmer head.
Perseverance, the ability to continue on a course of action no matter the difficulties faced, is the one that allows me to keep trying no matter how many times I’ve failed. Unlike patience, perseverance comes a little easier for me. My mom would say I’m just stubborn, but I prefer to think that I’m just very good at persevering. Semantics aside, the ability to continue working towards a goal no matter what obstacles are thrown in your way has served me well over the years.
When a situation or goal proves to be challenging, exercising perseverance in the face of those obstacles, keeping a cool and optimistic mindset, allows me to stay focused and confident as I pursue the goal. Not being rushed or feeling defensive allows me to stay present and evaluate where I am and make better decisions as I move forward.
Of course when I’m at my best, it’s when I can combine these tools. Applying patience to give myself space to be present so I’m able to better focus on my goal and the steps I need to take to achieve it coupled with perseverance to keep moving towards that goal is indeed a “magical” combination. With enough patience and perseverance, I’m pretty sure anything is possible.
As the new year rolls around I encourage you to find or set a goal that feels daunting. As you set that goal, don’t just set the goal, but set the intention to approach the goal with both patience and perseverance. Do this and track how you feel about the goal and how you feel about your progress towards the goal when you face obstacles. Using these tools in achieving your goals might just make them easier to accomplish, and hopefully less stressful.
Set your goals and set your intentions for some Happy Goal Achieving in the New Year.