How Do You Persist?

I’ve been in a couple of Fitbit challenges to see who can walk “most” in a work-week. I’ve enjoyed them and have pushed myself a little each week, to see if I can do just a little bit more every day.

One of the problems I have is that by Friday, I’m tired. I’ve been about 1000 steps over my daily goal for each day. I wouldn’t have thought that would be such a big deal—but it is. Given my vertigo, going over my daily goal stretches my capabilities. I’m happy about it, and it prompted me to think about persistence.

My ability to persist, even when things get a little crazy, is what keeps me going. I do these things to persist:

  • Walk in small chunks of time. I almost never walk for  more than 15 minutes at a time. I increased a couple of my walks to 16 minutes this past week, and that’s enough.
  • Focus on this small goal. I don’t try to do anything else when I walk. I walk. (I suspect I might walk  more if I could listen to podcasts, etc while I walk, but I want to be able to hear the traffic.)
  • Monitor my progress during the day. I check my Fitbit before I take my pre-lunch walk, before my before-dinner walk, and just before my after-dinner walk.
  • Create opportunities for walking. I always have something to drink in my office. It’s green tea in the morning, seltzer in the afternoon. That means I have the opportunity (need!) to get up several times a day, which can help me create an opportunity to walk.

I walk differently now than I used to work out. I used to do my workout in the morning, all at once. I could spend 60-90 minutes and be done for the day. I can’t tell if I am healthier, but this new way of walking works better for my vertigo, so I can continue to walk.

When I reflected on this list, I realized I do the same thing with my writing, my consulting, my coaching, all my work. I might have a large goal (write a specific book), and I break that into small goals I can accomplish during a given day. When I create workshops, I create drafts of the simulation(s) separately from the handout. I can then iterate on both.

My approach to my fitness and my work helps me finish things. I rarely start something I don’t finish that I think is important. I can almost always make 15 minutes at a time to walk or write or design or whatever.

I suspect that one of your concerns might be, “How do I find 15 minutes in my schedule to persist doing the thing I want to do?” You don’t need to make 15 minutes the timebox. Maybe you want to start with 5 minutes. Or 10. Or 8. Choose a number greater than 4, so you can see your progress.

I don’t work in a company that shares my calendar for me. That means I can decide what to do. You can, also, by blocking time in your calendar. You don’t have to call it “writing” or “walking.” You can call it something like “Strategic thinking,” or something else you think will protect that calendar time.

If you want to persist at a new habit or something you think is valuable to you, carve out time to persist at it.

That, dear adaptable readers, is the question this week: How do you persist? Please leave your suggestions of what works for you.

3 thoughts on “How Do You Persist?

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Yves, I love that post! (This is part of what I’m teaching in the writing workshop.) I now know a new word, too: habit chain. Thanks!

      In our Workweek Hustle challenge (even that name puts the participants “against” each other), we tend to cheer each other on. Not to do more necessarily, but to continue our progress. I happen to like that part.

  1. Yves Hanoulle

    Thank you for your nice words.

    yes chearing helps and I see the risk that people feel obliged to keep going because of the chearing. In general that is good, except when we talk about health.
    I can chear you up and give you the idea you should further and you keep going up until a level it’s no longer healthy.

    With you, I don’t see a big risk, you have enough ego and are sure enough of yourself, with people who are insecure, they might believe others more then their own body.

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