Lasting progress is not a sprint. It requires time, consistency of effort and patience. Just like any healthy portfolio, it takes time to mature or deliver the results you want or expect.

Your best work and life can only emerge with patient attention, time, and strategic action. I can’t stress this enough.

Whatever you are seeking to change or improve — career, relationship, health, wealth or happiness, you need to consistently practise good habits. And be prepared to start over if you fail to achieve what you seek.

You didn’t reach that career goal, try a different approach. Want to build wealth? Choose long-term investment over short-term gains. Want to be happy? Make it your responsibility and start doing more of what makes you come alive. If your relationship is not working, try something else that brings out the best in both of you.

By all means, keep moving — even if you fail. Research shows that if your goal is to avoid failure, you’ll actually increase the chances that you’re going to fail.

Ultimately, your mindset about success and failure plays a key role in the outcome you want. The more you insist that failure isn’t an option, the more likely you’ll fail.

I’ve failed more times than I’ve succeeded since I committed fully to pursuing my own path in life and career — I’ve lost both time and money in the process. But I keep moving and adapting.

Almost everything you want to do or improve is just a different approach away. That means if your current actions are not leading you closer to your goals, develop a new system to guide how you use your time when you are awake, when you first start working, when you finish your workday, and even how you use your evenings.

Your heroes miss their goals too — but they are better at doing more of what works, and reinventing themselves. Don’t stay still — evolve, adapt or reinvent the wheel if you have to.

Life is a giant puzzle. Everyone has a different piece to figure out themselves. Everything won’t go as planned. Things you can never predict in your career are going to happen. Be prepared to adapt or improve yourself to stand the test of time.

Want to feel healthy all the time? Take ownership of your mind and body — change your diet, add better habits — move more, prioritise a few minutes of exercise into your routine.

If you’re truly pushing yourself to improve — in any capacity whatsoever — you will need a lot of attempts. It will feel challenging.

But when you are challenged, you are asked to become more than you were. That means creating new perspectives, acquiring new skills and pushing boundaries.

The more you offer yourself measured doses of unfamiliar, high-pressure experiences, the better your chances of making better and informed decisions, solving problems, and becoming the best version of yourself.

I love what J. B. Truant says in his book“The Universe Doesn’t Give a Flying Fuck About You”. It’s one of the best calls to actions I’ve ever read, “Nobody’s going to give you the gift of awesome. Nobody’s going to make you good, or great, or amazing, or epic. Nobody’s going to make you an expert or an authority or a voice anyone should listen to. Nobody’s going to level you up. If you want that next level, take it. Take it for yourself. Grab it. Become it. Claim it. Write a treatise. Create an event. Champion a cause. Build something great. Speak your mind. Make the call. Build the business. Author the book. Send the email. Do it. Do it.”

Never miss an opportunity to show up. You’ll suck at most things in the beginning. It takes time, persistence, and patience to create anything worthwhile.

Many of us lack the proper structures to support the behavioural changes our life goals require. Making meaningful and long-lasting changes in life depends on your ability to build better habits that become the firm foundation for lasting progress.

Commitment, consistency and patience are the hardest skills I have had to learn to make lasting progress

In his brief 1890 work, Habit, William James- a writer, philosopher and physician considered to be one of the fathers of modern psychology laid out observations on forming new and lasting behaviours, “Put yourself assiduously in conditions that encourage the new way,” he wrote.

“Make engagements incompatible with the old; take a public pledge, if the case allows; in short, envelop your resolution with every aid you know. This will give your new beginning such a momentum that the temptation to break down will not occur as soon as it otherwise might, and every day during which a breakdown is postponed adds to the chances of its not occurring at all.”

Leverage compounding growth. You probably know the effects compound growth can have on an investment over a number of years. With a long enough time and a sufficiently high-interest rate, the growth is always impressive.

Warren Buffett has been preaching the importance of compound interest for six decades, and it’s made him billions. “All who have been educated in basic finance know this about compound interest, but far too few think about their decisions in the same way, even though it works the same way,” argues Stephen Guise, the author of Mini Habits and the founder of Deep Existence.

The principle of compounding applies in many areas of our lives: health, fitness, personal development, productivity, business, and relationships.

Acting rationally, consistently, has long-term effects. “It’s not the big things that add up in the end; it’s the hundreds, thousands, or millions of little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary, writes Darren Hardy,” author of The Compound Effect.

Cumulative discipline pays!

You are at this point in your life because of the way you have treated every ‘today’ for decades. You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. You can determine a better future, by making better decisions today.

You can reap huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. The change you want won’t require a single sprint — it demands a meaningful marathon mindset. You reap what you sow; you can’t get out of life what you’re not willing to put into it.

This article was originally published on Medium.

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