Thursday, April 23, 2009

30-Day Persistence Challenge: Help with the Hardest Tasks

Yesterday, I wrote about Peter Ubel's unique prescription for overcoming lackluster persistence: "Marial Law." For those of you to whom such an approach is off-putting, consider that Ubel offers softer ways to enforce the structures we created yesterday.

Here's one:


I've been waffling on contacting new markets lately, as I've written before. Instead of trying harder and harder to force myself to want to do it, I simply asked for help. Some fellow freelancers are running their own query-a-day challenge and I asked if I could join them. Someone else had to drop out, I dropped in, and now I get daily emails from another reporter reporting how well she's doing.

This approach targets something else Ubel talks about in another part of the interview. Speaking of the irrationality of he real estate or fiscal markets, he said:
"We are social beings, too, and frequently judge our own decisions by seeing what other people are doing. If my neighbor added a new kitchen with a home equity loan, I might assume that is a good idea for me, even if a more rational weightong of my finances would suggest otherwise."
He's detailing a negative use of our social instinct, but setting up a "query buddy," "declutter buddy" or some other action partner is a way to harness that instinct for good.

Action: Take a look around your social network (and maybe developing a social network is a persistence project you have to work on in itself).
  • Is there anyone in it who is struggling with the same thing you are?
  • Is there someone who wants to tackle it the same way you do?
  • Is there someone who's temperment meshes well with you and with whom you welcome closer contact?
You can answer these questions simply by talking to friends, sending a few emails or even posting to freelance boards about your quandry. Even if you don't find a goal buddy, you're likely to find people willing to commiserate.

I've written before about the power of support and finding the right support person. Those rules apply here, as well.

Photo by D3 San Francisco.

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