Persistence Is The Key


I created another Fitspiration picture on Friday. I used a quote from Walter Elliot* as inspiration: “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.”

I think that as a virtue, perseverance has an un-glorious air to it. I certainly didn’t appreciate perseverance when I was younger: I was the uncool student who had to work hard for her success. Then there were the cool students who (presumably) didn’t study at all and still got straight A’s.


I think Walter Elliot nailed the essence of persistence when he says it’s not one long race but  “many short races one after another”. It means you have to show up every day and do what you need to do. There’s also an advantage to thinking of perseverance this way: it makes reaching a big goal much easier because you can focus on each short race in turn.

My quest for health and fitness is a good example of persistence. Four years ago I decided I can’t take my chronic tension headaches anymore and decided to do whatever it takes to get rid of them. And I did. It took lots of work and lots of experimentation to figure out what works for me.

It also required admitting I’m the only person who can really help me. I am the one who has to do the work. I’m the only one who is responsible for my well-being. In a way, it would’ve been easier to resign to a life of chronic pain, but I’m glad I didn’t.

Being persistent doesn’t mean I don’t ever despair or even “give up” for a while. It means I always pick myself up and get going again. If one way doesn’t work, I find another one.

I found another cool word for perseverance: stick-to-itiveness. I love it! 🙂

*Does anyone know who Walter Elliot is?

Now it’s your turn! When has persistence paid off in your life? Have you ever had “easy victories”?


  1. Marion says:

    Hi Satu! First of all, I hope that you have a SUPER time with your nieces. Have loads of fun!!!

    Regarding persistence, I never think of myself as persistent. But, perhaps I am, because I keep doing things when I don’t want to. But, really, I do give up on most things at the end of the night, and start anew in the morning. Right now it’s bedtime, and I’ve given up on everything except brushing my teeth. I’m hoping for lazy comfy sleep. 😀

    🙂 Marion

  2. I love this post Satu. You’re right, perseverance isn’t very ‘sexy’ but it is all important. It seems (alas) that there’s no magic wand and we do need to show up every day and stick to it!


  3. Aimee says:

    Another good one Satu. I used to have quite a negative attitude about the fact that nothing ever came easy to me. Even though I resented that I had to work hard for everything, grades, weight loss, jobs, etc., I don’t give up. I have learned to enjoy the process as much as possible. I truly believe that hard work does pay off and if you want something then you have to go after it. That stick-to-itiveness has helped me get healthier and subsequently happier.

    I did have one easy victory, getting pregnant with my son. I am very thankful for that.

    I commend you for taking charge of your chronic headaches. I meet so many people in my job who suffer from chronic pain. By the time I meet them they are addicted to pain killers and clinically depressed. You’re right though, people have to want to take charge and make changes in their own lives.

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