What if you are taking action that is purposeful and consistent, but in the wrong direction? You would be putting in a lot of effort but progressing slowly. And if you are unwilling to learn and course-correct, you fall into the trap of rigidity.
It’s important to not only persevere, but also adapt. Mindful Self-Discipline is not about blindly pushing forward; it’s about awareness and thoughtfulness.
Maybe you are religiously following your diet and exercise regimen, but not losing weight as desired. Or you are practicing your meditation every day without fail, but not experiencing any benefits. You could keep on doing what you are doing, but there is no guarantee that you will start having different results. Maybe you need to tweak something.
Don’t just push through stubbornly, with a brute force approach, hoping that eventually it will all add up. Don’t just “set it and forget it”, leaving your habit or process lifeless. Always be caring. Always be curious. Be open and coachable.
Stay foolish. —Steve Jobs
You need to constantly fine-tune your process. One effective way to do this is to have regular reviews, where you look back and see what is working, what isn’t, and what you need right now. You can do this weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
When you go through your reviews, ask yourself, “Do I need to persevere on this strategy, or is it time to change things up?” There are no rules of thumb here. Sometimes you will need to change because circumstances have changed, or because you discovered that a certain approach doesn’t work particularly well—at least not for you. At other times you just need to stick with it for longer, as you haven’t put in enough time on that line of action to draw any meaningful conclusions yet.
You will need to review things case by case, check in with your gut, educate yourself, and potentially get the help of a mentor in that field. Even if you don’t have a clear idea of what to do next, don’t skip this review process. Don’t stop asking the right questions, even though you may not get any immediate answers.
Have a plan. Have a strategy. Execute it consistently. And never cease to learn and adapt.