CAL Tip #13: Build Stamina Through Perseverance

I celebrated my fourth anniversary of having a Fitbit this past July. I took a little time to retrospect on my progress.

When I first started to walk, I didn’t have a specific goal except to walk. My vertigo interfered with the way I walk. I lurched from side to side. I slowed way down so I could stay upright. I decided enough of that. In 2015, I bought a Fitbit and decided to walk.

In 2016, I started to walk 5,000 steps a day. Except, only Monday-Friday, not on the weekends. Whatever I did on the weekends was fine.

In 2017, I got serious about my walking. I didn’t set out to increase the number of steps. Instead, I wanted to walk faster. Because I walked faster and still spent the same amount of time walking, I increased my stamina. I still gave myself the weekends off.

I could see the results in 2018: I increased both the total number of walking minutes and my total number of steps. I increased my mileage by about 10% over 2017.

I just reviewed 2019. I’ve already increased my mileage by about 10% over 2018, and we have four months remaining in the year.

As a result, I’m much stronger and able to walk more. (Yes, with a rollator, but hey, that’s my reality.) And, I don’t always manage 5,000 steps each weekend day. The Monday-Friday practice has paid off.

That’s an example of building my (physical) stamina through perseverance.

Here’s what I did:

  1. I set aside time every day to walk. I practiced.
  2. I concentrated, staying in the flow of walking for the time I set. I didn’t interrupt myself.
  3. I used my Fitbit for immediate feedback: how fast did I walk and how much did I walk?
  4. I tracked my achievements. How was this week as opposed to last week? This past month compared to the month before?

These are the steps of deliberate practice, according to Duckworth’s Grit. It helps that I believe in and use Dweck’s Growth Mindset, and that I’m an optimist by nature according to Seligman.

We can build our stamina for almost anything. We need to persevere through deliberate practice and feedback. We need the perseverance to stick with this new skill for long enough to see progress. We need the ideas of deliberate practice to incorporate feedback in the moment. And, we need to track out progress to see how well we’re doing now vs before.

That’s it. Nothing extra.


That’s easy to say and can be quite difficult to do.

I also use perseverance to build my writing chops. And, my coaching and consulting work. I can’t excel at everything. I can learn to excel at some things when I practice. And, I need to make sure I’m not trying to improve too much at any one time. I know, no one you know ever does that.

I also need to make sure I don’t interrupt my practice, especially when it becomes difficult. There are days I don’t want to walk at all, never mind my 5,000 steps. I use the power of a streak to help me get through those days.

I use perseverance as a tool. For me, perseverance builds stamina. I use perseverance to find my grit. I hope you do, too.

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