How to persevere through hard times


Kevin Mangelschots

While there are beautiful moments in life, there’s no denying that it certainly has its painful moments and a fair bit of suffering as well.

Just think about a situation such as when your pet died, or when you lost someone close to you. That’s incredibly painful, and we need a lot of time to go through the five stages of grief before we can move on with our lives.

That’s why we need to learn how to persevere through hard times. This is how you do it.

How to persevere through hard times in life

  1. Accept what’s going on

    The quote, “accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be” written on a blue background.

    Accept the feelings you’re currently experiencing. You don’t have to like them, nor do you have to accept the situation as being permanent if there’s something you can do to change it.

    Let’s say I’m having a hard time because I don’t like myself since I’m obese. Then I would say that it’s okay to accept your feelings as being true. Yet, I would not accept my situation. Since my weight is something that’s under my control, I would seek to change it for the better.

  2. Remain calm

    It is always a good idea to remain calm and to manage your emotions. Making decisions out of fear or anger when you’re emotional rarely turns out well.

    However, that’s easier said than done, especially when you’re going through hardship for an extended period.

    Nevertheless, there are some things we can do to keep our focus such as practicing deep breathing exercises. This has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety due to engaging the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to relax our body and mind.

  3. Stay positive

    Image of a cat with a smile and teeth painted on a piece of paper in front of the cat's face.

    Just because you’re going through a rough patch in your life doesn’t mean it will always be that way, nor does it mean that there are no life lessons to be found in that negative experience.

    No matter how painful the situation is, you can always learn something valuable if you’re willing to.

    When my cat died, I felt sad and terrible for weeks on end. But it made me realize that our loved ones are what makes life worth living and that nobody lives forever. Thus, we need to make the best out of our finite lifespan and work hard to achieve our dreams.

  4. Accept change

    Accepting change is a key component to learning how to persevere through hard times.

    Life isn’t static. Even though we might not always notice it, change is happening all around us all the time.

    People get older, change jobs, accidents happen, and people die. But there’s also positive change happening such as people finding a partner, getting married, people buying their first house, and so on.

    We have to accept both the good and bad changes in life. Sometimes, there’s just nothing we can do to prevent them from happening, no matter how much we would want to.

  5. Look for what you can do to change things

    Image of the quote, “focus on the things you can change and let go of the things you can't” written in black on a white background.

    You should always look for what you can do to change things when you’re going through hard times.

    There’s almost always something we can do to change things for the better. Sometimes we can resolve the situation entirely, or improve it. At the very least, we shouldn’t make it any worse or harder than it already is, or has to be.

    But there will always be some things we can’t change due to unfortunate circumstances. Life happens, and we’re not in control of everything that happens in our existence, no matter how much we would want to be.

  6. Believe in yourself

    Believing in yourself is key in life for many things including getting through hard times, and achieving our dreams.

    Ignore the naysayers, since they’re typically projecting their negative feelings onto you. What they’re saying is simply a reflection of how they’re truly feeling deep inside.

    But make sure your self-belief is based upon being competent and hardworking rather than ignorance and fake bravado. High self-esteem when you’re incompetent is simply ignorance rather than true confidence.

  7. Believe in your vision

    Image of someone's blue eye.

    Believing in your vision is related to having the required amount of confidence to succeed. It’s essential if you want to persist when the going gets tough.

    Each individual is different, and thus, so are our abilities. Only you know what you’re truly capable of, and a lot of folks these days will attempt to put you down to feel better themselves because they’re miserable.

    Don’t let them do that to you. Believe in your dreams, and what you must do to make them come true. Of course, you should remain open to critique from those who mean the best for you. Even your haters can have something precious to say from time to time.

    Evaluate whether there’s any validity to their claims or not, and always strive to improve yourself.

  8. Manage your thoughts to influence your emotions

    We can’t influence our emotions, at least not directly.

    But what we can do is learn to control our thoughts, and what we think naturally influences our feelings. Thus, learning to think more positively can help us to feel better as a result.

    Just because something bad is currently going on in your life doesn’t mean you have to be thinking about it to the point of obsession. Rather, try to focus on the good things in life, and what we can do to positively impact those obstacles.

  9. Prepare yourself

    Image of the quote, “the best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” By H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

    Prepare yourself for the rough times, and pain that’s yet to come. It’s better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.

    You might argue that it’s too late for your current situation since you’re already neck-deep into trouble, and that might be true at times.

    Yet, it’ll allow you to do better in the future. You’ll become more resilient and will know how to cope with such situations much better. It’s vital since we can’t stop pain and suffering in our lives. Because in a way, life is suffering.

  10. Take care of yourself

    You should always take care of yourself, and this includes your physical well-being in addition to your mental health. You can’t overcome obstacles when you’re ill and feeling down yourself.

    Some individuals see putting their own needs and desires first as being selfish, but I disagree. You can’t properly take care of others when you’re not feeling well yourself. Thus, make it a point to practice self-care, so you’re feeling in tip-top shape and ready to take on the world.

    Afterward, pay some of these positive vibes forward to those around you in need. Just because you value your health doesn’t mean you can’t help anyone else.

  11. Don’t let your past dictate your present and future

    Just because you made some mistakes in the past doesn’t mean your present and future you need to keep getting punished for that. Depending on the severity of those choices of course.

    But just because you feel bad at the moment doesn’t mean you will feel like that for the rest of your life. It might not seem like it at the moment, but things will improve again. You will learn to smile once more. But, you have to believe in yourself, while persevering for that to happen.

  12. Seek help

    There’s no shame in seeking help from friends, family, and even health care professionals such as therapists. On the contrary, it shows you’re strong, confident, and courageous enough to admit to yourself and others that you’re only human and can’t do everything on your own.

    , I’ve been to a psychologist before to resolve some issues I’ve been struggling with, which were mainly depression. While you still have to do the work yourself, it helps to have someone who can objectively guide you through that process. Someone who’s not personally involved.

    Close friends and family made sure they were there for me when needed and that I could talk to them when I wanted. That was a big help since it lets you know that you’re not alone in this world. At times, this can already be enough to significantly amend the situation.

  13. Quitting can be good at times

    We’re always saying things such as, “It’s bad to be a quitter”, and “Winners never quit”, but that isn’t always true.

    There’s most certainly validity to these claims. But sometimes, knowing when to quit to rid yourself of a bad situation to start over again can be the desirable option.

    It’s better to go separate ways when you’re in a relationship with a toxic partner for instance. Our first instinct is to fight and to keep the person we have close to us. But when someone’s bad for your health, then it’s better to let them go. Especially in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why is it so hard to persevere?

The sentence, “it's gonna get harder before it gets easier. But it will get better, you just gotta make it through the hard stuff first.” written on a piece of paper.

It’s hard to persevere due to a multitude of potential reasons. Perhaps we’re too focused on the outcome, we might not have enough confidence to continue, and we might even feel anxious and succumb to fear.

It’s also possible that we’re demoralized, not disciplined enough, or simply don’t want to put in the required time and effort to push through.
Perhaps the hardest thing is the fact that it typically takes a long time before we see the outcome we want, or any results at all, depending on our goal(s).

What is the secret to perseverance?

The secret to perseverance is discipline.
Discipline means doing the things that you don’t want to do. It’s not something a lot of people possess these days, since we live in a society that’s based upon immediate, short-term gratification of the senses.
Yet, learning to delay gratification to get a larger reward in the future requires discipline, and is what allows us to achieve things.

What kind of person perseveres?

The kind of person who perseveres is someone who’s highly disciplined and can forego immediate pleasure for a delayed, yet larger reward down the road.

Is perseverance the key to success?

Image of a golden key in front of a black background.
Perseverance is one of the keys to success, along with remaining consistent.

It’s hard to keep going when times get tough. Yet, success isn’t something that’s easily obtained, because then it would use its value.

That means that the going will inevitably get tough, and that’s why you need perseverance to keep moving forward. Especially when our motivation starts to dwindle.

Is perseverance a trait or skill?

I would say that perseverance is both a trait and a skill.
A trait is something that comes naturally to us due to our character, while our skills are the things we do well because we’re well-versed in them.
Thus, we can always learn to become more skilled, while changing traits is much harder if not impossible since they’re part of our genetic makeup that defines our personality.

Some people are more perseverant by nature. Yet, we can all learn to become more skilled at it. We manage that by disciplining ourselves, and by accepting that life isn’t always fun nor fair. We need to learn to keep pushing onward when the going gets tough.


Image of the word, “conclusions” written on a black backboard with white chalk.

Instead of chasing hedonistic pleasures, and desperately trying to avoid all painful experiences, learn to accept that pain is part of life.

That’s why you should learn to embrace suffering, as it’s the first step towards learning how to persevere through hard times.

The good thing is that everyone can learn to cope with challenging situations. But it’s up to us to put in the required time and effort to learn how to do so.