In today’s modern world most of us are deprived of patience. We are constantly looking for instant gratification and instant achievement when it is well known for a fact that good things in life take long periods of time to develop. This contradiction between the eagerness to achieve and the actual effort and time it takes for things to actually come together is what makes most of us end projects prematurely, stop our efforts and quit without ever following projects through to their full potential. I have been very concerned about this for a long time and this is the reason why I have developed some exercises to help me build my patience.

During the following paragraphs I will talk to you about some simple exercises I have come up with which have helped me develop the patience needed to achieve my long term goals. Patience is a quality that is built through time and experience and – quite obviously – a quality you have to build without cutting corners. My exercises will help you to wait and to do things in a constant and patient manner in such a way that when you tackle bigger projects you will already have some of the necessary skills required to be successful.

1. Plant a seed and care for it till you get the fruit. One of the things that has helped me the most to achieve patience is gardening. I am very passionate about plants and I absolutely love to see them grow and develop. There is nothing that is more tasteful than a fruit from a plant you grew yourself. The fact that plants also take a long while to grow also exercises your patience since it will take you a long time to see the results and any effort to speed things up will most likely end damaging your crop. So enjoy the ride, watch your plants grow and eat that juicy tomato after 4 months of careful caring. If your plant dies, start again but do so until you are able to get it done !

2. Play an old fashion adventure game. Something I liked a lot about classical adventure computer games was that sometimes you got stuck and this required a lot of patience and a lot of thinking to get you through the challenges. Modern games and gamers don’t stand this and currently with the Internet and the hint systems within games it becomes very easy to finish games quickly. However it is very fulfilling to actually achieve this success yourself by solving all the puzzles and adventures on these games. Playing space quest, king’s quest or Monkey Island was something that definitely helped me build up my patience and something I recommend everybody out there does once in a while.

3. Eat a 12 ounce chocolate in one month. This is a very difficult exercise for me and it definitely took a lot of work for me to achieve it. In fact I was only able to succeed last month. What you have to do is buy a 12 ounce chocolate and eat it one piece at a time during a one month period (also not cheating by eating other chocolates !). You will find out that you enjoy that piece of chocolate a lot and that you will have to fight the impulse to eat the whole bar. However, this exercises your ability to wait and will increase the satisfaction you get from small rewards.

4. Put together a 2000 piece Jigsaw puzzle. This is definitely something that exercises your patience a lot. I currently have a 1000 piece puzzle sitting in my living room which I am putting together and I can tell you that sitting down and getting things done has been quite hard. Putting together big Jigsaw puzzles definitely exercises your patience and increases your tolerance towards frustration. By building these puzzles together with your family you’ll also be able to spend time together and bond so the benefits will not only apply to you but to your whole family.

5. Set dates for craves. When you have a strong desire to eat something, to go somewhere or to do something just set yourself to do it sometime in the future. Having to actually wait for a day to do things is hard for most of us and it will make you build patience against medium term goals. For example – if you want to have a steak – set yourself to have that stake a month from today. Then do not have one until the designated date arrives. It will certainly feel like torture for some but in the end you’ll enjoy that stake much more and you will have achieved to wait for something that you could have got instantly.

By practicing the above exercises I believe that I have been able to achieve a higher level of patience in my life. Even though sometimes I still feel frustrated on long term projects the fact that I am much better able to enjoy my short and medium term goals and the fact that I have been able to keep up with small amounts of work towards what I desire in the long term has meant that success has slowly developed on several important areas of my life. Hopefully these exercises will be able to help you too to achieve more patience and reach your goals more easily 🙂