March 26, 2019

141 Ways To Build More Endurance Starting Today


Photo Courtesy of Troy Angrignon

Each and every one of us was born to endure.

We have several physical features that make us ideal endurance athletes like your Achilles tendon, your ability to take multiple breaths per stride and your big brain to strategize with.

These physical features also benefit your mental abilities. The more you endure physically, the smarter you become. In fact, we are the result of thousands of generations of ever increasing brain power due to your ancestors ability to endure and thus pass on their smarter and stronger genes.

So why can’t most of us focus longer than 7 minutes or hit our goals or walk around the block or start a new project or not get distracted on the Internet. The answer is simple: we have lost our inherited endurance.

Why Endurance is Important

Endurance, like it’s partner Resilience, allows us to push through hardship and struggles that our primitive brain throws at us. This primitive or lizard brain, is the part that tells us to fight or flight. It’s extremely good at telling us to stop doing something uncomfortable or scary because way back when, those types of things got us killed.

Nowadays, we live in a relatively safe world but our fight and flight responses are still in hyperdrive and that prevents us from quitting our jobs, speaking in public, finishing a painting, writing a novel, running a marathon or asking for a promotion.

The reason the lizard brain dominates us in modern times is because we lost our endurance. Most of us no longer have to hunt for food, strategize about how to survive a winter, build a house, clear a forrest or even evade a sabertooth tiger.

With the loss of endurance comes the inability to push through all our non-lethal hardships and struggles required to meet our goals.

Our World View Meets Marshmallows

Our lizard brain is a powerful force within us but it can be tamed if we train ourselves to accept what the lizard brain is telling us and counteract it by changing our behavior.

In a revisitation of the classic Marshmallow experiment performed in the 1970’s, researchers wanted to see how conditioning children can help or hurt their ability to endure the temptation of eating a Marshmallow.

The results were astonishing.

When children were conditioned to have different world views related to the reliability of specific rewards, they drastically changed how long they could hold out for more Marshmallows.

The more reliable the World View (e.g. I have art supplies and stickers and I’ll give them to you), the longer they held out. The more unreliable the World View (e.g. I promised art supplies but did not deliver), the shorter the hold out (almost 50% less).

This result confirms that our expectations and delivery on those expectations can drive our ability to endure which gives each and every one of us hope that we can regain and build our endurance.

141 Ways to Get Your Inherited Endurance Back

We all have an inherited level of endurance — we just have to tap back into it. Below are 141 ways to tap into your inherited endurance. Try a few or try them all. The point is that having more endurance will make you more successful and happier.

Just remember — you’re living proof of the endurance of your ancestors!

DISCLAIMER: Some of these ways involve physical movement or exercise. Be smart about doing them, always be safe and consult a professional if you have any doubts. Keep Enduring!


  1. Focus on what you are doing.

  2. Move at least 20 minutes a day

  3. Mediate daily

  4. Practice harder than you play

  5. Eat smaller meals more often.

  6. Breath in and out through your nose.

  7. Publicly commit to a goal

  8. Eat smaller portions

  9. Take a Cold Shower

  10. Turn down the heat during the winter

  11. Do two (2) more push-ups, sit-ups, squats, pull-ups or whatever per set

  12. Walk/Job/Run 7 more minutes than you are used to

  13. Check email only twice a day

  14. Take a class that scares you

  15. Rely on your training. Don’t second guess your abilities before or during an event.

  16. Go to an open mike night and riff about something

  17. Take the stairs instead of the elevator

  18. Take public transit once a week to work no matter how long it takes

  19. Bike or run to work

  20. Embrace the suck and don’t complain.

  21. Turn down the AC when it’s hot outside

  22. See how long you can hold your hand in ice water

  23. Stand on a street corner for 15 minutes and just observe people

  24. Cut out one indulgence for a day/week/month.

  25. Take a multivitamin daily.

  26. Replace soda (even diet) with water

  27. See how long you can stay outside when it’s cold in just shorts and a t-shirt

  28. Eat Vegetarian once a week.

  29. Cut your meal portions in half

  30. Give 95, 96, 97, 98, 99 then 100%.

  31. Join the Polar Bear Club

  32. Run or Bike at midnight

  33. Do a plank until you can’t hold it anymore

  34. Start a workout routine

  35. Realize you have more to give even when at the brink of exhaustion.

  36. Stand in the rain without a jacket or umbrella

  37. Stare at the wall for as long as you can

  38. Walk barefoot in the snow

  39. Do a completely different workout routine than you are used to

  40. Learn a new sport

  41. Learn a language

  42. Learn to dance

  43. Safely sit in the lotus position for as long as you can

  44. Attend a protest

  45. Sleep 1/2/3 night(s) in the woods

  46. Stay up for 24 hours without stimulates

  47. Jump out of bed in the morning

  48. Wake up 15 minutes earlier than normal

  49. Get plenty of sleep but not too much

  50. Rest your body and mind daily.

  51. Workout outside even when it’s cold, rainy, windy or otherwise miserable

  52. Chop a cord of wood

  53. Use a push mower to mow the lawn.

  54. Do 20x more push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups or squats daily than what you can think you can do.

  55. Use a wheelchair for a day

  56. Push on for 7 minutes more the moment you want to quit.

  57. Pick a landmark and just get there. Once there, pick another one.

  58. Walk or slow down if you feel tired but never stop moving.

  59. Start out slow and get faster as things progress

  60. Turn in something that’s 80% completed.

  61. Create and Tend a Garden

  62. Learn to play a musical instrument

  63. Enter a talent contest

  64. Volunteer at an athletic event

  65. Don’t get consumed by failure. Fail and move on

  66. Never be satisfied with your performance

  67. Knock on doors for a political campaign or charity

  68. Workout at lunch three or more times a week

  69. Count to 10,000 backwards then forwards

  70. Join a team sport

  71. Work the graveyard shift

  72. Go on a police/fire/ambulance ride-a-long on the graveyard shift

  73. Pull an all-nighter

  74. Volunteer in a 3rd World Country

  75. Cook at home more than once a week.

  76. Focus on your form by practicing deep

  77. Don’t use electricity for an entire day/week/month.

  78. Fast

  79. Learn to swim.

  80. Be blind or deaf for an entire day.

  81. Don’t watch TV or surface the Internet for a day/week/month.

  82. Do multi-night backpacking trip

  83. Build and sleep in a snow cave.

  84. Start a fire without matches

  85. Build a shelter in the woods

  86. Hunt for your own food

  87. Swim 20x more than your best distance

  88. Wear a weight vest for an entire day/week/month.

  89. Wear sandals in the snow

  90. Go rock climbing

  91. Go white water rafting

  92. Hold your breath as long as you can then add 10 more seconds.

  93. Read 10 minutes more than you normally do

  94. Cut out caffeine for an entire day/week/month.

  95. Don’t complain about anything for a day/week/month

  96. Be in the now

  97. Complement every single person you meet for an entire day/week/month

  98. When competing, deny your faults. It will keep you focused on what you can achieve.

  99. Tread water for as long as you can.

  100. Swim 10 seconds more underwater than you normally can.

  101. Build Resilience Daily.

  102. Go on an epic trek

  103. Be confident not cocky

  104. Turn a negative into a positive

  105. Don’t obsess about failure, obsess about success

  106. Practice something every day

  107. Surround yourself with people that support you.

  108. Break the impossible into the possible

  109. Do something positive the minute you wake up.

  110. Figure out the odds of success or failure

  111. Have some quality dirt time weekly.

  112. Never worry about the end — push right past the finish line

  113. Eliminate the negative people in your life

  114. Don’t eat before going to bed.

  115. Focus on a single point for 10 minutes

  116. When you hit the fatigue wall, speed up

  117. Don’t be anxious about the start. Be happy.

  118. Learn new ways to do what you already know how to do.

  119. Schedule Rest and Recovery Days to revitalized yourself.

  120. Know your weak spots and work on improving them.

  121. Encourage others around you to succeed

  122. Do or do not. There is no try

  123. Switch Jobs.

  124. Have fun no matter what

  125. Chat it up with others

  126. Build confidence with the little wins and incremental progress

  127. Be more disciplined than motivated

  128. Shut everyone else out and play your game

  129. Don’t over analyze

  130. Aspire to be someone you respect

  131. Take a brief break to center yourself

  132. Image a happy place when you are stressed out.

  133. The more you do, the better you get

  134. Be open to trying something new to improve your skills

  135. Give yourself credit for what you do well

  136. Feel the anxiety and then let it go

  137. Be better than you were yesterday

  138. Worry only about what you can control

  139. Learn to zig and zag around things

  140. Study the masters

  141. Take an Ice Bath

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