It’s no surprise that the more dedicated you are, the more likely you are to succeed. “Grit” can be used to measure how likely you are to succeed.
“Grit is perseverance and persistence. It’s an unwillingness to wilt, complain, or cry about one’s current state. It’s the ability to accept your reality and make the best of it, never wishing you were somewhere else, or in someone else’s shoes.” (Muscle for Life, 2017).
Your ability to stick to what you said you would do, even when setbacks come, is a major factor in success.
I have told coaching clients countless times, consistency is key. You show up no matter what. You show up ESPECIALLY when you don’t feel like it. When there is no motivation, you program yourself to do it anyway. I work to create habits that allow them to continually edge closer to the goal.
Turns out that grit is a lot more important than talent or genetics. In Angela Duckworth’s book “Grit: the Power of Passion and Perseverance”, she explains that this never quit attitude is a determining factor in whether you will succeed with any goal.
Don’t Just See the End Goal
You must be prepared to prioritise the end goal by focusing on the smaller stepping stone goals. These process goals are the steps you must take in order to become the person that achieves the end goal. Before you win a national competition, you must win at the local level, then the state level. This may take failures, countless hours of practice, and many setbacks along the way. You must be prepared to keep chipping away at each step of the process.
Know who you need to be
Have clarity on who you must be to achieve your goal. Are you the kind of person that sleeps in or gets up early and is excited to be able to work on your goals? Are you the kind of person that sticks to the plan and is consistent? Are you the kind of person that finishes what they start? Are you the kind of person that says no to things that distract from the goal?
Determine a set of attributes that you will need to embody.
If you’ve taken the grit test, and aren’t particularly gritty, the following things can help.
- Deliberate Practice:
Growing up I was always involved in horse riding. I had my own horse that I would ride in competitions. I clearly remember my mom saying “Practice doesn’t make perfect – Perfect Practice makes perfect.”
What did she mean? If you are crappy at horse riding and you keep riding a lot, you won’t get much better. You need to practice well to become better. You must identify the areas where you need to improve. I was lucky enough to have a mom that would take me out of school to go to riding lessons. She would take me to the best coaches around to give me the best chance. I went from someone who was not talented or a natural in any way, to someone who consistently won at competitions.
To identify where you need improvement and put the time in to improve is deliberate practice. Having a coach or mentor that guides you can make this process more efficient. Taking on board feedback and seeing failed attempts as practice will propel you to your goal.
- Passion and Purpose
If you aren’t interested in something, you’re not going to keep at it. Finding an area that excites you helps you keep going even when there is no end in sight. To use my horse riding analogy, I would still be riding even if I would fail over and over.
Let your passion and purpose guide your focus. Then let determination keep you on track. Find something that you can become obsessed with.
Having an inspirational figure or teacher in your chosen field can motivate you to develop your purpose.
- Believe that things will Improve
“You must believe things will improve because you’re going to improve them.” (Theweek.com, 2017). You must have the confidence and commitment to improve your situation. Knowing that no one else is responsible for your outcomes. Do more than just dream about a better life. Know that it is in your hands to change things and get where you need to be. This is more than just hope. You need an unchanging belief that you can do this provided you keep trying.
- Finish what you start
Avoid allowing new projects to distract you from what you have committed to. Following through on your commitments means sticking with something long enough to develop skill. If you are the kind of person who starts things when motivation and excitement are high, but then soon quits and moves on to other things, try to revisit your goals to and readjust your focus. Become a person that finishes what they start. That doesn’t choose a new hobby each month. Once you have found your passion, commit. Don’t let your brain lead you astray by shifting you towards newer, more exciting things. Stay the course.
“Consider this mindset: Never in a hurry, never worried, never desperate, never stopping short.”
- Ryan Holiday
Know that you are in this for the long haul. This is not a sprint. You will need to put in time. You will need to commit. There are no short cuts. If you apply this to your health and fitness goals: the more time you spend improving your technique in the gym, meal prepping healthy meals, assessing, planning, improving – the better you will become. Every time you are too lazy or distracted to follow through, you hurt your progress. This will not happen overnight. Look past quick fixes and see the big picture. Are you prepared to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes?
- Know that Action trumps all
Writing down your goals, your action plan, making lists, and visualising can only get you so far. Choose to take daily action rather than spending too much time planning. Choose 1-3 things you can do TODAY that will get you closer to your first stepping stone goal. Then go do those things before you get the chance to let other things get in the way. Don’t give your brain a chance to get distracted or talk yourself out of this.
Stop looking at instagram models and researching the best workout or diet. Get away from the screen and step toward your goal. When I wake up, the first thing I do is put my headphones on and walk my dog. I listen to an audiobook that will help develop my knowledge and expertise. This way I am working towards my goals of fitness, health, being a better coach, and being a good dog mom as soon as I start my day!
If you want more on motivation and mindset to succeed, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free copy of my motivation & mindset booklet.
Muscle For Life. (2017). How to Develop True Grit. [online] Available at: https://www.muscleforlife.com/how-to-develop-true-grit/ [Accessed 28 Aug. 2017].
Theweek.com. (2017). 5 research-backed ways to increase grit. [online] Available at: http://theweek.com/articles/624204/5-researchbacked-ways-increase-grit [Accessed 28 Aug. 2017].
Inc.com. (2017). 4 Proven Ways to Develop More Grit. [online] Available at: https://www.inc.com/tanner-christensen/an-absolute-formula-for-developing-grit.html [Accessed 28 Aug. 2017].
Forbes.com. (2017). Forbes Welcome. [online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/margaretperlis/2013/10/29/5-characteristics-of-grit-what-it-is-why-you-need-it-and-do-you-have-it/#71469fd64f7b [Accessed 28 Aug. 2017].
Duckworth, A. (2017). Grit. [Place of publication not identified]: Vermilion.
Holiday, R. (2016). The obstacle is the way. [United States]: IDreamBooks Inc.