What does it take to have grit? What does it take to persevere and finally reach the goals we’ve been talking about about for the past few years or maybe the past few decades?
Angela Duckworth is a professor of psychology and pioneer in grit research. In study after study, she has found that “where talent counts once, effort counts twice,” which is outlined in this formula:
TALENT x EFFORT = SKILL
SKILL x EFFORT = ACHIEVEMENT
When you apply effort to a talent, you get a skill. And when you apply effort to a skill, you get achievement. Without effort, your talent is just untapped potential. And without effort, your skill is just something you could’ve done, but never did. That is why grit counts twice, and that is why it’s such an important factor.”
So what is grit?
In short, grit is “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” (Better Humans)
This is how I felt in my early 20s. For the first 18 years of my life, I was in a rhythm with a group of people my age. We all went to school at the same time, busied ourselves in extracurriculars at the same time, had lunch, curfew, dances, vacation all at the same time.
We were able to make a few choices deviating from the standard normal schedule and the frequency of these choices was dependent on our own upbringing and circumstances.
By 18, when it is time to leave home, going from the standard normal life schedule to making all choices alone can be a bit of a shock – and a wonderful opportunity to build character.
As soon as I was out of the flow and began making my own decisions: when to study, when to sleep, what to eat, how to care for myself; my results were uneven.
At this time, I gained the typical freshman 15, wasn’t involved in team sports and equated this with simply not being athletic. My reasoning was, I was in sports growing up, but now as I’m making my own choices (and defining who i am) – I’m not an athlete.
I’m not an athlete, which means I’m not super healthy, which means I’m thicker, overweight – this is just who I am.
I accepted my new reality as part of my character and personality. Meeting my goals seemed hard (well, harder compared to the ease of high school work and life flow).
And because it was more difficult, I simply didn’t have what it takes.
I was in this negative thought cycle for awhile. I became comfortable defining myself as weak-willed and mediocre.
And then, it all changed.
A friend came alongside me, gently reminded me of who I am and what I’m capable of and we began setting goals for our lives together. Soon, when I set out to accomplish something it was as simple as declaring my goal, pursuing, then accomplishing it.
And once I initiated small wins in my life, they multiplied. I understood – I have the power to define who I am. I am capable, healthy, and have all the grit I say I have.
Because developing this muscle, this perseverance is actually easy. Don’t believe me? Try implementing some (or all) of these tips below and see how quickly you progress toward your goals.
Skinny Up! suggests – Five tips on persevering through a tough situation, season, or decision:
- Focus on what you want & how you want to feel: this can look a few ways – maybe you’ll create a vision board with images that inspire you and encompass how your want your life to look, maybe you are physically writing down your goals on a piece of paper. Whichever method you choose, focus on what you want (not what you have or current circumstances). Get clear on the light at the end of this tunnel – how are you going to feel? What specifically is your goal? Write it out, then find photos to reinforce this feeling. If you hang this up where you can see it daily, you’re reminded of the future you are creating. And your mind will actually work double time to seek out ways to make this possible.
- Make a plan of action – you’ve heard the rule, don’t go to the grocery store hungry, right? Well the same applies when you are preparing yourself for something that may be challenging. Make sure you are planning ahead, so you don’t go into a vulnerable situation hungry or tired (these emotional states leave us feeling weaker and less gritty). Know exactly what you will do when you’re feeling more vulnerable. Example: have snacks ready or build in time to rest. If your goal is health and wellness, visit (skinnyup.com – link website), we have a plan for you!
- Set a system of rewards – positive reinforcement builds integrity which builds confidence. The more you see the success, the less difficult and scary the task becomes. You will see you are doing fantastically and want to continue because the confidence you’ve built around “having what it takes,” grows with each small win and reward. Celebrating all of your successes, no matter how small, is crucial to your mental fitness. Need suggestions? What activities do you absolutely LOVE to engage in? Make a list and portion those out per small goal you accomplish. Ex: “If I consume healthy foods all day long, I’ll watch an episode of my favorite tv show.”
- Make a gratitude list – “a grateful heart is a magnet for miracles,” and it’s time to build that miracle momentum in your life. When you begin to call out all the beauty you see around you, you begin to notice it more. And because you didn’t notice it before, doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. Your mind had simply been focused on other occurrences surrounding you. Something else that can serve as a grit booster is to list out your accomplishments. You’ll see all the difficult life situations you’ve victoried through up to now and feel a new sense of drive and motivation.
- Surround yourself with those who are also serious about their goals. They are focused on how life can be instead of a current limited perspective. They have set and met their own goals and put in time to establish strong willpower muscles. Because they’ve experienced the payoff of grit and follow-through, they will encourage you toward success in your own journey. We at Skinny Up! Are those types of people! We believe in you and want to cheer on your success!
Whether you exercise one or all of these tips tomorrow, know you’re worth it, you’ve got this and you absolutely have what it takes!