Before giving up on New Year’s resolutions, consider getting gritty.
Grit has been associated with increased chances of you reaching your goals, no matter what they are and no matter your natural ability. Grit can be an even better predictor of academic success than intelligence1!
What is grit?
Grit has been defined as passion and perseverance2. Angela Duckworth delivered a popular TED talk about grit which has been viewed over 12 million times. She speculates1 that grit is particularly important to the accomplishment of especially challenging goals in which the temptation to give up altogether is great. By contrast, self-discipline is important to the accomplishment of more moderate, highly structured goals.
How do you develop grit?
1. Have goals that mean something to you.
Tie your goals to a why that is a who. For example, if you want to lose weight, make the reason a person who is important to you. Do you want to get in shape so that you can play actively with your children? Do you want to live a long healthy life for your grandchildren?
2. Focus on the positive.
Studies2 show that gritty people are positive and optimistic. They anticipate good outcomes and they have more positive emotions than those who are less gritty. Try imagining how good it will feel to climb stairs when you are fit and strong, or how much better you’ll be able to move when you develop your core body strength.
It may sound obvious, but experts believe that persevering in working toward a goal helps foster a passion for it. Both passion and perseverance are important aspects of grit. For example, if you are learning the piano, there will be times that it is very hard to practice. By practicing anyway, you are likely to find ways to overcome the difficulties and as you improve your passion for the piano will develop. Persevering for a short while longer is sometimes all you need.
4. Be ambitious
Truly gritty people set especially challenging long term goals. If you are going to pick something monumental, make it mean something to you and make it matter.
5. Have self-discipline
Achieving anything worthwhile takes motivation and effort. Self-discipline means refraining from doing certain things that detract from the larger goal. For example, gritty people are better at going to bed on time and refraining from drinking too much alcohol and eating food that is bad for their bodies.
Find meaning in your goal, think about the benefits of achieving it and when you want to give up, persevere for a little while more. Be disciplined and set your sights high.
According to Peterson and Seligman1, ‘gratitude often requires kindness to set its table’. When someone is kind, the recipient of that kindness experiences gratitude. Kindness, happiness, and gratitude can be viewed as a cycle: Happy people tend to be kinder than those who are unhappy. However, they can become even happier, kinder, and more grateful by counting acts of kindness and being grateful.
I would like to express my gratitude to you for reading this blog. I hope that you practice gratitude today. Your increasing gratitude will increase your kindness to those around you and the happiness of everyone you meet will be impacted. Thank you.
1. Duckworth, A. L. (2006). Intelligence is not enough: Non -IQ predictors of achievement (Order No. 3211063). Available from Psychology Database. (305257845). Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/305257845?accountid=178506
2. Hill, P. L., Burrow, A. L., & Bronk, K. C. (2016). Persevering with positivity and purpose: An examination of purpose commitment and positive affect as predictors of grit. Journal of Happiness Studies, 17(1), 257-269. doi:dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10902-014-9593-5