Do you have grit?

Posted on January 23, 2012

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There are many ways to approach your life and writing desires.  For many of us, it helps to set goals for ourselves.  Maybe you’ve set your goals for 2012 or you haven’t because you think goal setting doesn’t work.  What is going to make the difference between truly changing your life for the better in 2012 or being in the same place next year?

That was the question I was asking myself last night.  I knew I had written the perfect goals for myself, and then last night found myself in a funk, especially after watching an interview of George Lucas on Oprah.  I had thoughts like it’s too late, I’ll never do anything impressive like the people Oprah is interviewing for her master classes.  This is often what happens when we set our big life goals.  Something in ourselves says I can’t do it.  Whether it’s in response to an affirmation, a new goal, a prayer or a new workout, our internal critic and resister will rise up and try to “protect” us from disappointment and pain.

Synchronistically, something inside told me yesterday to buy a copy of the Women’s Guide to Health for 2012.  One of my goals is to get much healthier this year.  This morning as I was scanning through its pages, I found a section called Steel Your Resolve, which frankly, I would have normally skipped.  Yet, as I read the section, I read something that I know is true because it’s worked in my life and that of people who I’ve watched succeed against difficult odds.

The article quoted work by Angela Duckworth from the University of Pennsylvania that showed high achievers all shared one personality quality — GRIT.

Grit was defined as “sustained perseverance and passion for long-term goals.  Fortunately, for many of us, grit is a quality that can be developed.  There are five steps or components of having grit that you might want to consider for your writing and life goals.

  1. Have a specific goal.  For instance, instead of choosing to write, set a goal to write a novel in a year.
  2. Do something your truly want to do or have a passion to do.
  3. Use the power of visualization to see yourself attaining your end goal.
  4. Develop optimism by challenging the beliefs that hold you back.
  5. Record your successes regularly.

You can take Duckworth’s Grit Test at University of Pennsylvania.  You’ll have to sign up for the Authentic Happiness site to take the test, and many others that you might find helpful.

We all know that setting goals isn’t enough.

None of my “big” goals require super human strength and most likely most of yours don’t either, but our goals require commitment to move through the internal resistance that is always there.

I couldn’t help but thinking of John Wayne and Jeff Bridges in their respective versions of True Grit.  Can’t say I’m much like either of those characters. We don’t have to live by some other person’s ideal of what grit should look like.  This could be your year to further develop your personal brand of grit by living and writing your destiny.

Isn’t it time to love ourselves enough to take steps every day towards the life of our dreams?  I’m going to develop my grit this year.  How about you?