What drives us to achieve our wildest and most unlikely goals? Grit, defined by Angela Duckworth and her peers, is the combination of perseverance and passion for important life goals. Leading figures in art, medicine, law, journalism and other fields have it. Sticking with it is more important than the diet, exercise plan, or yoga class you choose. If you develop courage, you can stick to your wellness program even in the face of setbacks.
Here are some suggestions for getting grittier.
* Find your passion. Before choosing a diet or exercise plan, read, study, and experiment. Nutritionists, personal trainers, and other experts are good sources of information. Would you like to train with a buddy? find one Can’t live without pasta? There are diets that contain it. You’ll have to try different approaches until you find something you’re enthusiastic about. If you enjoy your plan, you can stick to it.
* Emulate successful models. Talk to people who live a healthy lifestyle. Your success can be inspiring. Try to learn not only what they do, but also how to stick to it. Some swear by the first-in-the-morning workout to start the day. Others prefer the structure of a class. Use only those strategies that you feel positive about and that fit your lifestyle and preferences.
* Dedicate yourself. Devotion to a goal involves a combination of unwavering commitment and persistence in the goal over time. If you decide to walk daily or thrice a week, make it happen. If eating yogurt and fruit for lunch every day and getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night works, move on. If you’re a novelty freak, change it as long as you’re dedicated to the overall goal.
* Learn from setbacks. There is no need to think about possible mistakes, but don’t let setbacks surprise you. Face problems head on and use them productively to change your approach. Do you injure yourself while cycling or find your meditation class cancelled? Do rehab, rest, or substitute other activities, but don’t abandon the changes you’ve already made. If you use your setbacks as opportunities for growth, stay optimistic.
* Run the marathon, not the sprint. If you get tired, bored or encounter obstacles, it’s not time to stop. If your schedule changes and you can’t get to the gym at lunchtime, decide when you can get there. Don’t overdo it, but keep it interesting. Challenge yourself by gradually raising the bar. Remember, you’re in this for the long haul.
When you’ve reached your goals, use the courage you’ve developed to sustain your gains. A gritty approach to maintaining your program will give you a lifetime of wellness.
Copyright, 2010 Judith Tutin, Ph.D.
Thanks to Judith Tutin, Ph.D.