How to Turn Grit into a Lifelong Habit

“Grit ” is defined as the tendency to work “strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress”.

Jonah Lehrer, “The Truth About Grit,” The Boston Globe, August 2, 2009.
A. L. Duckworth et al., “Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 92 (2007): 1087–1101.

Habits of Resilience

Habit resilience is the capacity to stay on track even when your plans go awry. It’s about keeping an optimistic outlook, lifting yourself up, forgiving your own mistakes, and treating yourself kindly and empathetically. It’s about dusting yourself off and starting fresh, using any difficulties as opportunities for learning and growth.

On the other hand, the lack of habit resilience involves feeling disheartened when plans fall through, criticizing yourself harshly, trying to avoid thinking about your missteps, neglecting issues, grumbling, blaming others, and cementing the belief that you’re unable to change. It’s about keeping a critical or negative self-view.

Habits of Perseverance

Perseverance is key to achieving your goals. If you wish to attain great success, it’s important that you learn to stick with it, even in the face of adversity. Developing the ability to push through obstacles and challenges is a vital skill for everyone. Research from the University of Pennsylvania supports this notion, suggesting that those who demonstrate perseverance are more likely to find success than those who struggle to do so.

How to Develop Habit of Persistence

Have you ever felt a sense of hopelessness when you can’t immediately solve a problem? Have you or your peers ever caught yourself saying, “I can’t do this,” or “It’s too difficult.”? Or perhaps, you’ve just noted down any answer, merely to finish the task as quickly as you could? Have you ever been easily sidetracked from a task, rather than sticking with it?

These are common issues we all encounter occasionally. But what we often forget is that we can control these behaviors – if we choose to!

Successful individuals identify when they’re becoming stuck and possess strategies for refocusing on the task. Instead of giving up, they pause to dissect the problem.

They might even make a timeline, setting a target date for task completion. They’re not ones to give up easily.

They’re capable of constructing a system, plan, or approach to tackle their issue. They have an assortment of problem-solving strategies at their disposal and choose the one that seems the most suitable for the given situation. They are mindful and observe if their problem-solving method is effective. If it’s not, they know how to pivot and try a different strategy.

They understand when a hypothesis or idea needs to be discarded and another one put in place.

They have systematic processes that help them persist, including knowing how to start, understanding the steps that need to be taken, and recognizing the data that needs to be gathered or collected.

If you’re truly devoted to achieving a goal you’re passionate about, then it’s essential to strive relentlessly and employ a variety of strategies to maintain focus and continue working towards that goal over time.

Lack of Consistency Examples

Suppose I set a weight loss goal.

My first approach includes a combination of activities: waking up early, taking morning walks, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy diet. I start with a burst of enthusiasm, but then life intervenes. A demanding project, an unexpected personal issue, or my interest simply dwindles, all lead me to lose track. After some time, I gather the determination to restart the cycle, only to eventually lose momentum and give up again. This back-and-forth continues, with me repeating this cycle each time I regain my focus on the goal.”

On another attempt to lose weight, I decide to focus solely on diets. I diligently follow a new diet for a week or two. However, when quick results don’t appear, my patience wears thin. The allure of the next diet, glimpsed in an ad or found on the web, tempts me away from my initial plan, resulting in a cycle of jumping from one diet to another, always in search of quick results.

What Causes Lack of Consistency

Lack of Patience

Patience is the foundation of consistency. Lasting, high-quality results require concentrated efforts over time. Impatience is a common pitfall that often leads to inconsistency. For instance, someone trying to learn a new language might give up after a few weeks due to not becoming fluent quickly, overlooking that language mastery is a gradual process.

Lack of Belief

Our belief in what we’re doing significantly influences our consistency. If you don’t genuinely believe in the value of the task at hand, your commitment to it may wane. For example, if you’re learning to play a musical instrument but don’t believe you have the capability to become proficient, you’re likely to skip practice sessions.

Lack of Perceived Value

We are typically driven by desire or fear. Therefore, if the perceived rewards from an action don’t outweigh the effort required, we tend to lose interest. For example, a person may stop their routine gym visits if they believe the hours spent there do not contribute significantly to their health or appearance.