Dr. Angela Duckworth, author of GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, has spent her career looking into what it takes for children and adults to succeed. She has investigated our mythology around talent or giftedness and effort. She is passionate about working with young students and teaching them to apply her strategies towards developing grit. Her work targets students who are considered talented and those who are considered not so talented.
She defines Grit as: Passion and perseverance for long-term goals
We are not young students, but her discoveries apply to us just the same. You can be a student at any age. You have perseverance and can drum up some passion at any age.
You may see yourself as having talent, but without effort – there is no guarantee you will have success.
Persistent effort, on the other hand – applied in a focused and directed manner -- will almost always make success inevitable.
A key to applying Grit is having a growth mindset. A growth mindset assumes that your brain can and does continue to develop at any age. You can learn new things. You can achieve in your future what you have not achieved in your past.
If you subscribe to the maxim, “Can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I’m here to tell you, you are wrong, You can.
To succeed by using Grit as it applies to weight loss and making healthy lifestyle choices you start with a desire to change and a belief (no matter how small) in your ability to achieve it.
You don’t need proof of having done it before. You don’t even have to know exactly how to do it. You start by living in the present with curiosity, and an eye on your future. A willingness to develop a passion will help to sustain your effort.
Many people, young and old, believe that being over 60 means it is over. They can’t imagine why you would even consider putting effort out on a dream for a future. You may as well hang it up.
I bet, not you too.
I want to go out fully loaded! Empowered, enriched and with something to give.
Even if I don’t have the gift of a natural talent, I can use Grit to learn from practice and persistence. I know that is true because I have done it over my life time. I showed up for work day after day. I showed up for college for 4 years. I parented day after day, currently going on 29 years. I learned self-care and mental hygiene which I now practice day after day.
Grit has grown new neuropathways in my brain. Grit will take you to the other side.
Grit isn’t deprivation, though there are times when you may want to choose to be deprived of something for the long-term win.
I invite you to consider a goal of ultimately adhering to a lifestyle and a food plan that provide energy to your body and mind so you can live an amazing life.
I confess that as I aged, I thought Grit would no longer be required. It would get easier. Maybe I wanted to hang it up! Some things are easier, for sure. Others just as challenging as ever.
Developing new habits by using Grit is a gift to us all – at any age.
How can I get Grit and apply it to weight loss?
What if the chase to wellness and the challenges of learning new weight loss skills was part of your love and passion for living? Having a drive to improve your life in small increments and enjoying that process will benefit your brain health. Failing forward is essential. Failing at being perfect and still finding determination and continuing in the direction of health and wellbeing is having Grit.
If you have overcome setbacks in your life – and who hasn’t. You have more Grit than you know. Don’t sell yourself short.
What I do for my clients and my goal is for you is to enter the final frontier when it comes to losing weight, maintaining weight and giving up the emotional struggle and judgments you may have your body and your brain! As my body continues to age (thank goodness because the alternative is not something I want right now) I continue to use every one of these tools in my own life.
5 Steps to using Grit.
#1. Approach your health habits – including weight loss, exercise, wellness and self-care – as challenges that exceed your current skill sets.
Make changing your habits a long-term goal, not another quick fix. You are not broken. You are learning new skills.
#2. Create a list of sub skills you need to acquire to lose weight for the last time.
Some sub skills you will need to grow:
- How to Choose a Food Plan and Create a Protocol that Works.
- How to Make Shopping & Cooking Simple
- How to Use a Food Journal
- How to Plan
- Weekly Prep & Planning
- 24-hour Advance Planning
- Planning for vacations & special events
- How to Manage Emotions and give up emotional eating.
- How to Create a Daily Self-Care Practice
#3. Create a plan to practice each sub-skill with 100% focus in a scheduled time frame.
100% focus means giving yourself the time to learn, research and decide or write, or cook – whatever the skill is that you are working on in a specific time frame. Enlist help to get feedback on your progress from a coach or a study buddy who is dedicated to helping you succeed.
#4. Develop GRIT with a PLAN that includes obstacles and strategies.
When you create a plan to learn a new sub skill, create a list of obstacles you will encounter when you are learning the new skill. From that list create a strategy for each obstacle to ensure success.
For instance, if you hate cooking, that will be a problem you want to solve for. Your strategy might be to sign up for a food delivery service and/or to learn how to cook one simple recipe. To get a slow cooker and learn how to cook one protein.
Another example would be when it comes to learning to manage your emotions, you can anticipate situations that have always triggered strong emotions and plan for them. Or you practice allowing urges for particular foods.
#5. Schedule time to evaluate and tweak your practice plan as you grow your skill in each area.
Creating a practice log that so you can create feedback on your practice. Decide what 100% focus looks like; what worked; what did not work. What feels good and what appears to be an obstacle you weren’t aware of.
Purposeful effort leads to true learning. You can use Grit to master these skills and it will make reaching your dreams inevitable.