Four Ways to Grow Your Grit

Noelle Ihli

Four Ways to Grow Your Grit

Learn four ways to get “grittier” from Angela Duckworth, author of Grit.

Research shows that the quality of grit (a combination of perseverance and passion) predicts success better than talent, credentials, and even intelligence. 

That’s good news for anyone who has ever wondered if they have what it takes to succeed. But the best news is that grit isn’t an “either you have it, or you don’t” quality. 

You can cultivate grit using four key strategies Duckworth outlines in her book. 

The Four Fundamentals of Grit

Grit flourishes when you strengthen the muscles of perseverance and passion through regular, intentional efforts despite setbacks.

To help you remember the fundamentals of growing your grit, Duckworth created an acronym from the word itself: Goals, Resilience, Intention, and Time (GRIT). 

  1. Goals: Stay on Track

“To be gritty is to hold fast to an interesting and purposeful goal … to invest, day after week after year, in challenging practice.”

Goal-setting breaks intimidating challenges into smaller, doable sprints that build new habits and behaviors over time. Set manageable daily, weekly and monthly goals to help you persevere toward your ultimate destination. Little by little, you’ll build your endurance and get where you want to go.

One way to ensure you stay on track is to stoke your interest constantly. If you have passion for what you’re doing, setting goals becomes an exciting challenge rather than tedious busy work.

  1. Resilience: Manage Setbacks

“Do not let temporary setbacks become permanent excuses.” 

Setbacks are inevitable, but they can feel debilitating—especially if you’re developing a new skill or habit. Remind yourself that most setbacks are minor and temporary (think of them as detours, instead of roadblocks). 

And the best way to power through? Regular, deliberate practice. The more you practice pushing forward despite temporary setbacks, the less likely you are to let minor obstacles derail you, and the more progress you’ll make. That’s resilience.

  1. Intention: Persevere with Purpose

“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”

Decide to persevere, even if you’re not feeling particularly enthusiastic on a given day. Striving through the slumps and slogs is a commitment to yourself—and your potential to succeed.

If you’re feeling road weary, take a few minutes to refocus your sense of purpose. Why does this project matter? What’s driving you at the end of the day?

  1. Time: Keep Going!

“When it comes to how we fare in the marathon of life, effort counts tremendously.”

Like any muscle, you develop grit through effort and repetition. So keep setting goals, showing up to work at them, and persevering through the inevitable setbacks. Again, steadiness and consistency are the keys. 

The important thing is to rise to the occasion repeatedly and hold onto the hope that you can achieve your desired results. Over time, your reservoirs of grit will deepen.

Watch Out for These Three Grit-Busters

Just as you can cultivate grit, you can also sabotage it. Remember the acronym BAH (as in, “bah, humbug”) for these grit-busters: 

  1. Boredom

Boredom is the antithesis of passion. So if you’re feeling bored, it’s time to think about setting new goals that challenge you more or taking time to remember why you’re working on this project (or with this team) in the first place.

  1. Aimlessness

It’s challenging to find the value in persistence if you’re wandering in circles. Review the trajectory and cadence of your goals, recommit to resilience in the face of setbacks, and push forward.

  1. Heartburn (Burnout)

Burnout (or heartburn for the sake of this acronym!) is the consequence of doing too much or expecting perfection. Break intimidating or overwhelming goals into more manageable tasks and timelines, and remember that your target is to show up, not get it perfect.

Ready to grow your grit? Think about a half-finished project you’ve been avoiding. Which fundamental of grit could help you get to the finish line? Tell us on Twitter using #grit, and we’ll help you stay accountable!  

About the author

Noelle is a content creator, author, and editor. She lives in Idaho with her husband, two sons, and two cats. When she's not writing, she's either reading a good book or scaring herself with true-crime documentaries.

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