Anyone who’s ever tried to quit smoking, eat less or exercise more knows that changing personal habits is hard. The more often we repeat a routine behavior, the less we need to think about it. That’s one reason why entrenched behaviors are notoriously difficult to change—they happen without thinking.
The new year means new opportunities, experiences and... new goals. But the goals we set in January are often long-forgotten by July. Or worse, they hang around our neck like an albatross reminding us of our inaction. Bright lines can make the difference between success and failure.
Have you set personal and professional goals for the year? If so, I bet you've made sure they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound). But do you have the right attitude to achieve them?
Having the right tools in our toolbox dramatically increases our chance of success. However, relying on the same tool all the time will hinder performance. As the saying goes: "If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."
Both talent and effort are necessary for achievement. Without talent, you can put in lots of time and not get very far. And talented people often fail for lack of stamina. While talent depends on intelligence (the smarter you are, the faster you learn), effort is directly related to self-control or "grit." Psychologist Angela Duckworth defines grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” It’s grit that keeps a person going long enough to put in the 10’000 hours of dedicated practice needed to achieve mastery in a field.
Self-control—the ability to delay gratification, concentrate on a task, resist a temptation, or control emotions—is key to success at work and in life. The good news is that we can improve our willpower.
Willpower. Who wouldn’t like to have more of it? We need willpower when we concentrate on a task, solve a problem or resist a temptation. Read on for tips on how to build your willpower.