Every successful person has a story of how they had to work hard to get where they are now. They usually talk about their determination and how giving up wasn’t an option. And sometimes, we find ourselves looking at this person and wishing we were born with their determination and self-motivation.
The skill of being determined – and I call it a skill intentionally because it can be taught – is what helps you succeed. Every strength and weakness is a skill that can be shaped to help you be the best version of you. Is it easy? No, not at all. But it is possible!
Here are five small ways to stay focused and develop your determination:
1. SET UP YOUR DAY THE NIGHT BEFORE
Get in the habit of planning your day in advance. Doing this will help you to avoid getting sidetracked because you’ve removed your easier decisions (like what to wear) from the table; using your energy more efficiently the following morning. And no one wants to waste their energy on small and unimportant things.
So before you go to sleep, pack your lunch and decide what route you want to take to work. And if you’re anything like me in the mornings, you’ll appreciate the extra time.
2. DO THE MOST DIFFICULT THINGS FIRST
Back in the day when I was a teacher, I didn’t mark exam papers in a chronological order. Why? Because ending with summaries or essays would’ve been a soul eating-monster. In other words, don’t waste your energy fretting over the small things. Use it to tackle the difficult tasks first.
After completing the difficult tasks, you can relax and take care of the small stuff that doesn’t require a lot of brain power.
3. GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS
“If you get distracted by social media, put your hands up,” I said while looking for extra hands. So I eliminate distractions by putting my phone on silent and leaving it in another room. Especially on the days when my willpower of ignoring the blinking light isn’t strong.
Real emergencies will come up and you’ll have to deal with them, but the majority of situations doesn’t need to be taken care of right away. Identify what situations are important enough to respond to immediately and what aren’t.
4. TAKE A BREAK AND REGENERATE
We often think when we take a quick break, we are losing time that we could’ve used to finish the task at hand. The truth about being more efficient isn’t about the number of hours we put in, but how we use our time.
Many studies have shown that our brain works better during long-running tasks when we take regular breaks. Going for a walk, stretching, taking a coffee break, or whatever creates the result of a brief retreat from work, will change your attitude and mindset for the better.
5. REMIND YOURSELF OF THE BIGGER PICTURE
It’s important that we don’t lose sight of the bigger picture and why we’re doing things. Self-talk can either make or break us. And the world is already tough on us, we don’t have to be too.
Find something; create a vision board or set a motivational quote as your background to remind yourself of what you’re working toward. The “Why?” behind your goal is what keeps you motivated as you become emotionally involved.
Whatever motivates you – a video or a photo – use that as a reminder of why you’re doing what you’re doing. This will give you with the emotional charge to stay focused.