I am the proud mother of two “dogettes”, Charlie and Louie, who are a total of nine lbs. Based on their size that name is appropriate. Charlie is a happy little 3.5 lb. Maltese who plays all day, barks at clouds and air, and provides endless kisses. Louie his 5.5 lb. Shih tzu brother lounges, sleeps, and gains all pleasure from food. He follows me all day in the hope that I will reward his attention with a treat or a crumb from my lunch. He is a four-legged vacuum cleaner, “doggedly” focused on his goal.
At the start of the year I spend a day organizing my house, garage, patio, car, closets, etc. to enable me to focus the remaining 364 days on the goals I want to achieve. I am active and walk thousands of steps, according to my Fitbit. During the entire resolution redo, my trusty sidekick Louie is on my heals walking the steps with me in the hope that I will stop to grab a bite and reward him in the process. My pup has a clear goal in mind and is determined to achieve results. Louie stares, follows, jumps, dances, nudges my leg, howls, licks my ankle, and diligently “sticks with it” until he gets his way! This year I observed his antics and wondered, “Am I that focused on my goals? Will I do whatever it takes to achieve results? Do I have dogged determination?”
UMMM, maybe, sometimes, it depends, nope. This is a vulnerable moment as I am writing this blog about “dogged determination”, but I am human! I have big goals and dreams and life, technology, competing priorities, and frustration get in the way. That is why I am tackling this topic, so that you and I can achieve our goals.
Wikipedia defines “dogged determination” as having or showing the attitude of a person who wants to do or get something and will not stop trying : determined : persistent.
When I consider this definition, I am inspired by many who did not stop trying and were “doggedly determined”- Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Tesla, Oprah, and many others. These extraordinary individuals fought for what they believed and faced hardship and rejection, yet focused and never gave up their dreams or goals. There are countless athletes who were passed over, knocked out, and had personal challenges yet exhibited unwavering determination and rock-solid focus and changed the world of sports. Applaud Tom Brady, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, and Mohammed Ali.
Michael Jordan, said it best:
“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
You are probably thinking, these are “super humans”, what about me? “Dogged determination” is all about YOUR attitude.
Here are some tips:
• Set goals that you are excited to work towards and achieve. If you have set the same goal for years and have not taken steps to achieve it, perhaps it is not really what you want to do. Revisit your goals and ask yourself “How committed am I?” Results don’t happen by hoping, wishing, or through scattered focus. Results occur with “dogged determination’.
• Visualize the outcome. What will the result actually look like? If you are trying to run a 10k race, visualize the finish line with a sign that says “Congratulations, You Did It!” This visual will motive you and keep you moving forward.
• When the goal seems overwhelming, define smaller “bite-sized” interim milestones to move toward the end result. For example, I am working on a second book. I put it off because I could not “find the time” to write. I had an unrealistic expectation that I would write from “forward to the end” in one sitting and as a result, I did not start. Instead, I write a paragraph or page each day to “create a win” and get my head in the game. This activity allows me to focus for a short time and take meaningful actions to reach my goal. For more information on goal setting read the “What the Hecht? Blog- Worry? Y?
• Pay attention and be aware of the things that pull your mind from the task at hand. What is dividing your concentration and minimizing your ability to focus? Write down the distractions. Once you become aware of the specific “attention grabbing” activities, you can start to make necessary changes. For example, if technology captures your attention, dismantle the news, sports, sales, entertainment, etc. pop-ups that are “eye-candy” and time wasters. I set a 10-minute focus timer and once the alarm rang, I looked at or responded to email. I continually increased the time and now 45-60 minutes with no distraction is much easier. As a result of this focus, I have made progress on short and long term goals. For more information about being aware, read the “What the Hecht? Blog – When I Think I Know!”
• Take breaks and move. It is important to stand up and get the blood flowing to give your mind an opportunity to relax and your body an opportunity to energize. If you get “antsy” sitting in the same place, set your timer to walk around and refresh. When you return from this change of pace, you have heightened concentration and can again focus on the task and your goal. Know Thyself!
“Dogged determination” is staying true to your dreams and goals. “Dogged determination” comes down to focus, commitment, and personal integrity.
The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential…these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence. Confucius.