Are you putting everything you’ve got into achieving success, or are you just hoping for the best? If you’re not doing both, you don’t have the determination to succeed.
Self-determination theory looks at human motivation through the lens of intrinsic or internal factors such as personality traits and psychology. In other words, a person’s mindset is much more important than what happens to them in life. If an individual has it in themselves to grow and push for what they want, they will ultimately achieve their goals no matter what external factors come into play.
It doesn’t matter how badly you want to succeed. Unless you are actually determined and have the willpower to work for what you want and intentions aligned with this, success will remain just out of reach. But if you don’t have the willpower now, don’t worry—you can build it. Anyone can become more determined and ultimately successful with reflection and practice.
Being determined tends to result in a base set of personality traits. Some of the most important traits of people with high determination include:
Determined people make things happen for themselves rather than waiting for things to happen to them. In pursuit of doing this, they develop the traits above. If these also seem like the qualities of a leader, that’s because they are. These are the type of people others want to follow.
Indeed, those with determination aren’t born with all the traits success requires—they grow them. Some come easily and others take time. For you to become more determined to succeed, you might have to emulate some of these characteristics before they take root and become a part of your identity.
It can be difficult to see traits of determination in yourself, and you might feel inclined to try to see them in someone else instead. But rather than compare yourself to others, which is unproductive and harmful, get into the habit of doing inward thinking. This practice involves reflecting on your actions, considering your intentions, and identifying areas for improvement.
So right now, focus your attention just on your self-determination. Is it as powerful as it needs to be? Is it getting you where you need to go? To start, here are a few red flags that could point to a lack of self-determination. Do any resonate with you?
When an opportunity presents itself, you decide whether you have the time and energy to take it. Stress feels like a valid excuse for not doing more. Your goals can wait until they are easier and more convenient.
If any of these things are true for you, your self-determination might be lacking.
You don’t talk about what you want in life with others and you aren’t honest about it with yourself. Your loved ones don’t know what you want to do and be in five, ten, or twenty years from now.
We talk about the things that are most important to us. If you’re never talking with the people in your life about what you want, you aren’t making your dreams a priority.
You know your limits and stay well within them. You live by the mantra: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Some goals are fairly easy to reach and some take years of dedication, but you can’t reach any goal without a little stretching. Comfort and complacence go hand-in-hand: when you get too comfortable, you might get stuck.
You go with the flow and just let the good and bad wash over you. Rather than plan ahead or think about how your actions can bring different outcomes, you just let your circumstances decide what happens to you.
Self-determination is a person’s capacity to take control of their own life. Your life is within your control, but you must believe this and grab the reins.
If you see signs of a lack of self-determination in your life, don’t feel discouraged. Most people aren’t born with the willpower to turn their dreams into reality. Here are three things to start working on that will help you become more determined.
Put thinking about your goals on your daily to-do list. What this translates to will look different for everyone, but what’s important is that you set aside time and space every day for visualizing your goals.
The more you think about your goals, the closer they will feel. And the closer they feel, the more you will feel determined to work toward them. If you lack motivation, the first thing you need to do to become more determined is give yourself a fighting chance at getting what you want out of life.
Learn to manage your stress. Take care of your body and your mind. When you take care of yourself, you are better positioned to nurture your goals. Visualize yourself as the person you ultimately want to become and take care of yourself now as if you are already that person.
One thing that gets in the way of staying determined for many is failure. But remember that you are not defined by your limitations or what you can’t do, and your ability to stay determined shouldn’t be either.
Being determined won’t make your life any easier, but it will put your goals within reach. Once you understand that success has nothing to do with luck or circumstances and everything to do with how determined you are, you will be one step closer to reaching your goals.