When your alarm goes off in the morning — that defining moment that jolts you from being in the middle of a REM cycle into awkward awareness, what is the force that drives you to get out of bed? What stops you from not shutting the alarm off, and going back to sleep? On those Monday mornings where it seems like the whole world is a dangerous place, and the only safety you will find is under your covers — what empowers you to brave the dangers of Monday morning?
When studying incoming cadets at West Point, researches used one word to define those who were successful…. grit. The level of IQ or physical prowess didn’t factor into whether a West Point cadet would graduate or drop out. What did factor in it was their ability to work through challenges, regardless of the adversity or failure that they had encountered? It is safe to say that the great equalizer amongst people is the ability to deploy grit into their daily lives. This is why so many people struggle to eat healthier and exercise regularly — because there are days where grit is nowhere to be found. Some days it is easy to hit the gym, and have a salad for lunch. Unfortunately, the days where it feels like a daunting task just to pack your gym clothes, are the days that get you off track.
The good news is that grit is something that can be practiced and learned. Establishing the level of grit needed to propel yourself past any plateau is not simple, but arbitrarily defined through your daily actions. Each week begins with a choice, whether to get out of bed or hit the snooze button one more time. Do you eat a healthy breakfast, or grab the leftover cold pizza from Sunday night? Do you get to the gym before/after work, or do you sit on the couch and watch TV?
Life is made up of many choices, but the only way to quantify those choices is to see how they play out in the long run. Fortunately, the grit that it takes to make the better choice in the face of a potential compromise can be learned, practiced, and strengthened over time. Just like the muscles in your body, the more you flex your “grit muscles” the stronger your grit will get. This is all starts when your alarm goes off on Monday morning. Each and every Monday you have an opportunity to flex your grit muscles in the face of adversity. Every Monday morning is a test on how you will live your life. On Monday morning you can flex your grit muscles or simply quit.