Personal Development

5 Ways to Harness and Maintain Your Determination

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"Enclose your heart, in times of need, with the steel of your determination and your strength. In doing this, all things will be bearable."
"• Lora Leigh, Broken Wings

In every success story, the longest chapter is the one on Determination.   While success demands many things from us, willpower and determination always come up at the top of the list.   Many people believe that we are born with determination and those that succeed are simply the fortunate ones who are born with an abundant supply.   However, ask any successful person and they will tell you they were not born with more determination, they always found a way to harness and use what they have more effectively.

determinationHere are 5 Ways to harness your determination.

Set up your day the night before

Before you go to sleep, make some basic decisions about what you will do tomorrow, such as what you will wear, have for lunch and the route you will take to work.   It is easier to pack a healthy lunch the night before than to decide what you are going to have with a hot dog vendor parked in front of your workplace.   The same applies when it comes to spending money. Decide on a budget and stick to it.   Make a decision the night before that you won't check your emails or surf the net before you have finished the more important tasks that need to be completed.   Stick to your schedule and at the end of the day close your eyes for a few minutes and take in how good you feel to be in charge of your day.   Getting into the habit of planning your day in advance will remove your easiest decisions off the table, making it easier to avoid getting sidetracked and wasting time and energy on small unimportant things. While spontaneity can be fun when you are on vacations, dating or hanging out with friends, it is an inefficient way to plan our workday or move towards achieving our goals.

Do the most difficult things first

The most difficult duties will not get easier the more we fret about or put them off. We will only waste energy that would be better spent by just digging in.   Get after the hardest job right away while you are still fresh and have the energy. Research has shown that our minds are sharpest in the morning and that is when we should tackle the tough jobs.   After these are out of the way, we can relax and take care of the more routine work that doesn't require much in the way of mental strain, ability and energy.  Becoming disciplined and getting the hard jobs done sooner rather than later, gives us a sense of satisfaction and frees up energy that we might otherwise spend thinking or worrying over having to do them.   Since we are going to have to do them anyway, we might as well do them as efficiently as possible with a minimum of energy expended.

Eliminate distractions and time wasters

Real emergencies come up and we will have to deal with them. The majority of situations that do come up to distract us, are not emergencies and do not require us to respond right away. Many of these situations will resolve themselves in their own with time.  When we are working on a difficult task, it is tempting to jump to something that is easier. Responding to these requests immediately will only set you up to receive more. By not responding, you are sending a message that you are a strong willed, focused person who is very busy and over time you will be bothered less by trivial, time wasting matters. Successful people have found the willpower to stay focused on the most important work first until it is completed.

Regenerate and keep up your energy

Take a quick break when working on something if you feel your energy fading. Take a brisk walk, run, stretch or whatever creates results for you to take a brief retreat from the work and regenerate. Instead of trying to force yourself when ideas stop coming, it is usually better to get away and take your mind off what you are doing. You will come back to your task with renewed vigor and a sharper mental focus. Instead of eating a large meal at lunch, snack on healthy food, such as fresh fruit and vegetables during the day.     Drink plenty of water and get into a regular exercise program.   Arrange a routine with these matters, so that you don't have to think about them, they just become part of your daily regime.

Constantly remind yourself of your ultimate goals

Create a vision board, a mind movie or some system that serves as a constant reminder of what you are working towards. The "why" behind the goal is crucial as it will serve as a motivator.   Suppose the reason that you want to earn ten million dollars is to start a school in a third world country. Have a clear vision of what the school would look like so you can imagine it on a regular basis. Set aside regular time daily, if only five minutes, to visualize this goal. The more details you can put in, the better.   Become emotionally involved with the visualization by putting music, videos or anything that provides you with an emotional charge. The emotional connect is hugely important, as this will motivate you to keep moving towards your goal.

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About the author

Harvey Deutschendorf

Harvey Deutschendorf is an emotional intelligence expert, internationally published author and speaker. To take the EI Quiz go to His book THE OTHER KIND OF SMART, Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success has been published in 4 languages. Harvey writes for FAST COMPANY and has a monthly column with HRPROFESSIONALS MAGAZINE. You can follow him on Twitter @theeiguy