Harnessing The Power Of Determination

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”

Winston Churchill

Do you wish you had more energy, more drive, and more perseverance? Many of us are frequently setting goals but struggle to find the energy to follow them to completion. In short, we lack determination. We desperately want to achieve our goals, but something feels missing. Life just seems too hard, too complex, too distracted. Instead of viewing determination as an innate fire within, we view it as something we must muster up with the little strength we have left after just getting through our busy days.

I am suggesting that we change the way we view determination. I invite you to consider determination as fire that comes from within that is fed by your passion and vision. If you can harness the power of your vision and our environment, you can fan the flame of determination with much less effort than we think. Below are practical reflective questions and suggestions based on the definition of determination. Answering these questions and implementing these suggestions will empower you to harness the engine of determination and increase its power to help you achieve your dreams.

Merriam-Webster defines determination as the “firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end.” I love this definition because it packed so full of meaning. The first phrase “firm or fixed” speaks to the resoluteness of determination. You cannot be determined to achieve something unless you are 100% committed to the idea as a worthy goal.  Are you 100% committed to your current goals? Are you firmly planted in what you are trying to achieve, or are you running from goal to goal with lack grounding? Trying to accomplish too much at one time can reduce your resolve. Make sure to only pursue a handful of specific, manageable, and measurable goals per season of your life.

The second powerful part of this definition is the word intention. I know the old proverb says that ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” However, I think this adage misses the spirit of the word intention. The word intention implies action, not inaction. In order for your intention to fuel your determination, it must be backed up with simple daily action. Your intention requires your attention if you are to succeed. Think about your day, what have you spent the majority of your time attending to? Was your attention spent on things that help you accomplish your goals?

The third part of this definition is the word achieve. This word carries with it a sense of success and accomplishment. In order to achieve your current goals, it is important to remember your past achievements. What past obstacles have you overcome? How have you been successful in this area of your life in the past? Who has encouraged you in your previous achievements? Can you call on their encouragement in this current goal? Remembering your past successes will reminder you of strength. Write down some of your favorite and most cherished accomplishments. Keep this list near so that you may refer to it whenever discouragement or a lack of determination sets it.

The final part of this definition that is helpful is the phrase “desired end.” This phrase is powerful to two reasons, one because it reminds you that your determination is linked to your passion. This determination is fuelled by your longings and vision. When the road gets long you must not forget that you are working towards something you deeply desire or desired at one point. What made you commit to these goals in the first place? Make a list of why you want to achieve the goals you are pursuing. What are the rewards of achieving these goals? Also keep this list handy to ward of discouragement and disinterest. The second part of this phrase that is powerful is the word “end.” This is a great reminder that there is an end. The road is not forever. This also points to the importance of setting specific, measurable goals, and time-limited goals. Knowing there is an end, even when we can’t see it, will fan the flame of determination because you know this will not last forever.

Enhancing determination can come through simple reflection and attention. Take five minutes and go back through this article and careful consider your answers to the bolded questions. Consider writing them down, as a way to make them more concrete. The more concrete you can make your determination, the more likely you are to realize your dreams. As Calvin Coolidge says:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”