Perseverance, GRIT, Follow-Through: a.k.a “White-Knuckling it” Through Tough Times as You Achieve Your Goals

Tough People Last

By far, the most popular of my blog posts has been Perseverance: 11 Strategies to Help You Stay on Track. So, I thought that I would expand further and help you grit those teeth, stay the course and lead yourself in the direction of your goals.

This is a tough time of year to be a student. Exam time. The stress can feel relentless and the the desire to just quit and walk away can be immense. Don’t Quit! This is the time that really shows your character, let’s you know what you are made of and is an opportunity to learn even more about your capability.

Here is the secret ingredient to SUCCESS:


or “Follow-Through”…

I know you are probably thinking this…

Gritty Cowboy

…and you are kind of right, but you don’t need to slap on that cowboy hat, grow a moustache, rope a calf and chew nails for breakfast (ok that one was a stretch ;-P) to be gritty. GRIT is what research is showing is partially responsible for goal attainment and success.

GRIT is defined as perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress (Duckworth, 2007. p1087)

Psych-Nerdy Time!

Brain Nerd

Here is what some pretty great research is saying:

“The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina. Whereas disappointment or boredom signals to others that it is time to change trajectory and cut losses, the gritty individual stays the course” (Duckworth, 2007. p1088).

People with GRIT tend to…

  • earn higher grades in school despite having lower entrance test scores
  • be high achievers and performers in school and at work
  • have fewer career changes throughout their career

This is not a new concept…

Ability alone did not bring about success in any field. Rather, high achievers are triply blessed by ability combined with zeal and with capacity for hard labour” (Galton, 1892)

To Persevere.jpgGRIT TEST

Now I bet you are curious if you are gritty!?!? Well, take a moment and complete this 12-item GRIT Scale and find out.

Next Week: Strategies for Building GRIT

This Week: I will talk a little more about how to actually build GRIT next week; however, in the meantime, here is a little tidbit to get you started:

Why You Started


…check out this amazing TEDTalk by Dr. Angela Duckworth, expert on GRIT. I have seen her speak live and I must say that I am speechless, yes me…nothing to say! She is incredible, inspiring, brilliant and just pure amazing 🙂

deeper roots

Remember why you set this goal, work hard on not reading disappointment or boredom as a reason to quit, stay the course, be creative about how you deal with barriers/setbacks and become the best version of you. I did, and I am unbelievably grateful. It was not easy…AT ALL…but very worth it in the end.

Thanks so much to all that have been sending me positive comments, encouragement and support. You have made my learning endeavour of blogging so amazing! If you have any topics that you would like me to expand on, please comment or email me directly. I would love to delve deeper 🙂 I’m learning with you.


Dr. Heather Drummond, C.Psych.

Psychologist * Passionate Advocate for Flourishing * Human Muddling Through



Duckworth, A.L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M.D., & Kelly, D.R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9, 1087-1101.

Galton, F. (1892). Hereditary Genius: An inquiry into its laws and conse- quences. London: Macmillan.


  1. This is great 🙂 However, I am kinda discouraged, I am less gritty than I thought I was 🙁 (well at least according to that scale). Is this accurate?
    I guess it means I need to push myself more…just a bit confused. But I am really inspired 🙂

    1. Grit takes time to build but it is a worthwhile endeavour. So many rewards 🙂 Don’t be discouraged keep leaning into life, taking on the challenges and developing your Psychological Flexibility 🙂

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