How I’m Choosing Goals + GRIT over New Year’s Resolutions (inspired by Angela Duckworth and Will Smith)

If you want success in your business, choose goals and GRIT instead of New Year’s Resolutions!

As we go into the new year, we’ll all hear talk about resolutions.  It’s the time honored thing that we humans do. But how effective are New Year’s resolutions?

According to Forbes, about 50% of us humans make resolutions (from losing weight to healthy living, to business goals).  Sadly by February, virtually every study tells us that approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions will get abandoned.

Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, do this instead!

This year, instead of making a new year’s resolution, I am going to create a business goal of including GRIT into my business goals.

What is GRIT? I found that answer in discovering Dr. Angelia Duckworth, the foremost expert on the subject with an extremely popular TED talk (with 25,293,047 views) and New York Times best selling author.

When I watched the Ted Talk many years ago, it hit me so hard because it makes so much sense on why certain people success and others don’t.  

How I'm Choosing Goals and GRIT over New Year's Resolutions

Grit Explained

Dr. Duckworth explains GRIT in this way, GRIT is passion and sustained persistence applied toward long-term achievement, with no particular concern for rewards or recognition along the way. It combines resilience, ambition, and self-control in the pursuit of goals that take months, years, or even decades.

Grit is NOT talent. Grit isn’t luck. Grit isn’t how intensely, for the moment, you want something.

Defined by Angela Duckworth, Ph.D., GRIT is a personality trait that has been described as passion and perseverance for long-term goals even in the face of adversity.

According to Dr. Duckworth, GRIT is a common factor among high-achieving individuals. Her research suggests that grit is unrelated to IQ but closely related to the conscientiousness factor on the Big Five Personality Test

In psychology, grit is understood as a personality trait that is related to an individual’s perseverance in pursuing particular long-term goals. Individuals with high grit have a decisive drive to keep going in order to achieve the objective. 

This stubbornness related to effort is presumed to promote the overcoming of setbacks or roadblocks that are in the way of a person completing their objectives.   Grit serves as an essential prerequisite for a person to meet their goal. While today grit is often looked at by the work of Dr. Angela Duckworth, the trait has also been described by other thinkers like William James, Francis Galton, and Aristotle.

How I'm Choosing Goals and GRIT over New Year's Resolutions

Someone who shows GRIT

Who shows GRIT according to Dr. Duckworth? Will Smith does!.  

Angela Duckworth illustrated the concept of grit with a clip of actor Will Smith, in an interview in which he was essentially asked how a poor kid from Philadelphia with no connections in Hollywood had made it big. Smith, who has elsewhere credited his success to his “ridiculous, sickening work ethic,” answered this way: “The only thing that I see that is distinctively different about me is, I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill,” he said. “You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, but if we get on the treadmill together, right, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die.”

Book and Youtube Video

I have to say I really enjoyed listening to Will Smith’s Book ” Will” and it’s amazing! About his book “One of the most dynamic and globally recognized entertainment forces of our time opens up fully about his life, in a brave and inspiring book that traces his learning curve to a place where outer success, inner happiness, and human connection are aligned. Along the way,Will tells the story in full of one of the most amazing rides through the worlds of music and film that anyone has ever had.

Will Smith’s transformation from a West Philadelphia kid to one of the biggest rap stars of his era, and then one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood history, is an epic tale — but it’s only half the story.  He thought, with good reason, that he had won at life: Not only was his own success unparalleled, his whole family was at the pinnacle of the entertainment world. Only they didn’t see it that way: They felt more like star performers in his circus, a seven-days-a-week job they hadn’t signed up for. It turned out Will Smith’s education wasn’t nearly over. 

This memoir is the product of a profound journey of self-knowledge, a reckoning with all that your will can get you and all that it can leave behind. Written with the help of Mark Manson, author of the multi-million-copy best seller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Will is the story of how one person mastered his own emotions, written in a way that can help everyone else do the same. Few of us will know the pressure of performing on the world’s biggest stages for the highest of stakes, but we can all understand that the fuel that works for one stage of our journey might have to be changed if we want to make it all the way home. The combination of genuine wisdom of universal value and a life story that is preposterously entertaining, even astonishing, puts Will the book, like its author, in a category by itself.

His Youtube Video is amazing also.  It’s about his journey to lose 20lbs and finish his book in 20 weeks.  The ups and downs as authentically shared by Will was inspiration and real!  You can watch that here.

Will  by Will Smith

New Year’s Resolutions VS Goals and Grit

Let’s get back to how this connects to new year’s resolutions?  Since so many people give up resolutions, I encourage small business owners to create goals, with step by step ways to accomplish them and include grit into the mix to stay on course and persevere.  

You know the saying, ‘How do you eat an elephant’? While I find this analogy offensive because I love elephants, the point holds true. 

When you have a big goal, don’t focus on the big goal, focus on the tiny steps that get you to that big goal week after week.

How I'm Choosing Goals and GRIT over New Year's Resolutions

Do you have GRIT? 

What about you?  Since GRIT is not a natural talent but rather a focus and determination, you can!

Do you want to find out your GRIT Score from Angela Duckworth grit calculator.  In order to get the most effective results, you must be honest when asking these questions.  

Talent isn’t the most important thing to consider, it’s the passion you have for that subject and how dedicated you are to staying the course and ultimately how ok you are with getting up time and time again when things don’t go as planned.


I have been described as someone who has grit by business friends and family.    When I’m passionate about something, I am focused on each step that gets me to my goal and rarely let laziness or failure get in my way.  I dust off and find another way to achieve it.  

For me, failure is always one step closer to my goals.  I’ve learned to embrace failures (even while I have a tiny pity party in the moment of failure.).  This I know to be true.  Success, which I define as growth, is always around the corner of failure.

How I'm Choosing Goals and GRIT over New Year's Resolutions


How are you going to apply GRIT to your business goals this year?  I’d love to hear on this post. (IG POST)

Inspiration for this podcast

I’d like to give credit for this blog post to Chasing Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta Podcast who featured an episode of the  podcast A Slight Change of Plans.  You can listen to that here The Science of Grit which hosted by Maya Shankar talking to psychologist Angela Duckworth about Grit. 

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How I'm Choosing Goals and GRIT over New Year's Resolutions
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How I'm Choosing Goals and GRIT over New Year's Resolutions
How I'm Choosing Goals and GRIT over New Year's Resolutions
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