By: Terri O'Donnell 3 years ago


Monday morning rolls in like a freight train. The alarm sounds at 5 a.m. and you begrudgingly remember the promise you made the day before – 5:45 spin class. It’s a promise you make to yourself every Sunday… and it’s a promise you break every Monday morning.

Why do you keep choosing to snooze?

Every day we are faced with similar choices. Get up and go for a walk or sleep for an extra 30 minutes; eat a healthy salad or a steak sandwich oozing with cheese; work on an important presentation or procrastinate on Facebook for a few more minutes. These decisions may seem trivial and insignificant, but if you’re consistently hitting the snooze button, you probably need to re-evaluate your mindset.

Self-determination is a critical factor in success. And, unlike curly hair or blue eyes, self-determination is not a gene you inherit; rather it’s a state of mind that can be acquired and cultivated.

To cultivate self-determination, utilize some of the strategies below:


Did you know that meditation could enhance your willpower? According to health psychologist, Kelly McGonigal, practicing meditation for about 10 minutes a day builds gray matter in areas of the brain that control emotions and manage decision-making.

There are many different meditation techniques. Check out several of McGonigal’s guided meditations and see which one works best for you.

Set SMART Goals

Self-determined people have a strong desire to achieve and in order to get what they want or where they want to be, they set goals. And not just any goals, SMART goals.

It’s easy to say I want to lose some weight, but it’s unlikely that you’ll succeed unless you define specific objectives and determine an end date. So the next time you’re ready to sit down and write your goals, make sure they are:


Anticipate Road Blocks

Nothing worth having comes easy. Self-determined individuals work hard for the things they achieve, but they also recognize the path to success isn’t paved in gold. There are mountains to climb and rivers to cross.

When you set your goals, try to predict what obstacles you will encounter on the way. Are you working on one facet of a team project at work? How could their feedback expedite or delay the project? If you can anticipate the difficulties you may encounter, you can prepare and set up a contingency plan.

Eat the Frog First

Mark Twain said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

First thing in the morning or as soon as you get to work, tackle the project that you really don’t want to do. You know the project I’m talking about. In fact, you may have been avoiding it for a few days now, but that frog won’t go away. Come on, do it… Think about that amazing feeling you’ll get when you finally cross it off your to-do list!

Use Self-Affirmations

Achieving your goals is never easy. Sometimes you will feel a little less determined and some days, you may feel as though you are losing your will power. Like meditation, self-affirmations have been shown to increase willpower. Pick a favorite verse or phrase or memory and say it out loud when you’re feeling down on yourself. Here’s a list of great affirmations if you need some help!

Do you consider yourself to be a self-determined individual?
What tools and strategies do you use to get where you want to be?

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