To ask if you are strong willed and determined how the heck do you do it?(51 Posts)
Im such a procrastinator, crap at making decisions and just an overall never get anything done/ started type of a person.
There's someone I know who is so strong willed. She sets a goal and she just does it. She's like a dog with a bone. Shes achieved a lot in her work life as well as her personal life. She always seems busy and is working on something or the other. She is super organised too and I can see one of her daughters is very similar to her too.
What is it. Is it being super focussed. Does she wake up in the morning and plan her day/ month / year? Is it about being organised? Is it a mindset? I need to be like this.
I have a million things I'd like to do, none of which even get started. They're just ideas floating in my head and before I know it its been 5 years and I haven't even touched upon it and life has passed me by!
I could have written this so I'm afraid I don't have an answer but I'll wait here with you until one of those super organised, strong people come along!
I'm quite like that.
But I haven't chosen to be. I have high levels of stress and feel quite buzzy most of the time so doing things is natural and makes things work for me. I hate not having a plan. I hate it when my plan doesn't work but I always have a back up.
I'd often like to be more free, and go with the flow, but I find that hugely stressful.
I sound like the person you know.
Yes, I literally write a goal and then the ways I can get there.
Honestly, it comes from a mindset. I want to be x, I'm y, I need to do z. Fairly simple most of the time.
There are so many more hours in the day than most people realise. One life-changing thing is to write a cv. It takes 2 mornings and another couple to send it to a lot of potential employees.
Put tick-boxes next to every task you need to complete and write down all of those tasks. Having them down will help you accom;ish them
Make the bed (search youtube)
I am very like that and I'm afraid I was just born like it.
However I also had quite a traumatic upbringing, and I have a lot of anxiety and OCD traits. Being super organised and workaholic is sort of my coping mechanism.
In practical terms, I make a thousand lists. I make to do lists every night, career lists, short term plans, long term plans, everything. I'm just obsessed with making lists to help me organise and structure my life.
The 5 minute journal really helped me with this.
Also, writing everything down. When I did my teacher training, I had to do this to make sure I got everything done.
Now, I make lists and if there's something in particular I want to do, I write down each step that needs to be accomplished in order to get there and tick it off one by one.
It's harder now I have DS. It tales longer to achieve things but I still get them done 😄
im a single parent of three, working full time and dropping balls quite regularly.
im pretty stressed even though DC see their dad two nights per week, he doesnt always complete homeworks/print stuff they need/bring them places without gurning
im at a loss as to how to get myself further up the pecking order. im living a life that is far too passive. Kids are great, ex is a dick.
Going a bit nuts as would like to be more organised but am in teh shit financially due to his inertia and mismanagement. I cant afford to invest in my career at this point in time even though it desperately needs it.
Get off MM for a start!
If you want to do something more than you want to do other stuff, you will.
If you have millions of nice ideas but none of them appealing enough to actually do anything about, I’d suggest you don’t really want to do them. You just like the idea of them. Nothing wrong with that
except it’s a bit of a waste of time that you could spend actually doing stuff
If you want to move forward with your life, stop daydreaming and knuckle down to whatever it is you want to do. If you’re happy as you are - great!
I'd never heard of the 'make your bed' speech - just googled it and read the transcript, but it makes sense.
I'm not super-organised or super-motivated, but it's really true that if you just start with committing to the first task on your list, the boost you get from completing it will help you to get the next thing done. Success breeds success. This is what happens when I'm in my organised phases!
I am a procrastinator who manages to get things done but maybe not as efficiently as if I was not a procrastinator. This means I might be slow to get off the blocks but once I get into the zone (typically late at night and when there is time or other external pressure) can belt it out.
I am quite detail orientated and thorough and like to consider all options and prepare the groundwork. I think the procrastination is a way of getting to grips with a lot of data but letting it swim in my head and touching and letting go and coming back again but it does eventually come together and I can implement fiercely. I too make lots of lists and have systems to monitor that things don't slip through the net even if I am not productive.
I make a list everyday then I delete the items as I go.
I like having an empty list
I am a bit driven and determined. It’s often a strength but also has a downside and you need to learn to balance it.
Determined =stubbornness and not necessarily ssaa team player.
Single mindedness = Arrogant, bullish blinkered
Super organised = inflexible, unempathetic, unresponsive
People who are procrastinators tend to be thoughtful and consider wider implications.
People who want to discuss everything are often a safety net for the team. They bring different ideas and innovations.
Be careful what you wish for and recognise your strengths.
You could have written that about me and my mum. Both of us appear extremely motivated, well organised and ‘on it’ all the time. We’re both high achievers and generally always have been... however..
It’s entirely motivated by fear. My DM is terrified to run out of money/ be in debt, hence forged a career which meant she’d never have to face that. She’s also terrified of being thought of as lazy by other people, so her house is immaculate and she never lets anyone see her sitting down. If you visit her house, she’s always ‘busy’ doing something and can’t sit down and join you for a cup of tea or a chat, lest you think her lazy.
I’ve inherited the fear/ anxiety, but mine is about different things.
In terms of goal setting, again it’s motivated by fear. It helps if you have a big, overriding target you have a real urge to hit. For me, I had an income goal I wanted to reach before I had kids, and I want to have kids before I’m 30. This is because of my 2 biggest fears: poverty (thanks mum!) and infertility. My income target was £40k (I live oop norf) as that meant I could afford a 4 bed house in our town as well as children without considering DH’s salary. My other fear is reliance on people. I hit my income goal 6 months ago and we complete on the 4 bed in 2 weeks time . I’m 28, so 2 years to make a baby
It’s a double edged sword. The anxiety can overwhelm you and it does regularly, but it’s also often the thing that pushes you on. It’s a funny thing.
oilLovesChuck ok so it's a mindset. But how the effing hell do you cultivate that type of mindset. I just don't have that determination or drive. I really do want to do some of these things but the daily grind of everyday life kind of takes up too much space- timewise as well as my head space so I feel I don't have the energy or the fire in my belly to work on other stuff.
* oyfullittlehippo* your lists that you make. Ok I get the daily everyday to do lists but what about all the other long term lists like career, 5 year plan etc. How do you deal with it? Its too far in the future to be on my to do list for today. Its these types of things I lose track of and don't end up doing anything about. I remember making a long term list once and then found it a few years later. I'd done some of the stuff on it and other stuff I still want to do.
PlinkPlink what is this journal you speak of! How did it help you?
I run on the fear that if I stop I will not start again
It's like when the cars nearly out of petrol, if you stop at all it will go kaput whereas if you keep the engine going you can (usually) make it to the garage.
Could you please explain your systems to me. What is it that you actually do
joyfullittlehippo I missed slept your name
I've misspelled that!
As someone else said I'm very strong and determined but I also had an awful childhood and left a horrendous DV relationship so it is very much a coping mechanism for dealing with my mess of a life.
I never think of myself as organised, or as not procrastinating, but I am someone that I know others think of like that. (Though I'm definitely not in my home life, and people are always surprised by how untidy I am!)
I think I try to use the mantra "don't get it right get it written" and "why do a 100% job if a 70% job will do" for lots of things. So I just start. It doesn't matter if the first draft is crap or wrong or anything else. It can be changed. And the end result doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to do what I need it to do.
Within that, I have a lot of lists. Some of them I don't think of as lists, but at their heart they are.
So it might be that I want a new job (recent example). I sit and I think about all the things I will need from a new job (closer to home, variety, control, pay etc), then I'd write them down. Then I'd update my CV to "okay" - not to perfect. Then I'd look for some jobs, automate some alerts to keep the effort as low as possible. And then when those alerts come through, I've got the criteria to assess it against, so I know what looks good, and then when a good one comes through, I've got my CV sorted, so I can just polish it up, and send it off.
At work I've started using a card based list system which I actually really like. Each card has a "To Do" on it - that might be a complicated mulitstep process. I write down the steps I know of in the process. I can always add more later - i just get to a point where it's okay for now. I can then look at the cards each morning and discard what I don't need to deal with now, or ones where I'm awaiting input from someone else, and focus solely on the ones I can deal with now. That then means that I'm not busy worrying about what I can't fix currently, but they also don't get lost. I've never stuck with a to do list system for work before, so I'm pleased with this.
I don't do this everywhere though! Once I've got to a "good enough" point, the nice to haves (e.g. I'd quite like a wood burner and to recarpet the downstairs, but not really enough to do the required research and put up with the resultant disruption) can sit unfinished for a good while because I'm always so busy with family stuff, or voluntary stuff, or work etc. But that's okay, because if I really wanted them, then I would have prioritised them. And I haven't, so I don't.
I really don’t think there is a one size fits all system, I think it’s down to your actual motivation for doing something. I strongly believe there’s only ever 2 reasons to do anything: it’s either through fear or love.
If neither of those 2 things are the reason you’re doing something, then unless youre good at manufacturing motivation naturally (box ticking and routine setting are good ways to do this), you’ll never stick to it.
Big goal first, what is it you want to achieve and why, is that why motivated by fear or love?
Then you set little goals which ladder up to the big one. So, I want a new career, first step is deciding what I want to do. Second step is research, 3rd is application and so on. If it helps to write it down, write it down but not everyone does.
Personally, i have 10 minutes in bed before I fall asleep in the quiet when it’s dark and I’m ready to sleep. In those 10 minutes I go back to my big goal and think about it, and then work out all the little steps I want to make to get there. I’ve done this since I was a very very young kid and the goal has always been the same: Marriage to someone lovely, comfortable life, children. As I’ve gotten older that’s become more specific and I imagine it will change a lot in the future, but the steps to reach it are largely the same.
I get shit done despite being quite a woolly fluffy person by nature.
I never got shit done when single. I've had to develop it cos of getting married /buying a house/paying bills/builders etc/going back to college/changing careers/having kids. Basically having to do apt of adulting.
Lists. Lots of lists. I have a special notebook. I write down all the shit I have to do, including things like "supermarket" "petrol" etc.
I write down all the account numbers for broadband/phone etc in the back along with the customer service phone numbers and the price I'm paying this year. I write down next to them when the 12 month contract is up (so I know when I have to ring up and renegotiate a good deal). Same with house and car insurance. I check it every month or so so I always have a vague idea of it. That's the most practical thing I do probably.
Like a number of people have said up the thread, I appear very self reliant and organised from the outside but it is mainly driven by fear. I get terribly anxious about things going wrong (particularly now I have a child), and being very organised and planning ahead is how I cope with the fear.
I am strong willed, determined and organised. Unfortunately it took the death of a loved one to get me like this. I used to be poor at decision making etc but now I think what’s the worst that can really happen which focuses my thinking
I am a bit like this. I procrastinate massively but am very task focused so when I start something, nothing else matters. I've just always been like that, once I start something I am completely determined to see it through. Even when it doesn't make sense to. So I'm frequently late for things as I can't leave a task half done for example.
I thought I'd try breastfeeding. It was hard but I just felt like I couldn't give up. Even when it was going terribly and resulted in feeding every 90 min during the night. I look back and wonder why I bothered to be honest, I was so determined but probably to the detriment of my own mental health and definitely to the detriment of my sleep and my baby's sleep and my social life and everything. I joined bf groups, I read up on it, I now know everything about it that a no qualified person possibly can! Im still going at 14 months even though every day I look forward to it being over. Even when I was doing it I was not sure what I was doing it for. I'm like this with a lot of things and yeah things get done but it does make me quite obsessive and inflexible - I am not spontaneous or laid back about things and find it hard to go with the flow if it's not part of the plan or its not on the list! So there are negatives as well as positives about being like this.
I am pretty determined. I don't think people do things purely for fear or love (as one poster put it) but for a whole host of reasons - pride, interest in a particular area, wanting to broaden one's mind, curiosity, satisfaction - the list is endless.
In terms of actually achieving it? It takes organisation, time management, the realisation that you are in it for the long haul (what is the point of starting something that you don't finish?)
So - for example - I am doing an MA whilst working incredibly long hours/running a home etc etc. How do I do it? I listen to lectures whilst running on the treadmill. I get hold of the reading lists early so I can get a head start on the texts. I make sure I know of any deadlines early on so I can plan accordingly. Meanwhile the actual 'want' of doing it comes simply from my absolute love of the subject I am studying and the pure enjoyment I get from doing it (even though its bloody hard!).
For me, another aspect of being able to reach goals stems from my independence - I am financially independent which means I have bought a house alone, dealt with solicitors alone and so on. So basically, there are some mountains that you climb because you just have to. One of my parents died whilst I was fairly young and my other parent has needed lots of care so maybe it stems from the early realisation that you are in this world alone or may be at some point and you need to get on with (sounds harsh, but its true!).
Also, if I have ever taken something rather big on (for eg, I studied for several years to change careers with a young baby etc which was a big life change) I remember thinking 'what if I DON'T do it?'. And that has always spurred me on.
The idea that some people just have a determined, organised personality is a cop-out, for me. People mostly do what they want. If you repeatedly procrastinate doing something you could do, it’s because you don’t want to do it enough.
And that’s fine, but own your choices.
Being a novelist comes up on here multiple times every times there’s a ‘dream career’ thread, but in fact there’s nothing stopping anyone taking the first step and writing a novel — it doesn’t require specialist equipment or training, and you can do a lot of the planning in your head while doing other things, and get it down in a notebook or on your phone while waiting for a bus.
Yep. Lists and decent goal setting here too. Prioritising. Regular review of progress. My lists are all in my memo app. I look at them several times a day, usually to interact with them. This includes medium and long term lists to ensure i am on track and am making enough progress on the small steps. Balancing short and long term, so that things aren't permanently kicked into the long grass if there is no time sensitivity to it. Realising that life is short so I need to get on with things. If I want to be doing x (broad aim) in 10 years time I need to prepare the ground in y way now. I want to live a life with few regrets. For me this means being as in control as I can be and making the best decisions at every step. Won't always work out but if I've done my best then no regrets. As pp said, speed of progress has slowed, but I'm happy if I'm still progressing. Also, if I can quickly do something, I do it straight away, otherwise I will expend equally as much effort or more on simply remembering to do it. So efficiency of effort is important too. Spend as little energy on the jobs so more energy available for fun.
It's interesting what people say about obsessiveness. I have "managed spontaneity". It's the best I can do with several small lives to be responsible for. But I find it important to have that space. It keeps me creatively enjoying life. But for me that does not have to mean taking large reckless unplanned risks where there is a lot at risk. But being overplanned has it's own dangers: a life without fun. And is that a life worth living?
I've recently done some retirement modelling, which has helped me to see my early planning has more than paid off. I can therefore loosen things a bit now so I don't lose the opportunities for pleasure in the here and now. Both are important. You never know when it's game over.
It’s innate. I used to believe in nurture over nature, but since I’ve had twins (whose personalities started to become apparent in their first week of life!) I definitely think that genetics plays a large part.
One of my twins is going to end up very driven and focused and the other will probably just float through life in a slightly wafty way!
Innate stubbornness and a competitive mindset, I hate failing or losing, even against myself or my own targets, so if something is difficult I just work harder.
People sometimes appear more organised from a distance. I often have many projects on the go, and I don't complete many. I am scatty and easily forget things. But I have often been surprised when other people tell me that I am super organised. Because I have to compensate for failings, like poor memory and not being able to hold complex plans in my head, I plan more carefully and use lists to keep me on track.
Have a read of the Gretchen Rubin book “The Four Tendencies”. She categorises people by their ability to respond to expectations. It’s fascinating. You are probably an obliger by her reckoning, meaning that you need external accountability to get stuff done. This booked has helped me massively and stopped by thinking negatively about my tendancy to procrastinate - I just need a different strategy to get stuff done.
By the way - meditation has massively helped my focus - try the Calm app.
I'm the person you described or used to be. In a way, I can see why people would want to be like this but although on the surface it seems great, in reality it isn't what it seems.
Very determined and strong minded people are often constantly battling anxiety anf fear to fail. They appear full of mergy but you don't seem them crash. They manage to be strong by constantly thinking almost every minute of their life and it often takes over. They often struggle to relax and always live their lives in the future rather than enjoying the present time.
Many of these people crash at some point. They become poor sleepers and exhausted from the constant thought process. Some do manage OK and balance being determined and full of energy yet manage to switch off when they need to but many don't, or do so until they can't any longer.
I do believe that whether we are like this or not is part of our nature and who we are and we shouldn't aim at being the other way, just trying to balance it a bit more healthy.
I too had a bit of a shambolic childhood, so I have used many tools (lists, will power, organisation, not taking on too much) as a way to provide my family with a safe and stable structure. We make plans, we follow them through. The house is tidy and together, we never run out of loo roll! We all reach our goals, exam results, schools etc.
One thing at a time. Plan carefully. Execute without any excuses.
Someone dies, we carry on
Someone is ill, we carry on
The house burns down, we carry on.
You have to be prepared to sacrifice.
In reality most of those things don't happen, but it is the mentality.
Only until you can give somethings that kind of commitment can you truly get things done.
The rest comes easily, it is a well oiled machine that comes from simply being organised well in advance.
An easy way to ensure that you don't crash or run out of energy is to schedule in plenty of down time, time to relax and have fun.
Being protective over that time so it is always available. You naturally have to be fairly assertive and say no to lots of things, but it also means you stay on top of everything and have a balanced harmonious life.
DP is like that. I'm the procrastinator, which is a hindrance to my own life at times. We are both self-employed.
I let tasks build up until it becomes a big deal to tackle them all. When it would be much easier to deal with them one at a time within a reasonable time frame.
What I see with DP is, he will get up early and do say 3 tasks within a day. He never deviates. Also if he has phone calls to make he notes them, and just spends a morning making the calls to get them out of the way.
He puts aside 2 hours daily for housework, cooking etc
& that's it. No magic plan.
You have to get up, get on with it, and just do. I'm in the process of training myself to be the same. I'm not there yet, don't know if I ever will be tbh. But just making more of an effort to get on with things has made my life so much easier. It unclutters my mind and I wish I'd started long ago.
Still a long way to go, however
I don't know why but I am like this. I tend to mull things over for a little while and then just go for it.
So I thought about setting up my own business for a few months. Timing couldn't have been worse. A relationship had just ended and therefore I was single mum to 2 kids with a mortgage and bills to pay.
I just decided to go for it - I wrote a list of the basics I needed to do, I borrowed some money and quit my job. I guess I didn't worry too much about the what ifs. I focused on the end goal.
So far it's working. I have enough money to pay my outgoings and business is growing.
I think it's just my personality that makes me this way.
Having goals and visualising them. If I want something I guess I kind of obsess about it, imagine what it would be like, might work out the financials on a spreadsheet if it's a job with a higher salary for example. I went to a very interesting talk by a famous corporate speaker (Marcus somebody, not that famous as I've forgotten lol) and he says it's all about visualisation, create that picture in your head, write it down about what it would feel like then write down how you'd do it. He says athletes naturally have this ability. I've naturally been a daydreamer, I don't sit back and fret too much, when I've made a decision I crack on, rarely assuming I can't do it. When I got pregnant at 22 I barely stopped, I just reset the goal posts, went back to work (and uni) and tripled my salary within 7 years.
That ‘Make the Bed’ speech is so inspiring. I utterly agree with starting the day by making your bed. It really does feel like a small achievement, and it’s wonderfuk to come back home at the end of the day to a tidy, made bed.
It’s such a small thing, but really sets you up for the day.
Transcript of 'Make Your Bed'
This website is good for breaking down tasks
I also do small tasks in tv ad breaks - it's quite remarkable what can be achieved in three minutes - small jobs like: clean the sink, sort the post, strip the bed, put a wash on, write an address a card, pay a bill.
So, if you watch two hours of commercial telly, you could get six small jobs out of the way.
I make lists, I tick off items, stuff is done.
I think my childhood was similar to joyfullittlehippo's, and I get a sense of satisfaction, wellbeing, and achievement from getting.stuff.done.
And obstinacy. I'm hugely obstinate.
It's not always a positive trait, but I try to turn it into one by achieving tasks.
@holkein you can get it on Amazon. It's a hardback. Avoid the fake ones.
Every day you fill out what 3 things you are grateful for, what 3 things you want to do that would make today great and what your daily affirmation is.
It helps with gratitude and goal setting.
The affirmation is the important bit for me. I struggle with seeing things through to the end because I lose faith it will happen. My most recent affirmation is 'I am fit and healthy'. I have since fully committed to a fitness program (never achieved that before) and my nutrition is superb at the moment.
The idea behind it is you talk about what you want as if you already have it. If you want to be focussed and driven, put that down. Eventually, you start doing things to achieve that, subconsciously? I'm not sure what the psychology behind it is but somehow writing down what you want to be as if you already have achieved it makes it work?
Then in the evening you write down what made your day great and what could have made it even better.
It's a lovely little journal and I love filling it out.
I think I inherited it. I'm able and competitive, and I want lots of things. Not especially material, but more... satisfaction? Achievement? My brain loves to be busy.
I do sit down and chill, but even my chilling involves say, strategy games on my phone, or reading a new book!
What I am not so good at is things outside of my own control. For example, a test, I just need to know the answers or work them out then write them down. Easy.
I began writing though, and completed my first book in 42 days (120k words and 48 chapters, whilst working FT)... but that was two years ago. If I had to edit, publish, market and sell it myself I'd have been done by now, but my stumbling block is fear of failure, rejection, and maybe worst of all - collaboration! The only person I'd like to work with on a task is another me...
@PlinkPlink that sounds great, I do need to take a step back on reflect on what I have more, I'm always pushing myself to the next thing I can take what I have for granted. Going to check it out!
Its so easy to get caught up in achieving what we want next. A bit of mindfulness and gratitude goes such a long way.
I am like this. But not at all by nature.
I'm a procrastinator, naturally.
However, I am goal driven, focussed, and have achieved a lot through that simply because I don't see that I have a choice.
If I don't achieve my goals, DD and I have a bleak future. I need a job. If I don't go to the uni I want to, I have little chance of getting a job. So I have to go to that uni, so I have to get the grades. If I want the grades, I have to work.
There is no room for 'oh but I might not...'
No, I have to. If there's room for 'but I might not...' I'll take it and it won't get done.
I'm a very black and white thinker, so in the words of great Master Yoda, 'do or do not, there is no try.'
I’m probably seen to be like this. I’m very routine-based: dieting, so every Mon and Tues are my fast days (5.2), even if I’m literally in hospital on those days. Learning a language, I do 10 min on YouTube tutorials every morning, even hungover/xmas etc. I’m just really rigid. Has advantages and disadvantages.
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