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To ask if you are strong willed and determined how the heck do you do it?

(51 Posts)
MyTeeth Tue 26-Feb-19 11:40:03

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!

EssentialHummus Wed 27-Feb-19 14:38:56

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.

Kismetjayn Wed 27-Feb-19 14:38:42

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.'

PlinkPlink Wed 27-Feb-19 14:31:46


Its so easy to get caught up in achieving what we want next. A bit of mindfulness and gratitude goes such a long way.

notanothernam Wed 27-Feb-19 12:44:52

@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!

thecatsthecats Wed 27-Feb-19 11:29:33

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 Wed 27-Feb-19 11:20:14

@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.

PhilODox Wed 27-Feb-19 11:17:27

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. halo

Weezol Wed 27-Feb-19 11:08:35

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.

lozengeoflove Wed 27-Feb-19 10:52:37

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.

notanothernam Wed 27-Feb-19 07:13:12

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.

Racmactac Wed 27-Feb-19 07:06:31

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.

MistressDeeCee Wed 27-Feb-19 06:55:55

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

Springwalk Wed 27-Feb-19 05:54:18

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.

Springwalk Wed 27-Feb-19 05:51:08

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.

swingofthings Wed 27-Feb-19 05:21:19

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.

Stpancras Wed 27-Feb-19 05:04:39

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.

woollyheart Wed 27-Feb-19 04:56:34

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.

Ringsender2 Wed 27-Feb-19 04:35:35

Watching thread with great interest!!

JasperKarat Wed 27-Feb-19 04:13:06

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.

feesh Wed 27-Feb-19 03:39:48

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!

Starface Tue 26-Feb-19 22:49:51

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.

Pishogue Tue 26-Feb-19 22:44:01

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.

OhioOhioOhio Tue 26-Feb-19 22:02:52

I guess it depends on what it is.

tinkywinky777 Tue 26-Feb-19 21:56:50

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.

AmIRightOrAMeringue Tue 26-Feb-19 21:14:16

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.

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