Here are my top ten strategies (secret recipe) based on the latest scientific research in helping people change in general that can be applied to growing your grit.

Grit is a huge component of success. It’s what helps you become the soccer star and the top of your class. It’s what helps you get through the tough times when you want to quit. Help your kids learn what they can do to be more gritty from the author of The Grit Guide for Teens, Dr. Caren Baruch-Feldman! is a global leader in online education for youth development professionals.

Yes, it is official. I am putting it out into the universe. I have signed up and am now training for the New York City Marathon on November 5th. No, I have never done anything like this before. Yes, I’m scared and uncertain. However, one thing I am certain of is that by taking on challenges, I become more open and willing to face new ones.

Now that my book about grit, The Grit Guide for Teens: A Workbook to Help You Build Perseverance, Self-Control and a Growth Mindset, is complete my new goal is to complete a marathon. Not a sprint or even a 10K, but a marathon (you know, the 26-mile kind). Why? Because I am fascinated by how to tackle hard, long-term goals. Here is what I’ve learned thus far…

  1. Passion- You need passion. Not the kind of short-term passion often associated with romance, but rather a deep and long lasting desire and commitment to reach your goal. A “want to,” not a “have to.” What do I mean by this? I view my training as an opportunity to grow stronger. While I’m training, I remind myself of my “why”- why I am doing this and how accomplished I will feel when I complete it. When I connect to my goal in this positive way, I am able to stay the course and bounce back from the setbacks I know are part of the journey.
  2. Practice – Having the want and the why is a good start, but it doesn’t get the job done. I need to practice—and practice and practice. When I first told my husband about my decision, he wasn’t so excited. He had heard many war stories from people who had run marathons. So I told him this is a “one and done.” Little did I know that even though I plan on running only one marathon, my practice would involve many mini marathons (runs of 12 and 16 miles) and several not so mini marathons (20 miles)! Through practice, I have gotten stronger, faster and, just as important, learned what pants to wear (compression pants, capris, or shorts), what water carry device I hate the least (vest or belt with one bottle or two) and which socks are most comfortable (cushy, compression, long, or short). My goal is that through practice, I will form habits that will help me on marathon day.
  3. People- I could not prepare for this marathon without my people. First off, my training partner Helene has provided support and accountability. She has made my training sessions a “want to” by being there every step of the way. For the long sessions, we train together, but even for the ones I complete by myself, I always send her my time. When I want to slow down, I ask myself, “Is this the pace you want to show Helene? Keep moving!” Knowing that I have someone watching me keeps me on my toes. In addition, friends who have already completed marathons have shared words of wisdom, from what is the best running underwear (they make running underwear?) to making sure I look cute in the picture at the end. They’ve also reminded me that it is normal to be wiped out and cranky after a long training session and have encouraged me when I’ve felt like quitting.
  4. Purpose – Last spring, after I completed a half marathon, my daughter looked at me and asked, “Why did you just run 13 miles? Was someone chasing you? Did you do it for a cause?” I decided then that the next time I did something like this, I would do it to raise money for a cause I care deeply about. I am proud to say that I am running the NYC Marathon to support the Hudson Valley Chapter of the Tourette Association. As a psychologist, I have patients who are diagnosed with Tourette and/or the conditions that accompany it, such as ADHD, Anxiety, or OCD. Overcoming these conditions can feel like a marathon, but when my patients are dedicated (have passion), feel ready to make a behavioral commitment (practice), have support (people), and a sense of purpose, they are successful.

Remember, when you have a positive mindset, committed behavior, social support, and a higher purpose you can achieve true greatness. Wishing you much success in any challenging, long-term goal you take on!

If you would like to support me and the Hudson Valley Chapter of the Tourette Association, you can send a check made out to TSA-NYHV Chapter and mail it to TSA-NYHV Chapter, PO Box 517, Ardsley, NY 10502 or go online to The Hudson Valley Chapter of the Tourette Association serves hundreds of families in Westchester, Putnam, Orange and Rockland counties. The chapter provides support, information and referrals to newly diagnosed families. The Teen Youth Ambassadors and Education Specialists have trained hundreds of students and teachers about how to support kids with Tourette in the classroom, and kids and their families have expressed how the chapter’s support has been life-changing for them.

Thank you for supporting such a wonderful cause—and me!

“We need to accept ourselves before we can change ourselves.”

Caren Baruch-Feldman is a clinical psychologist and a certified school psychologist who works on developing grit and self-control. University of Pennsylvania psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman recently hosted her on The Psychology Podcast to discuss how gratitude amplifies grit, and how we always have the power to change for the better.

Read On To Discover:

  • Why the word “yet” is so powerful
  • Why being a teenager is so challenging in today’s world
  • What made Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz so gritty

Is there any time in life when perseverance and self-control are more crucial—and yet less in abundance—than during the teenage years? In adolescence, brains go through changes that can make teens act impulsively. Meanwhile, changes in hormones cause moods and emotions to go haywire. How can positive psychology fit into this chaotic mix to help teens regain a sense of balance and purpose during this confusing time?

In this episode of The School Success Formula I [Lucy Parsons] interview Caren Baruch-Feldman, a clinical psychologist and a certified school psychologist from Scarsdale, New York. We talk about her book, The Grit Guide for Teens, and discuss how parents can help their teens to develop a grittier attitude in all areas of their lives.

The aim of the International Positive Education Network (IPEN) is to bring together teachers, parents, academics, students, schools, colleges, universities, charities, companies and governments to promote positive education.

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