Dr Caren Baruch Feldman, Ph.D.


Quick Tips: Helping Teen Clients Make Grit a Habit

Part two of a three-part series on fostering grit in teen clients. Read part one here.

While developing a gritty mind-set is important, if that mind-set is not accompanied by a change in behavior, you will not get the results you want.

So, how can you help your clients create gritty behavior?

Set Effective Goals

Help your teen clients establish goals that are specific and measurable—and then stretch them. Encourage them to write their goals down and place them where they will see them every day, for example, on their bathroom mirror or as a daily reminder on their phones. Let them know there may be days that they don’t meet a particular goal, but instead of putting themselves down, remind them to learn from it. As they work on their goals, be sure they acknowledge and savor all their wins—no matter how small.

Have Your Clients Practice Their Gritty Behavior

Give teens opportunities to practice their gritty behavior, for it is only through practice that behavior changes and grit grows. For example, while writing my book, The Grit Guide for Teens, there were times when I did not know what to write. However, it was through the practice of writing that my ideas emerged. Teach your clients about deliberate practice: a type of practice that gritty people use to improve performance. Deliberate practice is focused, intentional practice combined with feedback from experts and lots of repetition. Think of a basketball player taking three-point shots over and over again, or a violinist playing the same section of music again and again. When you combine focus, repetition, and feedback, you can improve performance and achieve your goals.

Turn Your Gritty Behavior into a Habit

When we look at the behavior of gritty people, we see that they are not exerting self-control or using willpower all day long; rather, they are engaging in habits that promote grit. When an activity becomes a habit, it is automatic and no longer needs to draw upon our limited resource of willpower. Changing habits is hard, but the good news is that if you are diligent and consistent, these new routines will become as automatic as your old bad habits.

In Part 3, you will learn how to go beyond yourself and create your own “grit team”.

caren-baruch feldmanDr. Caren Baruch-Feldman has had success using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help children and adults with depression, anxiety, stress, ADHD and weight loss. She maintains a private practice in Scarsdale and works part-time as a school psychologist in Westchester County, New York. Dr. Baruch-Feldman has trained hundreds of teachers, administrators, youth professionals, parents and healthcare professionals giving in-service workshops and lectures throughout the country. She is the author of The Grit Guide for Teens. A Workbook to Help You Build Perseverance, Self-Control, and a Growth Mindset. Dr. Baruch-Feldman can be reached at (914) 646-9030 or by using the Contact Form.
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