The Power of 100% Dedication


A Brand New Day

When is the last time you gave everything you had to make something happen?  By that I mean putting a ton of time into a goal with extreme focus and determination.  It means becoming so passionate that you start to obsess.

If I had to pick one personality trait that helps me succeed, it would be the ability to become 100% dedicated to make a goal happen.  It’s amazing how much immersing yourself completely into a goal can help you reach it.

Becoming 100% Dedicated

I tend to have an obsessive personality.  When I find something I want to learn or do, I get carried away and think about it constantly.  I become so curious that I seek out as much information as I can.  This helps me understand subjects in extremely deep ways.

I’ll give you a couple of examples.

I’ve been a regular gym-goer for years.  Initially that meant lifting weights once or twice a week.  I kept in decent shape, but it was casual – nothing too serious.  However, I wasn’t getting as much out of my workouts as I would have liked.  One day I decided to do something about it.

So I gathered as much information as I could find about workout routines in the gym, nutrition, supplements, cardio and stretching.

Based upon what I learned, I built an exercise routine that would get me into the best shape possible.  My time at the gym went up to three times a week.  When I wasn’t working out, I either read about bodybuilding or ways to better my diet.

I was completely dedicated to getting into great shape.

All the knowledge I accumulated and applied had an effect.  When I put it all together in the gym, I saw results.  My muscles grew…and quickly.

Of course, becoming extremely dedicated doesn’t just apply to working out.

When I was in college, I studied French for two years.  I didn’t get much further than the basics because I wasn’t putting all my effort into learning it.

Several years after I took my last formal French class, I brushed off an old textbook and started relearning it.

I put hours into learning French every day.  I made flashcards to memorize words, watched movies in the language and spoke it to myself.  I even took out French novels from the library and read them.

I put everything I could into reading, understanding and speaking it.

And the results came quickly.  I think I picked up more French in a few months by myself than I did in two years of formal education.

The minute I knew I had reached a new level of understanding was when I started dreaming in French.

Putting Dedication Into Practice

These two stories highlight just how effective it can be to become obsessed and give 100% to a goal.  You can get great results – fast.

Before I had become extremely dedicated to these two goals, I had made little progress.  I was in decent shape (more than the average person) and knew the basics of French.

But I knew I could do so much more.

I was frustrated at my progress.  I couldn’t understand why it was taking so long to build muscles.  The same goes for learning French.

I realized the problem is in how you approach your goals.  The reason I wasn’t making much progress was because I wasn’t putting much into them.  A casual approach will give you mediocre results.

If you want to get bigger and better results, you have to put in a lot more time and effort.  That means increasing the intensity of your work.

I’ve learned that there are many benefits to being 100% dedicated instead of doing things casually.

  • Since you spend so much time on it, you find better ways to get where you want to go.
  • You gain a lot of momentum towards reaching your goal.
  • You’re not likely to let things slide which is when a lot of your progress goes away.
  • It’s easy to maintain your gains so you can lessen your intensity once you’ve reached your goal.

If you’re unsatisfied with progress you’re making on a goal, you might just need to put in more.  Put in time every day and get 100% dedicated; make it happen.  You’ll reach your goals in less time and enjoy better results.

I’ve given 100% towards a lot of other things in my life – understanding world news, travel and writing/blogging – for instance.  As with weight lifting and learning French, when you give 100% to it, you can make great things happen.  It can be hard to get into this mindset, but when you do, you can see a lot of great results.

What amazing results could you get by giving more dedication?
photo credit: Thomas Hawk

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  1. This is pure truth Steve. And something more people need to take note of. It takes more than just a bit a dabbling to achieve real results at something. It take focus, dedication, and time.

    Obsessiveness can be a powerful aid, when applied in the right manner. I’m a bit like you Steve, I obsess about my interests and passions. I want to learn them inside and out — not just because I’m looking for results, but because they fascinate me . . . to the point of obsessiveness. And I’m thankful for that trait.

    Half-assed effort gives half-assed results.

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s all or nothing.


    • Yeah, I get fascinated too. I just get so curious about something that I want to know everything I can. So I read all I can about it. I get to know it inside and out. I get really passionate about it.

      But that’s when I see the most results. It’s a simple idea, but give everything you have and you’ll see bigger and better results.

  2. This is incredibly motivational and also incredibly true.

    Did you dedicate yourself 100% to more than one thing at once? I find that if I do dedicate 100% to something, it cannot be more than 2 things – with a full time job,it can be difficult, and prioritising comes into play.

    – Razwana

    • Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend doing more than one at a time. That divides your attention too much. That’s especially true if you have a full time job.

      The good side is that once you reach a certain level, you can scale things back. For instance, once I reached my goal for lifting weights, I could slow things down. It’s easier to maintain gains than actually reach them. Then you can just move on to the next thing. That’s been working well for me.

  3. This post hit a sweet spot for me. I sound just like you Steve, hit the gym about 2-3 days a week, am in better shape than the average 31 yr old, but want more. I’ve been working 60-70 hrs a week all winter, but that will end next week.

    Any tips/workouts you can share? I enjoy the drudgery of research as well, but a headstart would be nice

    • I have a lot of tips I could give and I’ve been thinking about doing a post on it soon. I can share some good overall tips for now.

      Don’t ignore your back or legs. If anything, you should work them out harder because it’s easy to let them go.

      If you’re looking to build muscle, eat more – especially more lean protein. I don’t really eat bad foods, but I also expect to gain a little fat when I’m building muscle. I always the fat off later when I start cutting.

      When I’m in the gym, I focus less on the amount of weight I’m doing and more on pushing my muscles. My goal is to get them sore the next day whether that means more weight or less weight and more reps.

  4. Like you, Steve, I get obsessed with things. I dive in up to my eyeballs and go nuts. Dance was my last passion that I did this with, going from nothing to 20 hours a week in a heartbeat.

    I agree with Razwana that the dedication must be to one thing at a time. My mental energy cannot be divided. Fortunately during my dance days, my day job was not mentally taxing.

    Once my dance dream had run it’s course, I was left floundering with all that energy and no place to direct it. Fortunately, after a year and a half of feeling I was without direction, I have found another opportunity to jump and be all consumed. I feel alive again, and I can’t wait to start giving that 100% and seeing the results that come with it.

    • That’s a great story. Dancing would be hard work and I think it’s definitely one of those things that would take a lot of dedication to be good at. It’s awesome that you can ramp up the hours like that from so little. That’s a great skill to have.

      I’m like you that getting really dedicated gives me a lot of energy. It’s just a matter of finding the next thing to focus all your attention on.

  5. Absolutely, Steve. I think fitness is a great example of how to achieve something significant. In order to get in your best shape, you have to be dedicated to finding every way to improve your diet and exercise habits. Nothing about exercise is comfortable, so you have to constantly be pushing the barriers out for yourself. This can help you build a ton of confidence, as you feel that you are actually DOING something for yourself. The more dedicated you stay to that path, the more you develop a lifestyle of achievement.

    • It’s true that exercise can be uncomfortable. When I wake up the next morning from the gym and feel sore, it’s not a great feeling. That’s part of why becoming dedicated is so important. It helps you push past all that uncomfortableness.

      I agree that it can help you build confidence too. When you push yourself past where you previously weren’t able to go, you feel unstoppable. It really makes you wonder what else you’re capable of doing.

  6. I did the same with Spanish. I learned more getting serious about it on my own that 4 years back in High School. Problem now is I don’t have a need to use it, and it has taken a backseat to me new passion…blogging practical career help!

    • I don’t usually have much use for French either. I do plan on living in a French speaking country one day so I’ll be using it a lot more then. When I was in Morocco, I used it all the time. I guess you never know when a language will come in handy.

  7. Inspiring stuff, Steve! I really admire how dedicated you are! It really opened my eyes to how casual I take most things. I could probably count on one hand how many things I have that I really do 100% dedicate myself to.

  8. In literature and life, what you bring to it has a lot to do with what you get out of it. I think that applies to both previous experience and effort. Much of what colors our future vision comes from our past experiences – whether positive or negative, they make us the person we are at this moment. We have to choose what parts of those experiences we will keep and which we will toss; we have to choose how much effort and dedication we will devote to the next thing we try. You can only expect to get out as much as you put in. One of my favorite authors, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace.” True, indeed.

    • That’s a great quote. You’re right that what you get out is dependent on what you put in. When you give everything you have, you get so much more. Give only a little and you’ll only get a little. That’s why when I focus on a goal, I give everything I can.

      The things that happened in the past do shape us. Whether negative or positive, they make up who we are. So yeah, I’d agree that you have to choose which ones to bring with you. It’s best to leave the bad experiences in the past.

  9. Dedication and work are certainly the key to achieving whatever you want. I think that dedication to a goal also keeps that goal in our sights from one day to the next, as we go through our lives and possibly get sidetracked or distracted. Dedication also helps us visualize success with our goal constantly.

    Great post as always Steve!

    • Dedication does keep my goal front and center. Something I noticed is that only giving a little to a goal means your mind can wander. That’s when I find I lose my progress.

      I think it helps with visualization too. When I get really dedicated, I see where I want to go. I have a mental picture of what I want the finish line to be like. That helps a lot.

  10. Great stories and perspective! I have learned staying dedicated through the different seasons of life helps when I’m working in areas of strengths, purpose, and passions. My fuel and energy comes from doing something I really enjoy even if it’s hard or difficult at the time. Great post!

    I just found your blog and look forward to connecting with you more.

    • Doing something you enjoy helps quite a bit. One weird thing I’ve found is that sometimes you can trick yourself into liking something simply by doing it more. Healthy eating was like that for me. The more dedicated I became to it, the more I enjoyed it.

  11. Dedication is a good start, but in my experience it isn’t enough.

    You need to be smart about how you approach achieving something as well, because otherwise you can end up putting in a lot of effort, but still not getting the result you wanted.

    You also need to be in it for the long haul.

    Case in point. I am trying to learn to touch type. It is WAY more difficult then people think. I have been at it for an hour a day for over three months, and I am still only up to about 40 words a minute.

    I know I will get to 65 wpm in the end, but boy, is it a struggle!

    • You make a good point. A lot of hard work won’t necessarily lead to better results. You have to work smarter too.

      In my experience though, when you get really dedicated to a goal, you look for ways to do it smarter. For instance, when I was lifting weights, I constantly tried new ways to build muscle. Then I’d keep the ones that worked best.

  12. Wow, seems like you’ve got the learning thing down! I’m a bit like that to be honest, I can’t be bothered with these half-arsed approaches to things like working out. If I’m going to workout, it’s going to be 3+ times a week, and I’m going to be aching most of the time too.

    And like you pointed out – the results come, and they come fast. The quicker you get the ball rolling, the quicker it gets bigger, and the quicker you get better. Nice thoughts, and an inspiring few examples, Steve!

    • I get aching most of the time too when I work out three times a week. But I know that’s how I get results fast. If you can really get into a task like that, you’ll achieve a lot more.

  13. I found this blog very useful. Let me clear my problem now a days I don’t know but I am loosing my dedication towards the job, personal life. I am looking for some tips. Please share some more useful tips. Thanks a lot

    • It’s hard to say what you should do just based on the little I’m going on. If you’re losing dedication towards something, you need to figure out why. That will help you get back on track.

  14. Hi Steve, I just wanted to say that upon reading this article things started to click. I’ve been stuck and looking for a way to achieve my goals, and the idea of being obsessed on a singular goal really made sense so thanks again.

    • I’m glad you like it, Martin. This has really helped me so it’s great to see that others are getting something good out of it too.

  15. Steve,

    This is a great blog what you have here. inspiring people is one of the best help one can do for others. Food for stomach and inspiration to soul….essential.

    I loved this blog and i exactly know what you referred here. Dedication. We can achieve what ever we want with that focused dedication. when i was in school long time back i tried this method to learn maths. Even when i had ten minutes in my hand for free, i solved 2 problems. The dedication was so focused that, on the final exam day, before entering the exam centre, every one was so lost in memorising etc i was sitting so cooly as if i am in a tourist spot. and scored out of out whereas a year back then, i just barely managed to pass the subject.

    Though i am not focused or dedicated in anything today, like once i was. :) just don’t know what i want to achieve anymore. Your blog brought those memories back.

    Kudos to you steve.

    • Thanks, Norma, I’m glad you love the blog.

      Isn’t it great when you know something so much that you can sit back cooly and confidently about it? I love that feeling. It was like that for me when I was getting my master’s degree. I had a test coming up and I studied everything for it and just gave the studying everything I had. When I got in, I was calm and collected; I knew I was going to get an A. It’s such a good feeling when you know that you’ve given something all your dedication.


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