determined to be more determined

As of this new and beautiful year, I am determined to be more determined. Yeah that sounds… wait, what? That’s like saying “I consciously want to be more conscious.” No duh, but just repeating a word in a sentence doesn’t suddenly make an arduous goal any more achievable. So, me, aside from being determined that the new year now starts halfway through February, what is it I plan on achieving this “year?”

so what do I mean?

“Determination is the key to life”

Looking around at the lovely people that fill our lives, we see characteristics in others that we admire and characteristics we’re glad we don’t have (because we’re all pretty much perfect, right?). Some people are content, other people are happy, and others just beaming with joy (we call those people yogis). Some of our loved ones are funny, others are adventurous, brave, generous, intelligent or contain any range of wonderful qualities.

Though in that list of characteristics, there are a few we sometimes see but often forget to acknowledge. Things like being adaptable, observant, affable or, of course, determined.


what is determination?

“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” Gail Devers

Any one of us can look up the definition and find that determination is “the quality of being resolute; firmness of purpose or intention.” It is “the act of coming to a decision and setting a purpose accordingly.” But knowing me, I won’t let the dictionary have the last word on this very well-defined topic.

Determination is a clear intention to achieve a goal. It feels like a secondary characteristic that we either are, or aren’t; a characteristic that is unchangeable. One person may be determined to go into the full expression of camel pose today, while another person will be determined to complete a 30 day challenge. They are each determined to do two very different things while in the same yoga room. However, if asked to complete the other person’s goal, they probably will have no interest in doing so. They don’t actively choose to be determined, they just are.

That is because determination comes from a sense of desire. Above when I mentioned that determination feels like a secondary characteristic, I meant that someone doesn’t usually choose to arbitrarily be more determined today. They need a reason or a goal. And how badly someone wants to achieve said goal, minus the obstacles in that person’s path, is how determined they typically are.

At the root of determination, there is always a “why?” Why do you want to go into the full expression of camel today? Why do you want to complete a 30 day challenge? So asking two yogis (ie people beaming with joy) to change their goals mid class might be a little difficult if they don’t have a desire to attain that new outcome.


what is my plan exactly?

“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” Jesse Owens

So with all this rambling behind me, what do I mean when I say “I am determined to be more determined?”

I mean I have a vision for myself in 2016 and I’m going to achieve it. I have had a major goal in my sights for the past few years, but never taken the adequate time to do something about it. These past few months (and as well as a few months at the end of 2015) have been a fantastic start to a year that I will absolutely continue to develop.

I have had the joy of witnessing my actions and emotions over the past few years and realizing what they have meant to me. I started with a goal. A lofty goal and no real plan to achieve it. Then later I started realizing my goal wasn’t too far away if I just did something about it. With a little work, I saw my dreams become a little less hazy and a little more like reality. With that little bit of motivation, I put more effort into myself; more determined to get “there.” As time has gone on and I’ve put the pedal to the metal, I have come to see that the only obstacle standing in my way was me. My own thoughts that dreams should stay dreams and nothing more.

2016 is a new year. A new me. I’ve broken through my mental blocks and the pedal is now pressed firmly through the floor. I am determined to make it happen. It will happen. And in my experience, there is nothing more empowering.

your turn to flip the switch

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” Colin Powell

I can’t pretend to know what is going on in your life or your surroundings, and I’m not here to say I know what is best for you or what will make you happiest in this world. I can only speak for myself and what I have found to be beneficial for me. If you are looking to take on a big dream, first take a step back and a deep breath. Figure out what small things need to be done first and work on them little by little. Get into the habit of completing small things and feeling the joy and motivation that brings. From those accomplishments, grow your goals a little bigger, never biting off more than you can chew. In no time at all you will find yourself sprinting down your path coming ever closer to your new reality. Once you’re flying down that path, all you want to do is go a little faster.

Ryan McCourt


Ryan took his first hot yoga class in Berlin and just a little over 6 months later he made the plunge to become a qualified yoga teacher. Less than a year later, with valuable teaching experience under his belt, he took TheHotTT 500 hour course to become a 500 hour yoga alliance registered yoga teacher. He's originally from Austin Texas, but moved out to live, work and study with Mark & Zefea in Santa Barbara in 2013. Since joining the evolation collective, he has traveled around the US, Central America and Europe to teach and help at various teacher trainings. To see a few things that he has done, head to