Tools to persevere towards a challenging goal: lessons learned about grit along the way of St. James

Ana Rita Nunes, Tânia Moreira, Armanda Pereira, Cleia Zanatta, Luísa Mota Ribeiro, Pedro Rosário

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Understanding the factors contributing to increased perseverance and passion toward long-term goals is an ongoing research challenge. The present study explores the inner drive of individuals to achieve meaningful goals over time, despite setbacks and challenges. The scenario chosen to uncover grit processes was the Way of St. James, a long pilgrimage demanding participants’ perseverance and passion for achieving their goals, despite hardship. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with thirty-one individuals completing the Way of St. James. Thematic analysis indicated three key themes contributing to improve the participants’ perseverance along the walk: behavioural tools (e.g., setting behavioural and time management goals), emotional tools (i.e., enjoyment and learning, belongingness), and cognitive tools (i.e., taking perspective, use of metacognitive knowledge). These findings are consistent with prior research and lifelong learning policies while suggesting that challenges and adversities are unavoidable; however, the more autonomous and open people are to continue learning over their lifespan, the more prepared they will be to cope with changes in the environment and to pursue their meaningful goals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Pages (from-to)27-40
Number of pages16
JournalInternational journal of religious tourism and pilgrimage
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Perseverance
  • Passion
  • Grit
  • Pilgrims
  • The way of St. James


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