By Alissa Finerman, MBA, ACC | www.finermanliving.com
Healthy body = Healthy mind = Happier people and Higher performers
I believe that making healthy food choices, consistently exercising, building positive relationships, filling our lives with meaningful work, embracing a resilient mindset and setting goals promote well-being and overall health. Our quest is to find the ideal mix of the above ingredients to sustain a high level of optimal wellness (the ability to sustain positive routines). Regardless of the goal, the process to move forward is the same. Let’s take a look at the power 5 ingredients to success:
Having a positive mindset is like the special sauce you add to a good meal that brings everything together and makes it fabulous. Specifically, a growth mindset is key to sustainable change and following through with a goal. Here are the qualities you will need according to Carol Dweck, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist and author of Mindset, who has studied achievement and success for decades:
The ability to:
* Embrace challenges
* Persist in the face of setbacks
* See effort as the path to mastery
* Learn from criticism.
What can you do to have a winning mindset?
People are frequently intimidated by setting goals and holding themselves accountable – and it makes a lot of sense. Declaring to friends or co-workers that you are going to accomplish something puts you on the line. Sonya Lyubomirsky in her book The How of Happiness offers compelling scientific research to support the theme that “people who strive for something personally significant, whether it’s learning a new craft, changing careers, or raising moral children, are far happier than those who don’t have strong dreams or aspirations. Find a happy person, and you will find a project.” Her research leads to six benefits of committed goal pursuit:
1. Provides a sense of purpose
2. Gives us something to work for and to look forward to
3. Enhances our self-esteem, stimulating us to feel confident and efficacious
4. Adds structure and meaning to our daily lives
5. Helps us learn to master our use of time and to identify priorities and divide into smaller steps as necessary
6. Promotes social connections which can be happiness inducing in the process of engaging with other people
The first layer of setting goals is to use the SMART goal formula:
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely
Now here’s the twist. The reality is you can set a strategically good goal that is not the right goal. Meaning, it doesn’t resonate. For example, a SMART goal could be that a client will lose 10 pounds by December 2010 by working out three times a week for 30 minutes and eating organic food. On the surface, that’s potentially a great goal. The issue is that losing weight may not be the true goal and having greater energy and confidence may be the driver. I encourage all my clients to dig a little deeper and move to the next level and ask tough questions to find a goal that rings true. The next time you set goals take a moment and ask yourself why it’s important? How much of a priority is it to accomplish the goal on a scale of 1 to 10? And what will success look like?
3. ACTION PLAN
Words are one thing but setting the process in motion is a whole new game. Too many people set goals and think the process will move forward naturally. The toughest part is to set goals and then craft an action plan that is doable, timely and harmonious with the stated goals. I encourage clients to think in time frames such as 30 day, three month and six month periods to gain direction and forward momentum. And most importantly, write down your plan and put it on a whiteboard so you have clarity on your next steps.
4. SMALL STEPS
Small steps are such an important part of this process. The irony is that small steps lead to quantum leaps, which people often doubt. It’s much easier to take three small steps even though it seems more natural to take one big step. Small steps are key to building confidence, de-cluttering the mind, gaining momentum and helping us adjust to the change process. We are trained to think big with an all or nothing approach but change happens one step at a time. We often get “stuck” when we think in big ideas and get overwhelmed. The question to ask is what is sustainable given your current lifestyle? The next time you set out to read an entire book in one sitting, start by reading a chapter or even a paragraph. Quantum leaps occur by taking small steps, being consistent and building confidence.
5. RESILIENCY into SOLUTIONS
Resiliency is crucial in the mix to successfully overcome one hurdle after the next. After setting a goal, people have very high motivation levels. Then a few days go by and new ideas and priorities settle in and all of a sudden the motivation level dramatically levels off unless the goal is a high priority. The dash of resiliency helps us bounce back when we hit a roadblock. This is where solutions come in. I encourage my clients to match obstacles with solutions. Most people list obstacles and stay parked at a red light. As soon as you hit an obstacle, spend the next 90% of your time focusing on solutions (per Tony Robbins) and 10% on the problem. Focusing on the solution will channel your energy to move the process forward which is what we want. Remember, the only thing we have control over is how we react to a problem.
The Power 5 can be used to pursue any goal in all areas of your life. It’s helpful to leverage your core strengths and apply those to areas that need additional love and attention. Perhaps it’s time to revamp a goal you’ve had for a while and toss some of these suggestions into your mix. Good luck and have fun!
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Believe in yourself,