Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Power of Positive Thinking - 10 Steps

“The greater part of our happi­ness or misery depends on our disposi­tion and not on our circumstances.” –Martha Washington
 “The only thing that stands between you and your dream is the will to try and the belief that it is actually possible.” – Joel Brown
People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.Zig Ziglar

Attitude is Everything

Imagine two runners, both of equal ability, getting ready to begin a race.  One is thinking, “I’ll never win. I feel so sluggish. I can’t believe I’m even in this race. This young woman next to me looks so much faster; I bet she’s going to run right past me.” The other runner is thinking, “I feel great—light and fast! This is going to be the best race I've ever run. I’m strong, and I've been practicing for weeks. I can’t wait to get started.” Which runner do you think will perform better and why?

At the start of this year I had a dream to become the best me possible in the next 12 and imagined myself losing weight, getting into shape and being fit for life. I even followed through with an action plan.  The possibilities seemed endless.  Then – Life Got in the Way.  I sustained a foot injury which put my exercise program back on the shelf.  I found myself in a negative mind space and went back to the same old rut I’d been in for years.   Last week I looked at a creative problem solving process to assist me to get back on track and take control of the situation.  I went to the podiatrist and she recommended a change of shoes, foot massage and foot exercises to relieve the pain.  Hopefully this will provide a remedy to my physical pain. 

However this will not address the emotional road blocks I am currently facing to staying on track to achieving my health and fitness goals. I have found myself thinking and reacting to challenges in a very negative way.  I realise these thoughts influence my behaviour and actions which in turn impacts on my outcomes.  If like me you are looking for some practical solutions to that universal motivation – problem problem then please read on. 

Definition of Positive Attitude

Positive means: Confident in opinion or assertion; fully assured while “Attitude” refers to our outlook on life—a way of thinking about themselves, others, and the world.

When people behave positively, their brains create chemicals called endorphins, which enhance performance. Endorphins can increase physical energy, increase mental alertness, reduce anxiety, and improve problem solving skills. Having a positive attitude means being strong and motivated.  It means focusing on strengths and confidently moving forward. It affects our behaviour—when we have a positive attitude, we act in a way that reflects that attitude.

Positive behaviour can be developed by forming positive habits.  Here are 10 of my favourites.  
  1. Set SMARTGoals and an Action Plan.  We have already discussed the importance of these in other blogs.
  2. Create Flow – any small step towards your goal is better than none.  Start with something small and work your way up to bigger task. Just get started. Make a deal with yourself to work at a task for at least 15 minutes.  If you find after that time a lack of commitment then move on to something else.  The small successes will keep you motivated and keeping your focus away from the bigger target stops you from becoming overwhelmed and discouraged. 
  3.  Create a Priority List.  Mark the 3 highest priorities and focus on getting these done first.  Anything after that is a bonus.
  4. Foster Self-belief.  Henry Ford said “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right”.  Think of yourself as successful, and have positive expectations for every­thing you do. Be your own best friend and start encouraging and believing in yourself.  Nurture your attempts with positive supportive words and actions.   Start a strengths register and add to it as you grow personally and professionally. Keep A to Do List and mark off the actions you have completed towards achieving your goal.  This will help you remember your successes. Refer back to the lists for motivation. Consider using a journal of some kind to keep track of your thoughts and actions.
  5.  View Failure as a Learning Opportunity. This is difficult to do as we have been programed to fear failure and rejection.  If we look at successful people they have a different response to the common one.  They look at failure as part of the process of learning something new and an opportunity to improve next time.  They know that to be successful at anything you have to fail many times.   Redefine failure in your mind as feedback on what you need to improve on and success will come.  Keep trying until you achieve the results you want. Call in your inner coach to help you ask the right questions to help move you get the move out of the situation. Remember you only fail when you quit trying.
  6.  Surround yourself with positive people and ideas. Seek advice and support from people experienced in your field of endeavour. They can assist you by providing encouragement and advice based on their experience.  If  don’t  personally know of anyone that fits this category then:·         read books by successful people in your chosen area
    ·         read good blogs
    ·         join a group or club
    ·         locate a video or YouTube on the subject
    ·         listen to the radio
    ·         find a goal buddy or co-dreamer to share the journey with you
    ·         Engage a coach, counsellor, trainer or other professional support person.Whatever you do, stay away from naysayers and negative people who don’t have faith in your ability to achieve your goals
  7. .Make a Vision Board – At the goal formulation state you imagined the change you were seeking in great detail.  You pictured your life as it might be.  You can create a vision board by cutting out pictures that represent the physical and emotional aspects of this imagined future reality. Whenever you are feeling negative and lack motivation you can use the positive images on the board to remind you of your goals
  8. Fake it til you make it – not feeling motivate or enthusiastic. The just pretend for a while and you’ll be surprised at how soon you will be experiencing the real emotions. Start the day with a smile and ask yourself “What am I happy/excited about in my life right now?”
  9.  Use the technique of visualization. Visualization is the tech­nique of purposefully creating a mental picture of a successful performance. Visualization improves performance because the positive picture stimulates the brain to trigger corresponding positive responses that support the mental image.  Many athletes use this technique to enhance their abilities on the field or court, by entertainers to ensure their best performances, and by successful professionals to achieve their goals. Visualization is creating a “mental movie” in which you are the star. You can find some visualisation exercises at Creative Affirmations by Danea Horn.
  10.  The technique of affirmation. Affirmative statements are positive self-reminders that help us strengthen our efforts and achieve our goals.  They are reminders of the beliefs and values we want to live our life from. It is recommended we state them in the positive and say them as often as we can. Each time you notice that you have slipped into old limiting, negative patterns of thinking, acknowledge your thoughts, and replace them with an affirmation. Affirmations are like mental commercials that encourage us to buy into positive images of ourselves. CreativeAffirmations by Danea Horn 
A positive attitude can lead to positive behaviour.
• Positive expectations, behaviours, and habits bring positive results.

Thank you for following my journey so far.  I hope you are travelling well towards your goals for 2014 and staying motivated.

From the suggestions you might like to try one or two and let me know which ones work well for you. 

1 comment:

  1. If you want to read further about the science behind being positive and more ways to boost your positivism then read "Positivity" by Barbara Fredrickson. Has a complete chapter called Tool Kit.