In Procrastination lay possibilities

One of the things that undermines us being at our best is procrastination.

  • In 1978, 5% of the population admitted to being chronic procrastinators compared to roughly 26% of the population today (Steele, 2007).

Indeed, it is no coincidence that Self-Control is the least occurring VIA Strengths (only 4% of the population) and Discipline is near the bottom of Gallup’s 34 Strengthsfinder themes (31st of 34). So, if you are like me, you cannot call on these strengths to help you.

Warning: While reading.viewing this post will help you effectively move beyond procrastinating if put into practice, you will probably go down a rabbit hole exploring procrastinating. 

Tim Urban of Wait, but why offers one of best explanations for why we procrastinate:

He offers a follow up in another post on How to Beat Procrastination.

Dr. Linda Sapadin has created a personality quiz to help you identify the type of procrastinator you are:

According to Dr. Sapadin, the 6 styles represent the outer polarities of 3 traits:

Attention to Details: The perfectionist pays too much attention to details; the dreamer doesn’t pay enough attention.

Focus on the Future: The worrier is overly concerned about what might happen if…; the crisis-maker is not sufficiently concerned (until crunch time).

Relationship to Others: The defier goes against what others want; the pleaser is overly oriented to what others want.

In her book, she offers prescriptions to each of the styles. Short of buying the book, what can you do?

Planning

First steps always involve having a plan. Part of the plan comes down to understanding your priorities. For big picture, short of having your own mission statement (which is a good idea), I like Warren Buffet’s 25/5 priority solution:

  • Write down your top 25 goals for the next year.
  • Circle your top 5.
  • Throw out the other 20. As Buffet said “Everything you didn’t circle just became your Avoid-At-All-Cost list. No matter what, these things get no attention from you until you’ve succeeded with your top 5.”

You can do this on a life time, or five years or one week. It really does not matter. The idea is to zero in on the essential. Charles Schwab employed a similar idea brought to him by a consultant Ivy Lee

  1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
  2. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
  3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
  4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  5. Repeat this process every working day.

A more macro approach has to do with understanding the nature of your to do list at any given time as General Eisenhower did: “”I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” This is best illustrated by this matrix:

If you actually organized all the tasks into one of the four quadrants, you will be a far more productive place. Here is a video of it in practice:

But how to stop procrastinating?

Anisa  Horton at FastCompany offers an idea of scheduling procrastination which he borrowed from Charles Duhigg:

“this is something I actually found when writing the book.  The more you focus, the more that focus becomes a habit.  So, willpower is like a muscle, right?  It’s this muscle that you can build up, and it gets tired, but the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.  The same is true of our ability to focus.  The more you practice focusing, the easier focusing becomes.  And so the other answer for procrastination is, don’t beat up on yourself.  Let yourself practice going longer and longer and longer without taking a five-minute break to check Facebook because after three or four weeks, after three or four months you’ll be able to sustain focus much longer, but the key is, you can’t change everything overnight. You can’t suddenly say, I want a brand new habit tomorrow and expect it to be east and effortless.  It’s something you have to give yourself permission to take a little bit of time to practices because you’re building up neuro pathways associated with certain behavior and those neuro pathways just build up over time.  You can’t speed up that process any more than is natural.”

Another personal favorite is the Pomodoro Technique.

  1. Choose a task to be accomplished.
  2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
  4. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
  5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break

Other techniques

Visual Cues: Let’s say you need to learn a list of vocabulary words. You commit to reviewing 25 words every day. You can get a bowl of 25 paperclips–25 to be exact. Each word you review, you flip the clip to an empty bowl. And you keep going until the first bowl is empty. Repeat tomorrow. 

Surrender your cell phone. Seriously, you know you cannot live without it, so let’s meet half way. When you get home, give your phone to your parent. You can give yourself an allowance of say 30 minute phone break to do all the things you normally do. A growing body of research is showing that Cell phone usage is driving anxiety levels up

Exercise Self Control. Don’t have any? There is an app for that. You can block websites and apps that distract you. The nice thing is you can give yourself an allowance. So you can block Youtube for say 1 hour and then give yourself a break to do so. There is an app called Focus for your iphone that does the thing. More iphone apps for productivity here.

Focus Writer helps you concentrate on your writing on a mac. StayFocusd increases your productivity by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites through this Chrome extension

Practice mindfulness daily. Why? “Emotional regulation, to me, is the real story around procrastination, because to the extent that I can deal with my emotions, I can stay on task,” says Pychyl, a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada).

Podcasts worth listening to

 

Where to start?

Simply pick one of these strategies and test it for one week. Run it like an experiment. Next week try a different strategies. 

Well worth reading is this article on the Science Behind Procrastination.

Love of Learning: Podcasts worth listening to

The podcast world is the love of learning’s best friend.

Let’s start with an interview with Josh Waitzkin,  an 8x US National Chess Champion, a 2x Tai Chi Push Hands World Champion, and a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  He is the author of The Art of Learning (require reading to train with me).  Josh is now pursuing paddle surfing where I’ve been working with him for the last year.  He is the most positive, inspirational person I know and I’m incredibly thankful he agreed to come on the show. Josh’s Core Training Principles –

  • Reduced Complexity (end game before opening) – training with less variables to focus on larger, high-level principles concepts.
  • Firewalking – learning from the experience of others using empathy and visualization.
  • Mental Representations – have a clear mental model for a skill your practicing.  Like modeling an Agassi forehand.
  • Growth comes at point of resistance – we learn the most when we’re outside of our comfort zone.
  • Living on the other side of pain
  • Train at the few to internalize the many
  • Finding your own way
  • Beacon of Quality
  • Depth before Breadth
  • Loving the storm
  • Have your compass on
  • Most important Question
  • The Downward Spiral – Usually it isn’t the first mistake that’s disastrous, but the first mistake tends to make the second more likely.
  • Philosopher vs. Philosophologist – We tend to study the work of those who study the experts instead of studying the experts directly.

SoundCloud Widget

 

 

Think of domain and you can probably plug in and find a podcast to educate and entertain you. So many to explore, but I will highlight a few that do a deep dive. Check out our the posting for Curiosity, the sibling for a love of learning. Here are some of my favorites:

 The Psychology Podcast

Every episode Scott Barry Kaufmann interviews the most intriguing people form the world of psychology, diving deep into their research with good humor. Some episodes to get you started:

The Way I heard it 

Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame, takes the guy in the bar format to share a story, a mini biography of famous people past and present. Episodes are typically five minutes, but will take you far deeper into than you would expect. Each episode starts with a avague but intriguing aspect that leaves you guessing who he is talking about. Check out these episodes:

    • Episode 69: “A Little Dab’ll Do Ya!”
    • Episode 67: Charlie’s Big Break
    • Episode 59: A Hero Under the Influence
    • Episode 54: The Boy Who Loved to Fly
    • Episode 15: Sorry, Wrong Number
    • Episode 3: Clean Up On Aisle 4!

The China History Podcast

LASZLO MONTGOMERY hails from Claremont California whose business takes him to China. Amateur historian does not do justice to this world class sinophile. You can listen from any episode as he does it by topic, not by chronology. Some topics take 2 or 3 or even 10 episodes. I have learned so much. 

Hardcore History

In “Hardcore History” journalist and broadcaster Dan Carlin takes his “Martian”, unorthodox way of thinking and applies it to the past. Was Alexander the Great as bad a person as Adolf Hitler? What would Apaches with modern weapons be like? Will our modern civilization ever fall like civilizations from past eras? This isn’t academic history (and Carlin isn’t a historian) but the podcast’s unique blend of high drama, masterful narration and Twilight Zone-style twists has entertained millions of listeners.

The Daily

This moment demands an explanation. This show is on a mission to find it. Only what you want to know, none of what you don’t. Hosted by Michael Barbaro. Powered by New York Times journalism. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, ready by 6 a.m.

Philosophy: The Classics

Author Nigel Warburton reads from his book Philosophy: The Classics which is an introduction to 27 key works in the history of Philosophy.

Fresh Air

Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio’s most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today’s biggest luminaries.

Freakanomics Radio

Have fun discovering the hidden side of everything with host Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the best-selling “Freakonomics” books. Each week, hear surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports. Dubner talks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, social scientists and entrepreneurs — and his “Freakonomics” co-author Steve Levitt. After just a few episodes, this podcast will have you too thinking like a Freak. Produced by WNYC Studios, home of other great podcasts such as “Radiolab,” “Death, Sex & Money,” and “On the Media.”

Find your strengths Twin

The guys at   Releasing Strengths are aiming to connect you with someone who shares your top 5. The odds are slim:

We are all pretty unique, however some people share the same Top 5 themes. The chances of two people having the same Top 5 themes is 1 in 278,256. Even more incredible, two people having the same Top 5 themes in the same order is 1 in 33 million. (33,390,720).

And yet they have already connected 22 sets of Strengths Twins, 1 set of Triplets and 1 group of Quads in only 660 registrations. It is interesting the frequency of those filling in the form: 

Perseverance: Podcasts worth listening to

I love podcasts. I have been stumbling on some wonderful episode directly related to the concept of Strengthsmining. Today, I share a few dealing with perseverance. Identified as one of 24 character strengths, I don’t anyone questions the value of sticking to something. Angela Lee Duckworth quantified this in her work on Grit. With the release of her book, she has shown up on several podcasts like The Art of Charm. She covers

  • Why we shouldn’t label others as talented.
  • Why our potential is one thing — and what we do with it is another.
  • How to focus on high-level goals.
  • When to give up — and when to be stubborn.
  • How to grow our grit and perseverance.
  • And so much more…

And The Mastery Podcast, she covers

  • The value of process vs. outcome
  • How she first came to value grit
  • Her definition of grit
  • Impact of self-control on grit
  • The differences between achievement and mastery
  • Sunk-cost fallacy
  • Setting a goal at the right level
  • Is passion or perseverance harder?
  • The 3 kinds of character that are most important

And Freakanomics Radio

Scott Barry Kaufman interviews Caroline Miller on her New Book, Getting Grit. Caroline’s work feels more actionable than Angela’s as you hear this podcast.

Grit is not without some controversy: NPR highlighted some on The Hidden Brain in an episode called “The Power And Problem Of Grit”

But other research has also pointed to a potential downside to grit. Like stubborness, too much grit can keep us sticking to goals, ideas, or relationships that should be abandoned. Psychologist Gale Lucas and her colleagues found in one experiment that gritty individuals will persist in trying to solve unsolvable puzzles at a financial cost. And that’s a limitation of grit: it doesn’t give you insight into when it will help you prevail and when it will keep you stuck in a dead-end.

Career Development

Your future begins here. Check out these self-assessment tools.

‘… One cannot build on weakness. To achieve results, one has to use all the available strengths…  These strengths are the true opportunities’ (Drucker, 1967)

The Theory from Gallup:

Strengths-Based Career Development: Seven Checkpoints
1. Move from strength.
A. Assess your talents, knowledge, experience and capabilities. Sort out what you can learn from that which is innate and enduring.
B. Don’t rule out a career possibility because you lack knowledge or experience. Those things can almost always be acquired. Evaluate whether you have the needed strengths or talents instead.
C. Take a close look at why the role seems attractive to you. Resist being drawn to a role for the wrong reasons (for example, by prestige, glamour, or power). Make sure you love to do what the role requires.
2. Consider the possibilities.
A. Roles, organizations, and even entire industries are changing rapidly, so building flexibility into your career plan is more important than ever. Spend time considering the choices before you. This exploratory phase will help you become more aware of possible career options.
B. Ask for help if you are unsure of opportunities that exist inside your organization or community.
C. Seek the advice of others whose career progression has been broader than your own or whose work allows them to work with people in many different roles.
3. Define the expectations.
A. Once you have selected one or two possibilities, define specific expectations for each role.
B. Consider the talent, knowledge, and experience your target role requires. What tasks would you have to accomplish? What talents and knowledge will it take to be successful? What would you do in that role every day?
C. Sometimes, getting the role you want requires a different set of strengths than the role itself. Getting elected is one such example — the talents and skills needed to hold an office may differ from those required to run for office. Managing salespeople may be another: The skills required to succeed at sales are not the skills needed to manage highly successful salespeople. Consider what has to be accomplished to acquire the role. How well can you meet that challenge?
4. Candidly consider your “fit.”
A. Don’t gloss over the parts of the role you dislike or wouldn’t enjoy. While no role will “fit” you perfectly, the parts that don’t “fit” should be kept to a minimum, and they should reflect the more negotiable aspects of the job.
B. Ask yourself, what tasks would you perform every day? How closely are those aligned with what you do best?
C. Don’t attempt this step alone. Seek input from your Career Board or from individuals who know you well and who are willing to help you with this process.
5. Define an action plan.
A. Once you’ve locked onto your goal, it’s time to plan. What are the things you must you do to prepare for this position? And how can you attain it, once you are ready?
6. Build a constituency.
A. Think about the people who can help you land your target role. Do you already know those people, or do you need to find ways to connect with them?
B. Identify the support you will need to be successful. Whose help will you need once you’ve attained your target role?
7. Measure your performance.
A. Chart your progress on your action plan. As you check off your current steps, identify the next three.
B. If your long-term goal requires interim steps, you may need to celebrate smaller successes as you go. These are excellent times to connect with your Career Board and other supporters.
C. Finally, continually reassess how your long-term goals relate to your career plan. At each step, consider whether you’re still happy with your overall direction, or whether you might have learned some things about the role or about yourself that might cause you to change your course. Failure to self-correct may lead you to token success — you may achieve your initial goal, but discover your priorities have changed in the interim.

Success comes from habits

There is a short, but excellent article summarizing Tom Corley’s research he published in his best-selling book “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life,” on what financially successful people do in comparison to lower earning individuals. I have added my own commentary to several, but do read his article.

  • They get up early
    Well begun, half done, so goes the saying. It is not getting up early that matters as much as what you do when you are up. Getting up early allows for several other habits take hold–exercise, reading, quiet contemplation. One excellent practice is known as morning pages whereby you aim to write 750 words fist thing.
  • They spend 15 to 30 minutes each day on focused thinking
    Perhaps this can be split into two parts: Focused thing vis-a-vis your goals and tasks at hand, and focused attending to yourself such as a mindful practice. Tim Ferris figures 85% of his guests on his excellent podcast have some sort of contemplative practice.
  • They make exercise a priority
    Research shows Cardio exercise is not just good for the heart and waist, but your brain as well from stress and anxiety to depression and many others. Watch John Ratey explain

And exercising is very good for the brain:

    • They spend time with people who inspire them
      Role models and mentors are powerful inspiration. Chris Peterson famously summed a life worth living as “Other People Matter:

The Greater Good Society reports that “Results from some studies—as well as end-of-life conversations—indicate that many people count their relationships as the most meaningful part of their lives, even when those relationships are difficult or strained.” There is one special relationship that matters: Mentors:

  • They pursue their own goals
    The Ritz Carelton has curated seven great TED Talks  on goal-setting and how to follow through on your dreams.

1) Keep your goals to yourself by Derek Sivers

In this three-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares psychological evidence about the importance of keeping your goals quiet. You’ll have a better chance of following through on your plans if you don’t share them with others.

2) Try Something New for 30 Days by Matt Cutts

In this three-minute TED Talk, the speaker shows how small steps can lead to big adventures. Inviting activity into your life seems to lead to a richer experience.

3) 5 Ways to Kill Your Dreams by Bel Pesce

In this six-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares five lines of thought that will keep you from reaching your goals, and she also emphasizes the significance of the journey.

4) Four Keys for Setting and Achieving Goals by William Barr

In this eight-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares how he was able to build one of the nation’s largest home improvement companies.

5) If You Want to Achieve Your Goals, Don’t Focus on Them by Reggie Rivers

In this 11-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares how focusing on the goals can actually prevent you from achieving your goals. By focusing on your behaviors, you will be more driven to follow through.

6) The Key to Success? Grit by Angela Lee Duckworth

In this 6-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares how grit is a key ingredient for success. She encourages the audience to live life as a marathon and not a sprint.

7) The Power of Believing That You Can Improve by Carol Dweck

In this 11-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares how adopting a growth mindset can open you up to greater success. She encourages the audience to see a challenge as a “yet” opportunity.

  • They get enough sleep
    You need sleep to draw on vitality. Tom Rath explains getting Fully Charged:

  • They have multiple incomes
    Obviously financial wealth requires income. Multiple incomes take precedence especially if they are self-sustaining. Tim Ferris explains in his book the Four Hour Work Week.

  • They avoid times wasters
    Hopefully you do not see this blog as a time waster. Even the pope has spoken out against Digital Media filters: “When media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously,” he wrote in the letter.

How to boost creativity

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live!” Henry David Thoreau penned in his journal. “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” Thoreau was onto something when it comes to building your strengths of creativity. I always wondered why Gallup never included creativity as one of their Talents in the Strengthsfinder assessment. 

 

Apparently it is as simple as walking according to a Stanford study highlighted in a story featuring Steve Job’s famous practice of taking people for walking. Where you walked did not matter: “The act of walking itself, and not the environment, was the main factor,” according to the study. This study follows on an excellent article in the New Yorker on how Walking Makes You Think. Walking has many other benefits as outlined by the arthritis foundation:

1. Walking improves circulation.

2. Walking shores up your bones. 

3. Walking leads to a longer life. 

4. Walking lightens mood. 

5. Walking can lead to weight loss. 

6. Walking strengthens muscles. 

7. Walking improves sleep. 

8. Walking supports your joints. 

9. Walking improves your breath. 

10. Walking slows mental decline.

11. Walking lowers Alzheimer’s risk. 

 

12. Walking helps you do more, longer. 

 

Success comes from habits

There is a short, but excellent article summarizing Tom Corley’s research he published in his best-selling book “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life,” on what financially successful people do in comparison to lower earning individuals. I have added my own commentary to several, but do read his article.

  • They get up early
    Well begun, half done, so goes the saying. It is not getting up early that matters as much as what you do when you are up. Getting up early allows for several other habits take hold–exercise, reading, quiet contemplation. One excellent practice is known as morning pages whereby you aim to write 750 words fist thing.
  • They spend 15 to 30 minutes each day on focused thinking
    Perhaps this can be split into two parts: Focused thing vis-a-vis your goals and tasks at hand, and focused attending to yourself such as a mindful practice. Tim Ferris figures 85% of his guests on his excellent podcast have some sort of contemplative practice.
  • They make exercise a priority
    Research shows Cardio exercise is not just good for the heart and waist, but your brain as well from stress and anxiety to depression and many others. Watch John Ratey explain

    • They spend time with people who inspire them
      Role models and mentors are powerful inspiration. Chris Peterson famously summed a life worth living as “Other People Matter:

The Greater Good Society reports that “Results from some studies—as well as end-of-life conversations—indicate that many people count their relationships as the most meaningful part of their lives, even when those relationships are difficult or strained.” There is one special relationship that matters: Mentors:

  • They pursue their own goals
    The Ritz Carelton has curated seven great TED Talks  on goal-setting and how to follow through on your dreams.

    1) Keep your goals to yourself by Derek Sivers

    In this three-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares psychological evidence about the importance of keeping your goals quiet. You’ll have a better chance of following through on your plans if you don’t share them with others.

    2) Try Something New for 30 Days by Matt Cutts

    In this three-minute TED Talk, the speaker shows how small steps can lead to big adventures. Inviting activity into your life seems to lead to a richer experience.

    3) 5 Ways to Kill Your Dreams by Bel Pesce

    In this six-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares five lines of thought that will keep you from reaching your goals, and she also emphasizes the significance of the journey.

    4) Four Keys for Setting and Achieving Goals by William Barr

    In this eight-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares how he was able to build one of the nation’s largest home improvement companies.

    5) If You Want to Achieve Your Goals, Don’t Focus on Them by Reggie Rivers

    In this 11-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares how focusing on the goals can actually prevent you from achieving your goals. By focusing on your behaviors, you will be more driven to follow through.

    6) The Key to Success? Grit by Angela Lee Duckworth

    In this 6-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares how grit is a key ingredient for success. She encourages the audience to live life as a marathon and not a sprint.

    7) The Power of Believing That You Can Improve by Carol Dweck

    In this 11-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares how adopting a growth mindset can open you up to greater success. She encourages the audience to see a challenge as a “yet” opportunity.

  • They get enough sleep
    You need sleep to draw on vitality. Tom Rath explains getting Fully Charged:

  • They have multiple incomes
    Obviously financial wealth requires income. Multiple incomes take precedence especially if they are self-sustaining. Tim Ferris explains in his book the Four Hour Work Week.

  • They avoid times wasters
    Hopefully you do not see this blog as a time waster. Even the pope has spoken out against Digital Media filters: “When media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously,” he wrote in the letter.

Seeking meaning through the stories you tell.EMILY ESFAHANI SMITH

I was just listening to Scott Barry Kaufmann’s excellent podcast, when I stumbled on his interview with EMILY ESFAHANI SMITH. Meaning comes from four pillars: belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence. I found the notion on story telling quite intriguing. “People who believe their lives are meaningful tend to tell stories defined by growth, communion and agency.”

Here is a little preview from a PBS special:

How can you find which pillar of meaning you are living? Try Emily’s quiz:

10 actions of happiness–make every day your international day of hapiness.

 

Giving icon

Do things for others

Caring about others is fundamental to our happiness. Helping other people is not only good for them and a great thing to do, it also makes us happier and healthier too. Giving also creates stronger connections between people and helps to build a happier society for everyone. And it’s not all about money – we can also give our time, ideas and energy. So if you want to feel good, do good! Read more…

 

Relating icon

Connect with people

Relationships are the most important overall contributor to happiness. People with strong and broad social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer. Close relationships with family and friends provide love, meaning, support and increase our feelings of self worth. Broader networks bring a sense of belonging. So taking action to strengthen our relationships and create new connections is essential for happiness. Read more…

 

Exercising icon

Take care of your body

Our body and our mind are connected. Being active makes us happier as well as being good for our physical health. It instantly improves our mood and can even lift us out of a depression. We don’t all need to run marathons – there are simple things we can all do to be more active each day. We can also boost our well-being by unplugging from technology, getting outside and making sure we get enough sleep! Read more…

 

Appreciating icon

Live life mindfully

Ever felt there must be more to life? Well good news, there is! And it’s right here in front of us. We just need to stop and take notice. Learning to be more mindful and aware can do wonders for our well-being in all areas of life – like our walk to work, the way we eat or our relationships. It helps us get in tune with our feelings and stops us dwelling on the past or worrying about the future – so we get more out of the day-to-day. Read more…

 

Trying Out icon

Keep learning new things

Learning affects our well-being in lots of positive ways. It exposes us to new ideas and helps us stay curious and engaged. It also gives us a sense of accomplishment and helps boost our self-confidence and resilience. There are many ways to learn new things – not just through formal qualifications. We can share a skill with friends, join a club, learn to sing, play a new sport and so much more. Read more…

 

 

 

Direction icon

Have goals to look forward to

Feeling good about the future is important for our happiness. We all need goals to motivate us and these need to be challenging enough to excite us, but also achievable. If we try to attempt the impossible this brings unnecessary stress. Choosing ambitious but realistic goals gives our lives direction and brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when we achieve them. Read more…

 

Resilience icon

Find ways to bounce back

All of us have times of stress, loss, failure or trauma in our lives. But how we respond to these has a big impact on our well-being. We often cannot choose what happens to us, but we can choose our own attitude to what happens. In practice it’s not always easy, but one of the most exciting findings from recent research is that resilience, like many other life skills, can be learned. Read more…

 

Emotion icon

Look for what’s good

Positive emotions – like joy, gratitude, contentment, inspiration, and pride – are not just great at the time. Recent research shows that regularly experiencing them creates an ‘upward spiral’, helping to build our resources. So although we need to be realistic about life’s ups and downs, it helps to focus on the good aspects of any situation – the glass half full rather than the glass half empty. Read more…

 

Acceptance icon

Be comfortable with who you are

No-one’s perfect. But so often we compare our insides to other people’s outsides. Dwelling on our flaws – what we’re not rather than what we’ve got – makes it much harder to be happy. Learning to accept ourselves, warts and all, and being kinder to ourselves when things go wrong, increases our enjoyment of life, our resilience and our well-being. It also helps us accept others as they are. Read more…

 

Meaning icon

Be part of something bigger

People who have meaning and purpose in their lives are happier, feel more in control and get more out of what they do. They also experience less stress, anxiety and depression. But where do we find ‘meaning and purpose’? It might be our religious faith, being a parent or doing a job that makes a difference. The answers vary for each of us but they all involve being connected to something bigger than ourselves. Read more…

Source: Action for Happiness