Hopefully you tried the physical health challenge last week and will continue to do so throughout the entire period. I am willing to bet that just a small improvement in one of those areas will lead to a more resilient you- and when you finish you will be well on the way to entrench a new habit (it takes about 60 days) and it will nearly be Spring (on this side of the world anyway)!
This week’s challenge focuses on determination.
You will benefit from concentrating on this area if you answered questions like this in the survey with a Strongly Disagree, Disagree or even Neutral.
When I make plans, I follow through with them.
I am determined
I have self-discipline
Sometimes I make myself do things, whether I want to or not
As you can see, this area incorporates planning and resource management, as well as what we normally think of as determination or sticking power.
Determination and our energy resources
Often how determined we feel and how well we stick to something can be encouraged or undermined by our physical state. It’s much easier to keep going when we are feeling energised and motivated. Conversely, it’s much easier to give up when we are feeling low on energy, lethargic, stressed or tired. That’s one reason why I’ve encouraged you to start with your physical health as it underpins all the other resilience traits in such a crucial way.
Determination and motivation
When you are toying with the idea of starting something but are unsure whether you will have the motivation and drive to achieve it, I can offer one piece of advice: Just start! We often wait for motivation, when in fact just starting something and reaping a small reward from that can give us the motivation to do the next bit. It needn’t be large, it could even be half a step towards your new goal. The important thing is to start.
Self – discipline
Exercising our self-discipline helps us to engage into a virtuous circle; when you use it, you feel good about yourself which helps you to muster the resources to use self-discipline again. I’m sure that you’ve experienced the ‘high’ you feel from making yourself do something you don’t really want to: from avoiding a fatty treat, to getting up in the morning for a jog, to holding your temper in the face of overwhelming odds. Remember to pat yourself on the back when you do this. Again, it may seem small, but each attempt at self-discipline makes us stronger- and that deserves acknowledgement.
Concentration & Goals
It’s important not to underestimate the role that being able to concentrate plays in helping you strive towards your goals. All too often, we are interrupted too frequently, particularly now where there are so many sources available to divert our attention. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth re-iterating that it is believed our IQ has actually gone down 10 points through this relentless interruption.
If you have a task to do, set some time towards it and make sure you are not interrupted during that period. This may involve closing doors, turning off e-mail and other alerts, even diverting the phone. See how much more efficient and effective you are in completing the task.
Now you need to choose one of these exercises and persist for (at least) a week.
Exercise: Start something. This can be anything that is going to enhance your life. The important thing is to start. Revel in your use of self-discipline to keep at the task, despite obstacles. Congratulate yourself frequently.
Exercise: Focus on concentration: Set yourselves some tasks and make an interruption free environment to complete them.