02 Nov One thing you should do every day to build your mental strength & happiness
by Dr Tim Sharp
For almost all of my career, initially as a clinical psychologist, then as a coaching psychologist and more recently as a mentor and organisational consultant, I’ve worked to help a range of clients achieve change and enjoy more success and happiness (however they define these constructs).
Along the way (both as a student and as a practitioner) I’ve learned much about behaviour change and I’ve had several key lessons reinforced time and time again.
One of those lessons has increasingly become a central component of everything I do; whether I or my clients are working towards more positive moods such as happiness, or more productivity and better performance in the workplace (and even on the sporting field).
What is this key lesson?
What is this ONE THING everyone can do to enjoy more success and achieve their goals?
Well, it’s pretty simple really; it involves reflecting upon, counting and savouring small, daily wins (and by the way, I know that could be considered 3 things but I think they’re so integrally linked that I consider, and encourage others to consider them as one, albeit multifaceted, action).
“Could it really be that simple?”, I hear you ask.
Well, in short, yes. Most of the things that lead to success and happiness are simple. But most people don’t do the simple things often enough or consistently enough.
A number of research studies from a variety of perspectives variously suggest that:
- small steps are easier to achieve and people who work towards them are, therefore, more likely to succeed (something that’s not really that surprising when you think about it)
- small, positive changes can and do accumulate over time to become large and meaningful changes
- in the process, small and meaningful changes create motivation and positive energy that then fuels further growth and change and momentum
- regular positive change can become habitual, making the behaviours involved easier to perform and more automatic
In summary, then, bringing it all together and reinforcing the aforementioned points, I offer to you now these practical and powerful tips and I invite you to implement them each and every day. As you do so, watch your mood, energy and performance improve…
- Start small; and don’t underestimate the small. Successful people set grand and audacious goals; but they also break these goals down in to small, achievable, bite-sized chunks that are manageable each and every day
- Review regularly. For a variety of reasons even the best among us can be distracted; similarly, even the most positive among us can lose track of how much progress we’ve made. But the best of the best regularly review how they’re faring so they can quickly correct themselves if they’ve lost direction and recognise exactly where they’re making progress
- Appreciate and reward progress; recognising progress is a good start but actively and positively rewarding oneself for achieving meaningful goals is most definitely associated with great progress and more positive outcomes. So don’t just take note of where and when you’ve achieved something; take note AND THEN give yourself a pat on the back or even reinforce yourself with something more tangible. As you do so you’ll find you’ll create even more motivation and energy to achieve even more
- Have fun and enjoy the journey. Ernest Hemingway once said that “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” So enjoy every step along the way, no matter how big or small, and have fun. Fun is energising and inspiring and associated with greater resilience in the face of adversity and challenges.
So there it is. Do this “one thing” (OK, if you prefer, do these 3 or 4 things) every day and watch your mental strength and happiness grow and develop!