Health coaches and coaches in general talk a lot about mapping your road to success. There are numerous mental exercises, such as imagining a trip from one continent to another via smaller islands, or taking a road off the main highway, or flying to a new city by making adjustments according to the wind patterns of the day. The underlying sentiment is one of optimism: that if you can imagine success and prepare for setbacks, you’ll get there.
Where a ’no’ attitude keeps you stuck, a ‘yes’ attitude gets you moving. For example if going to the gym seven days a week for 2 hours is a ‘no,’ then buying new sneaks and finding a Sunday afternoon neighborhood walking buddy might be a ‘yes,’ so we go there to find the path to success. People who achieve success and satisfaction in life use a key positive psychology principle called optimism.
Dr. Tom Muha* of achievinghappiness.com writes ‘There are two dimensions in which optimism has been found to make a difference in your life. One is your ability to dream, particularly by helping you to convert your deepest desires into a series of achievable goals. The second way in which optimism helps you is to make it easier for you to deal with the inevitable setbacks and struggles that you’ll encounter while striving to achieve positive outcomes.’
This is not to say that every day will be a barrel of laughs because ups and downs naturally go with the territory of achieving difficult goals. But an optimistic undertone keeps good energy in the project, as well as resilience, hope, and a can-do attitude. The key difference is that the optimist will tend to think of setbacks as temporary, as part of the overall journey.
The bigger goal in mind will be very strong because the value of achieving the goal is not easily forgotten or swept away. The pessimist, on the other hand, sees setbacks as getting stuck right back in the old rut, leading to emotional pain, blame, and loss of confidence.
Optimism comes more naturally to some that it does to others. To practice your optimism muscles, go ahead and dream a bit about an energizing goal of yours. Imagine, or write down, the steps to get there. Imagine living that dream/goal right now - how does it feel? What are the mid-term areas that you have reached, and what are the long term goals you have now reached, and what could you do even just today?
Dr. Muha further explains why using a bit of optimism goes a long way: ‘Optimists are more engaged and perseverant in pursuing their goals, which is why study after study has shown that they’re more successful in both personal and professional dimensions of life…They don’t deny the difficulties they face in situations...’
Knowing that you have overcome obstacles before in your life can remind you that you can do so again if needed. Facing new setbacks and problems with an optimistic mindset opens the mind up to developing creative strategies to overcome hurdles and carry on. Being positive and optimistic is a healthy way to live, and a shining example of you best self for all the world to see.
When limiting and negative thoughts come up, just look at them for what they are, and move on. To get further help on determining where you are at and what your best next steps might be, feel free to fill out the BodyVision quick survey and contact us at 860-248-9599 with the results.
*Quotations from article: Try Writing Your Way to Optimism. Hometown Annapolis.com 10/26/2010