It’s up to you
Don’t think twice! You can do it. If others have reached their personal goals so can you. It is not as difficult as you think. So stop worrying about how you can do it. Rather sit down and plan your change and then make it happen.
The following are ten methods from scientific research on behavior which have helped people like you reach personal goals:
1. Build on Strengths:
Identify past attempts at change or reaching goals that have worked. Identify what you did that helped you reach your goal. Repeat the steps which were successful and abandon habits that hampered change. Write down the methods that worked and review them regularly (weekly).
2. Realistic Goals:
Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Time Limited GOALS. Examples: Save an extra $10.00 per month, Walk around the block three times weekly, Read one new book once a month. As you reach these goals you can gradually increase frequencies of goal related behavior. It is much more satisfying to reach an easy goal then fail at a difficult goal. Success builds on success.
3.Write it Down:
Look at your goal each day. Think of the steps you must take. Avoid procrastination-do it! Reseach has shown you have a 300% greater likelihood of do it if you write down with a date and time!
4. Identify Personal Resistance:
Think carefully about what is making it difficult to reach your goal. Then problem solve by brainstorming ideas to overcome your personal road blocks. That’s how the Wright Brothers got off the ground. If needed, revise goal by making it easier and simpler. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
5. Monitor Thoughts, Behaviors, & Feelings Related to Goal:
Convert negative to positive. Positive thinking, behavior and feelings markedly increase motivation for change. A) Reframe thinking from “this is impossible“ to “this may not be easy, but I know I can work at it and make progress”. B) Make efforts to change behavior, skip Star Bucks today. C) Modify feelings by meditating, relaxing and focusing on the positive sensations related to reaching goal related behaviors.
Have a friend or relative work on the same goal. Communicate and support each other. Share both victories and struggles. Discuss methods that helped you move toward your goal.
7. Slipped-Get Up and Try Again:
Don’t stop as soon as you have a relapse. Enjoy that extra large hot fudge sundae and then get back to work. Tomorrow is a new day offering endless possibilities.
8. Use Knowledge:
Information is power. Stopping smoking, check out the Quitline or losing weight find out about Weight Watchers or related groups.
9. Imagine Success:
Everyday, take a few minutes and actually see yourself reaching your goal. Personal imagery is quite powerful and will result in the imagined behavior. Pro athletes and entertainers regularly employ imagery to reach their desired performance. You can do it too!
10. Brag Loudly:
Celebrate minor and major successes with family, friends and co-workers. Telling others will help you maintain motivation and continuing reaching your goal.
These ten steps can propel you towards your goal and help you continue to formulate and reach future goals. What are you waiting for? Do it!!
The arousal of anger is a normal to the human condition. Nevertheless, anger can be confusing and quite complex. Understanding the negative and positive attributes of anger can lead to effective control and expression of anger. If you are able to regulate your anger you can minimize negativity while maximizing the possibility of positive outcomes.
Being Honest with Yourself about Anger
The above comparison illustrates some of the complex and confounding characteristics of anger. Knowing healthy ways of reacting to stressful situations with constructive responses is the key to anger management. Frequent and highly intense angry outbursts is a signal that something is out of balance. Once you realize that you have difficulty controlling anger it is essential to consider some personal changes.
It is possible to commit to personal changes to reduce anger problems while improving coping and communication skills. The following are recommendations to make these changes:
1. If you experience reoccurring anger over daily experiences consider the situation carefully and examine a range of possible solutions. Select the solution which may minimize anger and still get the desired results. This approach requires careful consideration and some creativity. Weighing/exploring the pros and cons of each possible solution may help to determine your best plan of action. Writing down solutions and selecting the most effective solution can be quite helpful.
2. Seek advice from someone who has had similar situation, but remained cool and collected. Remember to ask this person both about internal (thoughts and feelings) and behaviors (how they reacted). Make an effort to use the same thoughts, feelings and behaviors when confronted with the provoking situation.
3 Use guided imagery. When you are settled and alone imagine yourself handling the situation in a calm effective fashion. This type of imagined behavioral rehearsal can help you respond more effectively when the anger arousing situation occurs.
4. Accept that aggravations are a real part of life. Unfortunately, life cannot always be fair. This acceptance will predispose you to provoking situations. By expecting aggravations you will increase your ability to respond calmly.
5. Monitor your stress level. When you identify you are at a higher than normal level of stress, when possible, avoid the situations which trigger your anger.
6. Consider an “attitude adjustment”. Generate positive thoughts about problems. View challenges as an opportunity to grow and learn new ways to resolve difficult situations. In addition, trade in sarcasm for a healthy sense of humor. Remember your attitude is how you view the outside world from the inside. Strive to maintain a healthy and positive attitude.
7. Be assertive when in a confrontation. Use “I” statements such as “I feel upset because”. Focus on the problem more than the other person. Being assertive means listening to the other party, showing understanding/empathy and communicates directly to the point. Pick your battles carefully. Know when to hold them and when to fold them. Sometimes the risks outweigh the benefits of entering into a particular conflict.
8. Stress reduction techniques such as regular exercise, mindful meditation and relaxation training will markedly increase your ability to respond effectively to conflicts.
9. Try expressing gratitude to others for simple day to day interactions. Also maintain a sense of gratitude for life’s small pleasures such as your abilities and minor positive experiences like nice weather or a calm moment. Gratitude has been proven to increase a sense of well-being and serenity.
10. If anger continues to cause personal problems realize that it may be time for professional help. The appropriate professional can guide you to make changes in a relatively short period of time. Surprisingly, learning anger management techniques will promote a dramatic transition form from frustration to effective coping.
Job, money, lover, and just simple personal satisfaction may be tied to personal happiness. For some of us these things may contribute to our happiness. Yet happiness and positive moods are found among a wide range of people having various experiences. It is healthy to be happy. Research has shown that optimist have healthier hearts and live longer. So goes the age old question. “where can I find happiness?”
Sorry, winning the lottery will is not the answer. Studies have shown that having more money than needed for basic needs does not increase personal satisfaction. Lusting to feel good can lead to a hunger for more pleasure which has been called “hedonistic treadmill”. The high of having it all may be elusive and cause more unhappiness then pleasure. The school of Positive Psychology has isolated some attributes which can contribute to happiness.
Consider the following actions to actively engage happiness:
1. Consider simple acts of selfless kindness. Give blood. Visit an ill friend. Be supportive and empathic. Simple acts of random kindness are known to improve mood and feelings of wellbeing.
2. Promote close personal relationships. People with healthy relationships are generally happier and healthier. Acceptance and intimacy go a long way to promote personal well-being in yourself and those close to you. As you make efforts to enhance relationships you are investing in the social glue that brings people together for productive and satisfying interactions. After all, what are friends for?
3. Show gratitude. Express thankfulness to others on a regular basis. Being thankful for minor and important things enhances our appreciation of what we have. It also creates positive bonds with others.
4. Cultivate a rationale to contribute to the general good of society. Doing your work well or joining a civic cause is ways to contribute. Joining and helping a charity can make a difference for you and others. Witness a charity walk. Participants are smiling and having a great time.
5. Be in the moment. Being mindful about interacting with a friend or completing a task will create a sense of well-being. So enjoy daily life by paying attention to what you are doing. Washing dishes or a calm moment in the day can contribute to your wellbeing.
6. Monitor moods. If you are in a positive mood, appreciate it. If your mood is less than happy it is O.K. to accept that mood. By monitoring your moods you will increase awareness of the conditions which promote healthy moods.
7. Exercise. Regular physical exercise has been shown to reduce both anxiety and depression. Any exercise is better than no exercise. Take a walk or simply use the steps rather than elevator.
8. Laugh and be humorous. Laughter reduces stress and will make you and others feel good.
9. Maintain a sense of purpose. Having goals and a belief system enhance personal experiences.
10. Be optimistic. See the glass half full rather than half empty. Search for the good in all situations.
Everyone will apply these approaches to happiness differently. Nevertheless, by making an effort to enhance your personal life experiences by using these techniques can yield satisfying results.
Partially based on “Happiness 101”, by D.T. Max, The New York Times Magazine, January 7, 2007
Want further information: visit: www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/home