It seems there are two main types of coaching clients: Those who are defeated by nothing and those who give up at the first "bump in the road". The operative word is "bump", not "hill", not "mountain", not "mountain range" but "bump”.
What does this mean? This refers to the type of person who chooses a goal and plans a way to accomplish it, but gives up at the first minor setback, disappointment or adversity. Perhaps the goal is to get physically fit and they decide to walk for 30 minutes five times a week and commit to start Monday. When they wake up Monday, it’s raining, so they don’t start...and the plan goes downhill from there. Here are some things they could have done differently when they saw the rain:
- Put on rain gear and walk anyway.
- Rearrange their schedule and head for the gym.
- Put on their walking gear, turn on the TV or music and walk in place vigorously swinging their arms.
- Turn on music and dance around actively.
- Put in an exercise DVD and work out.
Can you imagine the difference in self esteem and self respect in these two different approaches? Saying you will start and giving up at the first bump gives a feeling of failure, distrust of your own integrity, and insecurity about trustworthiness of your own future promises.
Saying you will start and finding a way to start in spite of the bump gives a tremendous feeling of success, deep trust in your own integrity and a strong feeling of security about the trustworthiness of your own future promises.
1. Take a serious look at what you let defeat you. The majority of times, most people let small things defeat them. Take the attitude that you will not be defeated.
2. Hold your end goal in mind...in this case fitness...and being healthy and mobile all your life. Realize that the only way to that goal is by keeping the commitments every day that will get you there. Don’t be stopped by small things.
3. When you are planning to start something new, be sure to consider carefully a starting date and time when you know you will have guaranteed success. Usually starting something new when you are already over-committed is a form of self sabotage. Figure out a way to clear your schedule and free up the time for your new endeavor.
4. Take into consideration your personality characteristics. If you are not a "morning person", don’t expect to succeed in an effort to exercise by getting up earlier every day. You’ll do better to use exercise as an after work activity...a break between work and home.
5. Another way ensure success is to choose to start at a time when you know you can put the required effort into it. Make sure that there are no obstacles to your success in the next 3-4 weeks. Be sure you have a clear path ahead to set a new habit into place. If you want to lose weight, don’t plan to start on a week where you will be going to several social events where there is food.
6. Create back up plans and alternate actions you can take to succeed if your first plan does not work out for unforeseeable reasons. Always know in advance what you will do if your first plan does not work out.
This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Positive Psychology. The Official Guide to Positive Psychology is Barbara Becker Holstein. Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein is the originator of The Enchanted Self(R). She has been a positive psychologist in private practice and licensed in the states of New Jersey and Massachusetts since 1981. She is currently in private practice in Long Branch, New Jersey with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein. www.enchantedself.com
Additional Resources covering Positive Psychology can be found at: