Your mental health, your presence and involvement where you are matter and make a difference.
Yes, we’ve recently emerged into a new year. Full of promise and opportunity. A chance to begin anew. To shed the old ways and establish new habits, goals and set our sights on new horizons.
This is the “pumped up” version, however. Reality is, without some good work, we humans easily slide into old ways. Sources regularly cite 80% as the rate of people who trash their New Year’s resolutions by February. Does that include you?
Whether this 80% amount is correct or not, it’s no secret: human beings can easily break their promises (to themselves and others).
Fact is, getting better at what you set yourself out to do is hard. It takes planning. It takes intention and accountability.
And community definitely helps!
On the practical level, there are ways to do this. Here are three.
1 | Build habits in community
I want to establish myself as a writer. I’m learning there is no better way to do this than to write frequently (daily) and with intention, at least for me. To make it a part of a daily routine. And communities such as Tribe Writers and The Tribe Builder’s Network (an outgrowth of Tribe Writers) have made a remarkable difference for me.
Until now, however, I’ve been kinda sorta in my consistency. But, for the last 51 days (and counting), I have shown up every day to write. Sometimes the words flow. Other times they do not.
Sometimes the doubter shouts out in my head: There are so many people out there already who have this writing thing in the bag, so why even bother? But this is the wrong focus.
Those people may be models and guides, but they are not my yardsticks. I am my yardstick.
And, although I’ve had some successful stints with Writing (including writing one published book and the draft for a second), I’ve never felt so empowered in the writing realm as I have these last 51 days.
Doing this alone means 48K words have flowed out of my mind (and body) and are now, gradually, having an effect on this world. These words may not have come out without the discipline.
Taking it to a new level
For me, this 51-day streak found its genesis through a community Write 500+ Words Daily Challenge created by Jeff Goins (founder of TribeWriters) through a social habit-building app called SPAR.
Participating in SPAR challenges has revolutionized my thinking.
When you sign up for a SPAR challenge (and it can be anything, really), you commit to doing the practice and showing your participation to the group through a short in-app video, every day for X number of days.
If you don’t show up? You lose money. That money drops into “the pot” and, at the end, all those with a perfect record split it X number of ways.
It’s not a way to make an income, for sure. But the loss aversion element of SPAR is so very powerful. Try it and I think you’ll see what I mean.
I’m in my second round now, with another SPAR writing challenge. And I’ve participated in one other, non-writing SPAR challenge, too. (I’m rich with $20 in winnings to my name! 😂)
It’s not just about getting better through habit building, however. That’s just one side of the coin.
2 | Make sure you *choose* a growth mindset
The other side of the coin is fostering a growth mindset in all you do. This term, coined by Stanford University Professor of Psychology Dr. Carol Dweck in her seminal book Mindset, is a key to unlock a whole new way of viewing your life.If you have a growth mindset (as opposed to a “fixed mindset”), you will choose to find a way where there seems to be no way, no matter what the arena in life.
What I find especially powerful in Dweck’s work is the revelation that, even if you lean toward a fixed mindset naturally, you can learn how to develop a growth mindset if you choose. It’s up to you.
Recognizing how much your own mental, spiritual, emotional, occupational and relational health is in your hands can revolutionize your entire approach to your life. This is important for your present as well as your future. And, I’d argue, it’s fundamental to the future of our world.
So let’s take exercise as an example. One of the levers I use to convince myself to exercise regularly is a truth I’ve arrived at through experience: I never have regretted exercising after I’m done. (It’s just the starting where you face the resistance.)
Can you relate with what I’ve written? If you choose to exercise, you’ve chosen to grow. To believe there’s something better, worth fighting for. In this case, it’s a healthier body (and this affects so much more). This is a growth mindset, and it plays out in a myriad of different arenas of your life.
3 | Give your relationships the attention they need!
It’s no question—human relationships often present the biggest challenges in our lives. Dealing with people is a tricky business. Sometimes it seems as if it would be easiest simply to retreat into our own selves, our own lives, our own preoccupations and deal with other human beings only when we have to.
But this is not what life is all about. Nor is it a strategy for lasting personal fulfillment in this world. And, in the end, how we handle our relationships is what, added up, makes for a healthy, dynamic and vibrant society — or the opposite.
So, as you meet success in areas #1 and #2 above, make sure you allow that success to overflow into your relationships, no matter how challenging they may be.
Sure, it may be easy to hang out with that group of friends who think and act like you. But spending time with people in your life who are difficult? Or with people who see the world very differently than you do? This takes effort, but it’s effort well spent. And needed.
Envision your most important relationships as opportunities to invest. To love and care and build something unique and beautiful — even when it’s hard.
And, no question, we become better when we push ourselves out of our comfort zones. We become stronger, more capable – an asset, not a burden, to this world.
Our world needs this so desperately. Are you ready to step up your game to a new level — for the long term?
Ready to join me? Let’s do this!
Copyright 2019 © by Caroline DePalatis, YourGlobalFamily. All rights reserved.
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Why Being Your Best Self Matters for Our World was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.