“Secret to meaningful life–Being Present, Pleasant, Respectful and Engaged.” Mark W. Hardwick , Ph.D.
1. Affirm your ability to continue personal change and develop a no excuses focus by repeating this affirmation: “Focus on living well regardless of how you are feeling at the moment.” And complete the following Reflection Activity Daily:
- Pick one action that you want to change—for example, your physical health–running or walking, eating healthy foods, self-improvement through meditation, stop smoking or reduce drinking alcohol, etc. Chose a set time of the day and do the activity at the same time each day for one week. Record the day, time, activity, your thoughts, feelings, obstacles and action in your Daily Journal.
2. Focus on positive behavior and ignore self-sabotaging thinking and accept your feelings. With clear thinking and specific change goals your behavior will follow. Make you goals challenging but not too difficult to complete. I call this the Meaningful Constructive Living (MCL) Smart-Step process. It is all about establishing clear thinking, meaningful purpose, acceptance of feelings and staying focused on positive self-talk, establishing realistic goals and then execution plans.
- Smart-Steps are more manageable in developing positive behavior changes then a more general or holistic approach. Smart-Steps allow you to focus on behavior and the process instead of judging performance (based on fears, false expectations and results). For example, change process goals help you focus on being in the moment and responding in a responsive way to align actions with goals. Smart-steps facilitate the development of energy into positive enthusiasm for change. Here are some essential components of the Smart-Step Process as applied to “Personal Change Goals.
- Clarify and agree to a reasonable change goal. Start by making goal realistic, understandable, doable and measurable.
- Monitor and Edit yourself in positive ways. Sincerely try to set and meet realistic goals. Once that challenge and stretch but don’t overwhelm you. Do not try to change everything at one time; review and reassess goals to keep them realistic and incorporate lessons learned from setbacks or failures. Try to understand setbacks and overcome obstacles to change.
- Soften your “criticism.” of self . Do not quit if you feel overwhelmed. Practice this technique– STOP. Reflect. Challenge your thinking by executing positive actions.
- Ask for and accept support and advice from others. A recovery plan succeeds to the extent that you do not feel alone in tackling a difficult personal change. Be open to responsive friends and family members comments or concerns. Be positive about advise and suggestions from others feedback in trying to keep momentum and motivation for change alive.
- Have high standards. Have high standards and don’t expect perfection. Things may go wrong. Be ready to go with the flow. Failure is only important if you don’t learn the lessons it presents and you stop trying to change.
- Focus on the optimistic “POV” and Self-Talk. Try to understand and apply your strengths and abilities to the change process. People who succeed on changing behavior permanently make atleast five times as many positive statements to themselves about progress than negative statements or excuses.
Once you understand the Smart-Step process you are on the road to significant personal change and recovery. Specific change goals replace other people’s expectations and help you focus on what is really an important priority in your life. Being and living in the moment is critical to developing confidence. It means learning to trust and believe in your ability to accept the challenge. Developing this change posture means that you must accept more vulnerability and at risk. Trust is directly related to your ability to be open and is experienced as authenticity by others. Good Luck on your change goals and share your success stories with us in the coming year Monitor and Edit yourself in positive ways. Sincerely try to set and meet clear and realistic goals Do not make the mistake of taking the importance of communication for granted – communication matters. Put simply, the ability to effectively communicate with others is often the difference between success and failure. Don’t be fooled into thinking your title, education, influence, or charisma can take the place of sound communication skills. While the aforementioned characteristics certainly won’t hurt, they can be quickly eroded and/or undermined by making poor choices in the words you use.