Flourish and Thrive
Navigating Transitions with Mindfulness and Resilience
In September 2018 I was thrilled to be accepted as a blogger for Psychology Today.
Psychology Today, which began publishing in 1967, is a progressive publication dedicated to helping people learn more about themselves. I’m proud to be included among the distinguished contributors – psychologists, writers, coaches, psychiatrists – who publish their ideas.
My Psychology Today blog is called: Flourish and Thrive: Navigating Transitions with Mindfulness and Resilience.
Here’s a brief sample:
Don’t wait to start that project.
Even minimal progress toward a goal, can help you achieve it. And you don’t have to like doing it – you just need to get started.
If you’re hesitating to get started, this is procrastination. We delay performing an action though we know our delay may negatively impact ourselves or others (Pychl, 2010).
Six Steps to Stop Procrastinating
1. Just Get Started. Even minimal progress toward a goal lets us feel more positive about the objective and ourselves (Sheldon, 2004). Typically, once we begin the task we discover it’s not as “bad” as we’d anticipated. Sometimes we wish we’d started sooner to have more time to work.
Just start! Take one small step to get the ball rolling down the hill toward completion.
For example, Adam has a college class assignment due in 2 weeks. He’s been avoiding it. Finally, he takes the first step.
- Day 1: He creates a file and simply types a working title, his name and the date. He congratulates himself for getting started.
- Day 2: He writes a few simple ideas – just notes to get working. The momentum stimulates his interests and he searches for information on the Web.
- Day 3: He begins a rough draft.
- Day 4: He researches a few more ideas.
- Day 5: He writes a rough draft for much of the assignment.
- Day 6: He finishes the project.
2. Be Prepared – Create an If-Then Plan. Think ahead to form plans you’ll perform when the going gets tough (Legrand, Bieleke, Gollwitzer & Mignon, 2017). An if-then plan can stimulate the resolve to overcome “I can’t” and “I don’t want to.”
These automatic contingencies can help many situations. For example:
- “If I feel bored when I’m doing this task, then I’ll take a breath, focus my attention, and keep working.”
- “If I want to check my email during the hour, then I’ll turn my phone off, and continue doing my homework.”
- “If I feel like I need to eat a sugary snack, then I’ll walk for 10 minutes instead.”
3. Remember You Don’t Have to Like It to Do It. To achieve a goal, our current level of motivation does not have to be high to get it done – “We can do something even if we don’t feel like it” (Pychyl, 2010). Just beginning the task can positively shift our motivation and attitude.
4. Engage a Growth Mindset – the belief that we can improve and our abilities can blossom with effort and hard work. Adopting a growth mindset can pull us toward optimistic ways to face challenges, get started, and persevere toward goals (Dweck, 2006).
- Talk to yourself with a growth mindset voice. “Lots of successful people have a tough time getting started or struggle along the way. I can take that first step and deal with whatever the challenges.”
- Remember you have a choice. How do you interpret failures to begin and challenges along the way? How can you improve your self-talk?
- Realize you can increase your effort. Learn new strategies. Stretch yourself. Do it. (Kabat-Zinn, 2012).
Resources and References:
- Berns-Zare, I. (2018-2019). Flourish and Thrive: Navigating Transitions with Mindfulness and Resilience.
- Berns-Zare I. (2018). Just Start: You Don’t Have to Like It to Do It — Six steps to stop procrastinating.
- Brown University (2018). Overcome Procrastination. Retrieved: https://www.brown.edu/campus-life/support/counseling-and-psychological-services/index.php?q=overcoming-procrastination
- Dweck, C. S. (2006-2010). Mindset. Retrieved: https://mindsetonline.com/changeyourmindset/firststeps/index.html
- Dweck, C.S. (2006), Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Random House.
- Legrand, E., Bieleke, M., Gollwitzer, P. M., & Mignon, A. (2017, April 10). Nothing Will Stop Me? Flexibly Tenacious Goal Striving With Implementation Intentions.Retrieved: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315912581_Nothing_Will_Stop_Me_Flexibly_Tenacious_Goal_Striving_With_Implementation_Intentions [accessed Sep 21 2018].
- Pychyl, T.A. (2010). Solving the procrastination puzzle: A concise guide to strategies for change. Penguin Group, New York, NY.
- Sheldon, K. (2004). Optimal human being: An integrated multi-level perspective. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. New York, NY.
Ilene is a Featured Author on PsychologyToday!
Read her blog series Flourish and Thrive: Navigating transitions with mindfulness and resilience.
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Ilene Berns-Zare, PsyD is a life and leadership coach, psychologist, and educator. Ilene has dedicated much of her career to the personal and professional development and integrative well-being of others. She inspires others to find fresh perspectives and access their full potential as creative, resourceful, whole persons. Find Ilene online and access free resources at http://ileneberns-zare.com.
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