Understanding the power of positivity and resilience

I had the pleasure of delivering my Resilience for Performance workshop at the weekend to an audience of people with considerable experience in self-development. One of the most important things to come out of the day for the participants was the size of the opportunity that increasing your positivity offers.

Many people who are interested and active in self-development have started by looking at techniques to manage their negative thoughts and mindsets. When they see the power of positive emotions to increase their capacity for problem-solving, creativity and relationship building they realise there is a whole other dimension to explore. Add to that the fact that most of the positivity boosting techniques are simple to do, relatively quick and make you feel good while you do them and people are rightly asking “What’s not to like about this?” As a result programme participants leave their first session excited, ready to try new things and with a clear action plan.

Changing habits for the better

But then ………. everyday reality hits them. Despite being keen to get the benefits of positivity in their own lives, people can find it hard to make changes in their daily habits. Just as building physical muscles requires repeating regular exercises, so changing thinking habits requires regular practice – ideally daily.

As a coach and trainer I help my clients by talking them through seven steps you can take that will increase your chances of making a successful change of habit. The steps are based on the work of Prochaska, Norcross and Diclemente in “Changing for Good” (published in 1994 by William Morrow, New York).

What are the seven steps?

The seven steps are:
1. Practise the new positivity techniques regularly to build new neural pathways – 30 sec to 3 mins every day can create new habits.
2. Build them into your day – choose times and techniques that complement, fit in with or even enhance your existing daily life.
3. Create “anchors” or “flags” to remind you – choose specific times and places to do your positivity boosting and create visual or auditory cues in these places to remind you.
4. Ask someone to mentor you and your success – ideally your mentor will know how much you want/value changing to greater positivity and will help you stay focused on the benefits you want to create for yourself.
5. Give yourself positive feedback on success – notice what you are doing right to give yourself encouragement and let go of the times you didn’t do the new behaviours.
6. Ask others to give you positive reinforcement – tell people what you want to change and ask them to help you achieve your goals.
7. Set a date to review progress and build further – setting a time and place in your diary for your progress review will keep you more goal-focused and give you a opportunity to re-commit to your aims.

So if you feel inspired to more positivity in your life, use the seven steps to increase your chances of successful change.

About the author: Dr Rosie Miller is a positive psychology coach and leadership transformation consultant. She runs Resilience for Performance programmes for people who want higher resilience and performance in themselves. You can find her profile at:


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