The 4 Keys to Building Resilience: Key #2 – Get moving and set some goals

In my introduction to “The 4 Keys to building Resilience”, I mentioned that the keys were as follows:

  • Key #1: Thinking – It’s all about mindset
  • Key #2: Doing – Get moving and set some goals
  • Key #3: Connecting – We can’t do it alone
  • Key #4: Renewing – Look after yourself

So, let’s take a closer look at Key #2 – Get moving and set some goals:

Resilience is not always about how we react when the going gets tough, it’s also about getting proactive, mindfully choosing an appropriate response and anticipating and dealing with setbacks and challenges. This requires us to:

  1. Get out of our comfort zone
  2. Hit the pause button
  3. Set some goals

1. Get out of our comfort zone

 We all live inside an area called a comfort zone. It’s the imaginary space containing all the activities we have done often enough to feel comfortable about. It also contains our ideas about what activities or sports we do, what new things we try, who we should be friends with, and so on.

You can visualize this zone of comfort as a circle, if you like. We like to believe that the wall of the circle keeps us safe, but it doesn’t always work that way. What that wall sometimes keeps us from is getting all the things we want most.

If we are willing to venture outside of it often enough, we overcome our fear and our zone of comfort expands. Not only that, when we expand our comfort zone in one area, it automatically expands in others, as well. However, if we give in to our fears, that zone contracts.

So, what’s the answer? To start, get up, get moving, and conquer your fears by doing what you need to do. Small steps first, and then the bigger ones. Little by little, day by day, you expand your comfort zone. It’s good to be cautious but it’s not good to be too cautious to the extent that you always play it safe and never take any risks. Be guided by your parents, your teachers or mates you know you can trust and take a few calculated risks – remember, one step at a time. Put your toe in the water before you dive in.

Don’t stifle your own growth by never trying new things. No one likes to struggle, but sometimes struggles are good because they help us to grow.

2. Hit the pause button

 We all have hot buttons – things that annoy us or behaviours of others that cause us to react in a way that is not always in our best interests. The interesting thing is that people have different hot buttons. What one person may find pleasant, another may find annoying or even frightening. Before we know how to respond better when our hot buttons are pushed, we need to know what they are.

Right now, make a list of your hot buttons.

Great! – now that you are aware of some of them, you will probably realise that when these have been hit in the past, reacting without stopping to think of the consequences may have caused either you or others a lot of hurt or disappointment.

The good news is that there is a much better way!

When someone or something pushes your hot button, it’s always best to hit the pause button. The key to a constructive response to a setback, challenge, obstacle or provocation is to pause and think before responding or deciding. And what you want to think about is this – “How can I respond in a way that will produce the best outcome not only for me but for others?”. We call this a win-win outcome and it’s always first prize.

We all feel overwhelmed at times. People get overwhelmed by different things for different reasons. A common cause for feeling overwhelmed is having too many things to do and not enough time or enough energy or confidence to get through it all. At times like this, it’s tempting to just keep going but that can be a trap – we can end up feeling more anxious and more bogged down. What we need most is to get some perspective (ie look at things with fresh eyes) and the best way to gain a better perspective is… hit the pause button. Stop, get away from the situation for a while and ask yourself “How else can I approach this list of things to do or this issue or this obstacle?”.

So, the next time you react to a challenge by saying, “I can’t,” stop yourself. Think again and ask yourself, “What if I could?” You will be amazed by some of the insights you get when you pause to think.

3. Get proactive and set some goals

 Proactive people: make things happen by showing initiative;are resourceful; look for creative solutions to problems; look at things from a new perspective; create a new reality

…and the best way to create a new reality is by setting some goals.

Where do you start? The most useful question to ask yourself is “What do I want?”. The important word in this sentence is “I”. It must be something you want, not what other people want for you or from you. Why? Because unless your goal is going to be of benefit to you, you will not have the drive and motivation to get there. Of course it’s great if your goal happens to benefit other people too as that may give you even more of an incentive to succeed. But unless it is going to be of benefit to you, you are a lot less likely to succeed.

Now, you may know exactly what you want and that makes it easy to set and work towards the goal. However, we don’t always know what we want and that’s OK. If this is the case, ask yourself what is there about my life at the moment that I don’t want? Often this is a lot easier to identify. Once you identify the things you don’t want, narrow them down to the two or three most important things. Then ask yourself what it will be like, look like, feel like if the problem was solved. This then becomes the goal!

Writing your goal down gives you something solid to go back to, to refresh and reinforce. So whether you use paper and pencil or some electronic device, write it down.

Then, examine current reality (how things are today) – and write it down. How is it different? Again, be specific and detailed. Finally, take a good look at the “gap” between current reality and your goal. Fill in that gap by listing, in order, the steps you will need to take to move from current reality to your desired end-result. Be prepared to be flexible when you run into obstacles along the way.

So, don’t delay – go ahead and set some goals today. Don’t set too many. Rather work on two or three that are going to make the biggest difference to your life right now.

Stay tuned for the other 2 Keys to building Resilience.

Alex Paizes
Leadership Development Specialist

If you are interested in learning more about Alex and his workshops on Essemy, please visit this link.