In this post you’ll learn how to change your life for the better in 90 days. We’ll show you how to use an effective 3 stage change technique, you’ll get to watch Tom Mendoza’s video all about positively changing your life and we’ll leave you with some fab inspirational quotes about making change to leave you warm, fuzzy and ready for action. Join us to learn all about how to change your life completely.
Setting Goals Template in 4 Steps
Psychologist, Viktor Frankl, observed that,
“Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives.”
When you are committed to making a change in life, strategic goal setting is crucial to success. Setting goals in life is always the first step to serious change. Time spent on goal setting will, as Frankl described, help pull you towards your goal. Once you appreciate how crucial effective goal setting is for success you will want to utilise the power of goal setting every time you decide to make a change. So if you’re setting goals at work or setting goals for 2018 full stop, we’ve got the perfect goal setting template for you.
A more assertive you
So, you’ve committed to make that change. The change may be small, like making time for a hobby, or more profound such as following your lifelong dream. Chances are you will need to look, feel and be assertive to reach your goal.
Being assertive means taking responsibility for appropriately expressing what you want – your needs, views, ideas and feelings. Assertiveness also means acknowledging that other people have needs, views, ideas & feelings that need to be heard. Being assertive can sometimes feel less than easy, so here are Positive Change Guru’s five top tips for creating a more assertive you:
1. Be assertive – build your self-belief
Self-belief is the foundation of assertiveness. Develop a strong sense of self-belief by monitoring your inner dialogue or self-talk and noticing when statements are negative or confidence sapping. Challenge negative statements by replacing them with a positive, self-belief affirming sentence. For example, if you find your self-talk stating,
“Why bother trying? The last time I tried it was a complete failure.”
respond by telling yourself,
“Everybody has to practice to get better at things. The more often I practice, the better I will become.”
2. Be assertive – be body language savvy
More than 80% of all our communication is non-verbal. That means that when you are seeking to assert yourself and influence others you need to be aware of how positive body language can help you to achieve your goal. When we look confident it is easy for others to believe that we have something to be confident about. An easy way to start practising positive body language straight away is by focusing on the following:
1. A smile is an instant way to create a positive impression and develop rapport.
2. Your body should be relaxed and open . Not only does relaxed body language help you to remain calm, it also puts others at their ease.
3. Maintain an even tone of voice. To be assertive, make sure that your tone of voice is even. An even tone conveys that your emotions are in check and you have the situation under control. A tone that is too high may convey excitement or anxiety. A flat, monotonous tone runs the risk of conveying boredom or resignation.
4. Maintaining good eye contact is essential to effective communication, don’t allow your focus to wander to the ground or around the room when you feel under pressure. Maintain direct eye contact for approximately 60% of the interaction for maximum effect.
3. Be assertive – Get Modelling
Modelling is all about observing someone that you admire for their assertiveness skills and asking “What assertive behaviour are they utilising that I can emulate?” The more similar to that person you believe yourself to be, the more effective the results of this technique. So the next time you find yourself admiring someone’s assertiveness, note exactly what they are doing to create such an assertive impression.
Are they cool and unruffled under pressure? Do casually take their time, managing aggressive challenges effortlessly? Is everyone wowed by their authoritative body language? Although this technique is about observing behaviour, you can also ask the person for their top tips on being more assertive. Once you have discovered exactly what they are doing, saying or projecting to be so assertive, model that behaviour for yourself.
4. Be assertive – Listen
Listening is a key component of your assertiveness toolkit. Effective listening allows you to hear what the other person is thinking, needing and feeling. This information is invaluable and helps you to negotiate and influence effectively. Listening also provides you with an opportunity to pause, practise calm and think about which assertive techniques you want to use.
5. Be assertive – Stay calm
Finding a technique that supports you to remain calm in the moment whilst under pressure is vital. The technique that works for you will be as individual as your personality. There is no ‘one size fits all’ technique here but popular techniques for managing anxiety in the moment are thinking of someone or something that has a calming effect on you, practising holding thumb and forefinger together whilst in a state of calm and then using the thumb and forefinger technique whilst under pressure to evoke that feeling of calm.
Breathing is another popular technique. Your breathing is connected to and influences everything: how you hold yourself, tone of voice, level of anxiety. Make sure that your breathing fosters calm. Five in and out breaths per minute will maximise your ability to stay calm and collected and assert yourself to the max.
Want to know more? Amy Cuddy gives a fantastic Ted Talk on how what we do with our bodies affects not just what we communicate to others but how we also manage stress .
Want to find out more? Check out our Essential Assertiveness course on 8th December in London on our ‘Events’ page. We’d love to see you there!
Knowing about Growth mindset dramatically impacts upon your performance. Achieving your goals with a growth mindset is a lifelong habit worth investing your time in. But what is it? Carol Dweck, renowned psychology professor at Stanford University, experienced a classroom situation as a child that was so profound, it influenced the direction of her career. Dweck’s teacher routinely seated children in her class according to IQ scores. Those with the lowest IQs were not trusted to carry the flag in assembly or even wash the blackboard. Dweck remembers,
“She let it be known that IQ for her was the ultimate measure of your intelligence and your character…”
This experience sparked Dweck’s life time fascination with intelligence. Dweck’s fascinating and practical book, ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success’, examines the theory that we all possess either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. Which mindset you possess can have a profound affect on motivation to learn.
What is growth mindset?
Whereas a fixed mindset is a belief that our abilities and talents are fixed at a set point and cannot be changed, a growth mindset is the belief that abilities can be developed and that we are capable of improving all areas of our lives by developing our strengths. The good news is that you can develop a growth mindset approach.
Neurologist, Dr. Harry Chugani, uses the following analogy about learning and synaptic connections in the brain,
“Roads with the most traffic get widened. The ones that are rarely used fall into disrepair.”
Dweck conducted research over two years with New York City junior high school maths students. Dweck noticed a downward trend for students with a fixed mindset and an increase in results for those with a growth mindset.
An eight week intervention was then implemented for some students who were taught how they could learn to improve results by understanding that the more they used their brain the greater it’s capacity to learn would be. A control group was taught study skills but not Dweck’s theory about strengthening the brain. The students who learned about Dweck’s theory showed a significant inprovement in grades & study habits after only two months.
The power of belief
Dweck attributed the improvement to a difference in motivation and the power of belief, the children who had learned growth mindset theory understood that they could have an impact on their mind. The students were energised by the thought that their efforts could make a difference to their abilities.
Researchers later asked teachers to pick students who had shown positive change. Although the teachers were unaware that there had been two groups, all the children they picked were from the growth mindset group. Mindset is now used worldwide in education, business, sports psychology and by individuals everywhere who want to improve their abilities and achieve their goals.
4 steps to grow your mindset
The belief we hold about our own abilities and how this affects motivation is key to understanding how we can change. Dweck recommends 4 steps to increase self-belief and motivation and develop a growth mindset:
Step 1: Learn to hear your fixed mindset inner dialogue voice. “Maybe you don’t have the talent?”, “You’ll fail.”
Step 2: Recognise that you have a choice. Your response to challenges, setbacks & criticism is your choice.
Step 3: Talk back to it with a growth mindset voice. ”Most successful people had failures on their way,” “if I don’t try I automatically fail.”
Step 4: Choose to act with a growth mindset approach:
1) take on the challenge wholeheartedly
2) learn from your setbacks and try again
3) hear the criticism and choose a growth mindset response, your mindset is up to you.
Do you have a fixed or growth mindset? Take the test!
Want to know if your mindset is holding you back? Get started by testing your mindset on Carol Dweck’s Mindset page here!
Find out more and watch Carol Dweck speaking about mindsets in Melbourne,2013.
1.Professor Ellen Langer: Mindfulness over Matter
Always entertaining, Professor Ellen Langer has studied mindfulness for over four decades, her expertise shines in this video.
2. Jon Kabat Zin: How can mindfulness change your life
Want to know just how life changing this stuff can be? Jon Kabat Zin talks you through the positive changes you are likely to experience with regular practice.
3. Mirabelle Bush: Working with Mindfulness
How can you put the theory into practice? Mirabelle Bush, one of the expert advisors behind Google’s ‘Search Inside Yourself’ program talks about working with mindfulness.
4. Neuroscientists Richard Davidson and Amishi Jha join clinical mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn: Becoming Conscious: The Science of Mindfulness
Three world class experts in their chosen fields talk us through the science behind mindfulness.
5. Oxford University’s Mark Williams talks about mindfulness
Mindfulness pioneer and author of the fantastically practical “Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World’ gives his perspective on mindfulness.
6. Ruby Wax, Sane New World
Comedian, author and Oxford University mindfulness graduate, Ruby Wax takes us on a humorous and authentic tour of her experience and practice.
7. Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes
Only got a few minutes to spare? Then Andy Puddicombe’s Ted Talk on 10 mindful minutes is made for you.
8. Eckhart Tolle leads a mindfulness meditation
Need some practical tips for mindful meditation? Eckhart Tolle talks you through the basics.
9. Kristin Neff, Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
Do you ever catch yourself thinking you could be more compassionate towards yourself? Kristin Neff’s talk gives an excellent introduction and will inspire you to find out more.
10. Emiliana Simon –Thomas: Compassion in the Brain
Ever wondered what takes place in the brain when you feel compassion (or don’t!)? Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas looks at compassion in the brain.
Focus on the positive
Laura Carstensen from Stanford’s Center on Longevity is an authority on the wellbeing of older people. Carstensen found that older people are likely to experience more contentment and happiness than the young. A distinct difference was noted in the way that older people perceive time, Carstensen found that they encounter “shrinking time zones”. The less time a person perceives they have left, the more they focus on positive experiences in the present moment.
Can helping others make us happier?
Carstensen’s research also found a link between increased happiness and helping others, contributing a sense of purpose and meaning to the lives of older people. The happiest subjects of Carstensen’s research were also found to have the greatest levels of gratitude.
Research by Neuroscientist, Michael Kisley and neuropsychologist, Stacey Wood at The University of Colorado uncovered similar results. They examined the brain activity of adults who were shown a variety of images, positive (beautiful sunsets), neutral (an item of furniture) and negative (a traffic accident) . Younger adults paid significantly more attention to emotionally negative images. Older subjects were 30% less reactive than their younger counterparts.
Wood explains that older participants in the experiment were more able to control their emotions, maintaining a sense of emotional equilibrium and objectivity when confronted by negative information.
Positive psychologists have demonstrated that controlling our emotions, feeling gratitude and taking time to help others all have a significant relationship with happiness. What happiness lessons can be learned from older people?
Harnessing the power of gratitude for positive change
Research has shown that we can actively increase positive emotions by keeping a diary of events for which we feel grateful. You may want to establish your current gratitude level before beginning your ‘gratitude diary’. You can complete a scientifically validated gratitude questionnaire and develop insight into your own gratitude levels on Penn University’s ‘Authentic Happiness’ website. Completing the questionnaire after a few weeks of keeping a gratitude diary will also provide evidence of change to your overall level of gratitude.
Acts of kindness increase happiness
Carstensen’s research also demonstrated a link between helping others and happiness. Studies of the effects of kindness, such as that by Japanese researcher, Keiko Otake, suggest that people who perform acts of kindness can reap psychological benefits. The Random Acts of Kindness website offers a variety of suggestions to help you get started in performing random acts of kindness.
Measure your happiness levels
Again, before beginning the acts of kindness intervention you may find it useful to complete a questionnaire which measures your current level of happiness, such as the Fordyce Emotions Questionnaire . Repeating the questionnaire a few weeks after using this exercise will indicate any evidence of change to your current level of happiness.
Want to learn more?
Laura Carstenson talks about why older people are happier.
“When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age. ”
~ Victor Hugo~
4 Great Tips to Boost Self belief
How much self belief you have affects everything you do and influences the success of every goal you work towards. Here are four scientifically proven tips that will bring your ambitions to life by increasing self belief.
Psychologist, Albert Bandura, spent a lifetime researching self-efficacy (belief in your capabilities). Bandura’s research shows that we can build self belief by using these simple techniques.
Successfully mastering new skills and accomplishing your goals will increase your belief in your own capabilities (what Bandura calls self-efficacy). This means it is important to spend time acknowledging your successes. Your self-belief will be strengthened by every experience you master.
Set goals to provide mastery opportunities
All goals should be SMART:
2. Modelling develops self-belief
Modelling (Bandura calls this vicarious experience) is another great technique for developing self-belief. Look for people who are successfully doing what you want to achieve. Look for the similarities between them and you and model your behaviour on theirs. Believe that if they have achieved this goal then you can too!
Practising this modelling techniques is essential for increasing your self belief. The more often you practise modelling the quicker you will develop stronger self belief.
3. Constructive Feedback develops self belief
Seek out constructive feedback from others. A wealth of research suggests that encouragement from others develops self belief. Feedback we give ourselves is just as important.
What would be the result of telling yourself ‘I just can’t get the hang of doing well at interviews’? This type of inner dialogue or self-talk will keep you stuck in a rut.
Confident self-talk is crucial. Remember, we move towards what we focus our on. Tell yourself ‘this is easy for me’ and you will act accordingly, taking setbacks in your stride.
Techniques to develop positive self-talk:
Don’t make negative statements about your goal either to yourself or others. If you catch yourself making a negative statement, immediately correct it with a positive comment.
Make positive statements to yourself about your abilities and skills.
Replace negative thoughts with positive alternatives. Recall the vivid picture created by your visualisation of success.
Practice until positive self-talk is a habit. Positive self-talk is essential for increasing your self belief.
4. Managing emotions develops self belief.
The ability to effectively manage anxiety, stress levels and emotions is key to building self belief.
Visualisation overcomes unhelpful emotions and develops self belief.
Visualising success is a scientifically proven technique which is often used in the field of sports psychology. The principles can be used to overcome performance anxiety and develop self belief.
A useful technique is to focus on your success and visualise it happening in real time.
What you vividly visualise influences and shapes the future. Unfortunately, this includes visualising previous negative experiences. Visualising negative past events encourages negative thoughts about similar scenarios in the future.
Keep your thoughts positive!
Visualise your success.
Effective visualisation should use the following methods:
Imagine your successful scenario as a movie.
Visualise the brightest possible colours.
Choose a soundtrack to accompany your success and play it whilst visualising yourself achieving success.
If it feels good to have a loud soundtrack, increase the volume!
Take time to experience how success feels in your visualisation. Practise your visualisation regularly. Practice focuses all your senses on your future success and gives you a physiological framework to work towards.
Want to know more?
Dr Ivan Joseph gives tips on building self-confidence.
Why the top 10 neuroscience videos for personal change? Perhaps you’re considering making some personal changes or maybe you’re facing organisational change? If you’re wondering about how the neuroscience of change can help you we’ve got you covered with these videos from leading experts in the field.
Examining the brain and change is a great way to boost your change efforts with the neuroscience of how to reset your brain. If you have some big, audacious goals or are trying to change your behaviour, these videos will give you an inside view into the neuroscience of habits. Join us to take a look at some of the leading researchers in neuroscience, the brain and change.
If you’ve been asking yourself recently “What is positive psychology?” or you’ve been trawling the internet seeking out You Tube or Ted Talks on positive psychology we’ve got you covered. In these fab videos from the world’s leading experts on positive psychology you’ll learn;
- a positive psychology definition
- Martin Seligman talking about flourishing
- The amazing Professor Carol Dweck talking all about Growth Mindset
- Barbara Fredrickson on the positivity ratio
- Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky discussing the science of happiness
- Rick Hanson talking about how to hardwire happiness
- Daniel Siegal on Mindsight and personal transformation
- Ed Diener cooking up a recipe for happiness
- Dan Gilbert on the surprising science of happiness
- Tal Ben Sahara leading you through his happiness 101
- And last but by no means least, one of our favourites, Matthieu Ricard on how to develop the habits of happiness
So whether you’re looking to for a positive psychology definition, or you’re interested in the history of positive psychology or maybe you want to develop positive self talk, learn authentic happiness, dabble in learned optimism or you want to develop an attitude of gratitude we’ve taken the best of positive psychology from you tube, Ted Talks, Harvard and more to get you started. Welcome to 10 Positive Psychology Videos to Inspire Change.
What is post-traumatic growth?
The effects of trauma can be hard to handle and at times, overwhelming. A comforting thought is that, whilst we are experiencing the negative effects of trauma, something more positive may also be taking place.
Trauma can lead us to question deeply held beliefs. We search for effective ways to heal and support. Psychology has begun to examine the potential for positive growth following trauma. Growth resulting from trauma is known as post-traumatic growth and in this post we’ll examine some of the leading post traumatic growth researchers, you’ll have the opportunity to watch videos on what post traumatic growth is and examine the benefits of learning from trauma.