A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that walking in an upbeat way could improve one’s mood – and that swaying from side to side while walking would cause one to be more depressed and sad. Resisting temptations such as chocolate, fats, and “indulgent” foods elevated one’s self-perception while succumbing to those temptations created an attitude of failure. Talking to a total stranger while travelling rather than isolating yourself within your own thoughts and sitting with good posture rather than in a slumped-over fashion also caused individuals to be more positive in their reaction to life. It seems that many of the “right things” we do have a positive affect on our health and demeanor while the “wrong” or “questionable” things we do lead us to more unhealthy destinations. While these conclusions are the result of observations made during controlled, scientific research, think about some of the corollaries we could take from a “living the dream” rather than an “enduring the nightmare” attitude.
I knew a very capable individual who tended to think more about what might go wrong than what could go right. He focused on the possible – making sure that he would be able to respond to any contingency imaginable – often missing the opportunity to “strike while the iron was hot” due to his deliberate nature and his over-thinking each situation. I knew another individual that considered a situation, thought about several of the more obvious ramifications of his actions, then decided to act rather than continuing to “posture” himself to avoid all risk or minimize the chances of failure. He often acted (intentionally) knowing what would likely happen, what could possibly happen and what had a small (but realistic) chance of happening – but his actions often put him ahead of his competition and in front of “the crowd,” able to hold his head high in discovery rather than hanging it low in compliance.
Many people begin each year with resolutions to change – an expressed thought of altered behavior and significantly different results. Most resolutions tend to be short-term in nature – like going to the gym (for 1 – 2 months), exercising at home (for a week), driving safely (until you are late for a meeting) or spending more time with friends and family (unless there is a major project at work). Resolutions tend to be immediately achievable transitions rather than long-term transformations. If “walking with confidence” and “eliminating a back and forth sway” help people become happier, think what the accomplishment of an expressed goal (even if for only a short time) might do to their demeanor!
Rather than “resolving to change” this year, why not commit to transform? Do not accept only what is attainable – rather reach beyond the probable to experience the possible. Set your targets boldly where people have previously feared to wander – not as a means to ensure defeat but rather as a way to break through to destinations not yet discovered. When you accept the things that others have already accomplished as your benchmarks, critics (and cynics) will always point out what did not work in the past while predicting your demise. When you seek new frontiers – look forward with anticipation rather than backwards in fear or dread – others are less apt (or able) to criticize because they have no basis (or experience) to support their predictions of failure.
Sincerely believing that you will succeed – when supported with appropriate training and resources – will contribute greatly to success. Anticipating failure almost always becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Setting the bar high keeps your head up and your attitude will follow. Failing to set a goal will allow your head to drop as you drift aimlessly without a plan or a target.
Act happy if you seek joy in life. Establishing your destination before you determine your route will help you accomplish things nobody has yet done. Predicting success (rather than assuming failure) will help you to succeed. The experts tell us to “walk happy to avoid depression?” I would say that is a great start…but only a start…to becoming a more successful “you.”