A powerful, simple thing to do every day to dramatically increase resilience
By: Dr. Laura Gallaher
- Quickly recovering from life’s ups and downs increases your effectiveness and efficiency
- Taking credit allows you to acknowledge your progress and appreciate your growth
- Taking credit is something you can do in a matter of seconds, everyday
read time: 6 minutes
What Do I Mean When I Say Resilience?
Everybody knows the feeling of life’s ups and downs. Some people seem to recover quickly from the “downs” whereas others sit in the dip until it stretches out like a bathtub.
So how do some people recover so quickly? The essence of it is resilience. Psychology Today defines resilience as that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever.
Resilience enables faster learning, greater effectiveness, and increased efficiency, not to mention feeling better and calmer. Who doesn’t want all those things?
So how can you become more resilient? How do you get more of that “ineffable quality?”
There are lots of things you can do, but here is just one real, tangible, powerful thing that you can do regularly to build your resilience.
Taking credit is acknowledging my own progress, especially for things that are difficult for me. This is one of the most powerful ways to build resilience.
We are all so hard on ourselves most of the time. We want to continuously improve and we find it easy to see what we’re doing “wrong. “
But what about what we’re doing “right?” Or, more importantly, what about how we’re making progress? Part of taking credit is letting go of things being “right” or “wrong.” What if you focus instead on the ways you’re improving and making progress?
Can you teach an old dog new tricks? …Or a dog of any age?
Have you ever tried to teach a dog to roll over? If you have, then you know you don’t wait to reward her until she rolls all the way over. You teach her in steps and phases, and you reward her as she does more and more of the behavior that you want from her. In this case, rolling over. And who doesn’t love to watch a dog roll over?
Taking credit is a lot like this. So, okay, humans are a teensy bit more complex than dogs, but a lot of that learning theory still applies here. If you reward yourself for progress along the way, you’re a lot more likely to get where you want to go.
Acknowledging progress is like putting deposits into an account. It’s building up pats on the back, so that when things are tough, and your inner critic is pointing out everything you’re doing wrong, you can lean on all the “credit” you’ve taken to practice self-compassion – forgive yourself – and get back on track.
What Are Some Human Examples?
If I want to run 3 miles, and in my first attempt I run 1 mile, I can focus on how I was 2 miles short of my goal, or I can focus on how I ran 1 mile more today than I did yesterday. I can take credit for my own progress.
Or, if normally I find that it takes me a good day to calm down from an argument with a co-worker, and today, it only took me 2 hours to cool down – I can focus on how I didn’t recover and apologize right away, or I can take credit for the fact that I recovered much faster than I normally do.
Maybe I have a goal to be more focused at work, and get less distracted by social media, and I still get distracted. But I can take credit for the fact that I went a full 2 hours without looking at my phone.
Not to mention – the more I take credit for growing and improving – getting from point A to point B, the more I log examples in my mind where I have grown through difficulty. So, the next time I hit a setback, I have so many salient examples of where I have grown and overcome challenges. Plus, that awesome bank account of “pats on the back” I’m storing will give me the boost to get back on track and be stronger than ever.
You can start to do this every day. Many people practice gratitude daily – you can add this in. Take credit every day.
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