Four Habits To Keep You Positive And Strong, Every Day

Four Habits To Keep You Positive And Strong, Every Day

Four Habits To Keep You Positive And Strong, Every DayI get lots of feedback. From all walks of my life. Most of it ‘constructive’ – where I must improve, miss the point, could do better, need to stop or start doing something. Most of it fair. Still- it can wear you down. I cope with it, positively, through these four powerful habits. Do you do this too?

They say ‘feedback is the food of champions.’ Ok- I get that and agree. I know I have to embrace feedback, to learn and grow from it. I am getting better at it.  Often, though,  people forget to give you positive reinforcement. They think you don’t need it. “Hey- you’re a strong person- you can manage. Man up!” I don’t know about you- perhaps you don’t need it- the positives. But I sure as hell do.

So this is a story about me. But I hope it helps you, if you are like me. You see- I need pretty regular hugging to keep me strong. And if those hugs are not forthcoming, then we have to learn to give them to ourselves. This is how I do it. It sustains me, makes me stronger, keeps me green and growing. First and foremost, we have to do this one thing really, really well:

We have to become our own best coaches.

Here are the four habits I use to keep myself strong- to ‘coach’ myself – every day:

  1. Be kind to yourself: Make sure the voices in our heads are kind. Take the feedback, learn from it, and give yourselves constant coaching on how you are doing, how to improve. But as Plato said: “Be kind, because everyone is fighting a tough battle.” And that includes you. And me. I give myself feedback with humour and kindness. I laugh at myself, shake my head at my foibles and weaknesses, forgive myself, and beam at my strengths and triumphs.
  2. Be optimistic: Dr Martin Seligman, founder of Positive Psychology, calls it Learned Optimism. We need to train ourselves to react to what happens to us with an optimistic view – to become outstanding ‘disputers of negative thoughts.’  When that voice says: “Hey Chris- you will fail. You are not good enough. You can’t make it.” That’s when we need to immediately dispute that voice: “Rubbish- of course I can! I am able. I can do it. I will give it a go. It will be fun. Let’s go!”
  3. Give Yourself Opportunities For Positive Feedback: I do this though the training I lead. I can see the generally positive impact on attendees. This boosts me.  I also get reinforcement from this blog- why do I keep it up, week after week?  I know it helps some- and that makes me feel good. Also, despite regular feedback slaps, I do get a lot of positive feedback from it, in writing and in person. This makes me feel worthy and wanted. It boosts me. Ok- I know that is ego driven- but I need it for my confidence. So I make sure I get it.
  4. Be Grateful: For me this is real. I have been training myself to regularly acknowledge the good in my life, and to feel gratitude for it. I was in Singapore last week, working hard, tired, missing home and worried about stuff. I paused, and reflected on how lucky I am, to have the experiences I am having, the colleagues I have, the challenges in front of me. How inspiring is all that! Plus I was grateful for the confidence of exciting options I have if I wanted to do something else. This time won’t last forever. It’s not all beer and skittles, but it is a blessing and keeps me ‘vital and energised’.

No matter what mood I am in, what I have constantly with me is my best ‘coach’ of all –  me. The positive voice and actions  help keep me strong, resilient,  forward looking, enthusiastic, safe, nurtured, happy and real. Not all the time- but enough.

We need also to ensure we are catching those around us doing things right- sharing positive feedback with others, rather than being obsessed with the wrongs, and improvements needed. After all- “We are all fighting a tough battle.”

What do YOU do to stay positive? Tell me please- I am keen to learn new habits.

(Oh- and I just love the poster I saw at the desk of someone in our Singapore office last week. It’s the photo with this post. Now that’s what I call positive self-coaching! Go hard!!!!! ).

Four Habits To Keep You Positive And Strong, Every Day

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23 Responses to Four Habits To Keep You Positive And Strong, Every Day

  1. Marcie April 2, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    GREAT blog Chris!
    I also love the poster!

    • Chris Savage April 2, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

      Thanks Marcie!

  2. Sally Mlikota April 2, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    I love it, simple and effective and practical advice. There are far too many negative, miserable, ungrateful people out there, really…. you only have yourselves to blame.

    • Chris Savage April 2, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

      Thanks Sally!

  3. Jane Young April 2, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    This is a great list Chris! What I do to stay positive is to try every day to “Have Fun”. Laughter really is the greatest medicine. I try to encourage an atmosphere at work where we laugh as much as we can to help us stay positive, especially in times of increased pressure. Oh and a very wise GAD of mine many moons ago, printed out a picture of a glass of milk and stuck it to my laptop, I’ve changed laptops a few times since then but I’ve kept the glass of milk in that exact same position….it’s half full of course! 🙂

    • Chris Savage April 2, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

      Thanks Jane!

  4. Linda Richards April 2, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

    A great post, thanks Chris. We all need to be a little bit more like the guy in the poster. Love it!

    • Chris Savage April 2, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

      Thanks Linda!

  5. Cobber April 2, 2014 at 12:58 pm #


    You have touched a raw nerve today. My family and that of my partner Mandy, the website link is to her personal site, have Autism in the family.

    Mandy’s pioneering work in WA in the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis or ABA is centred on that very principle, positive reinforcement.

    You are so right in what you say, if used correctly positive reinforcement is designed to increase the occurrence of the behaviour you want.

    It’s such a simple concept and makes such sense but it’s not understood properly or used anywhere near as frequently as it should.

    Who would have thought…if someone does something that I want them to do more of I should simply recognise and reinforce that…..which means they are more likely to repeat that behaviour in the future.

    Thanks again for another ‘cut through’ piece, you nailed it!

    There, positive reinforcement for you, wasn’t hard at all.



    • Chris Savage April 2, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

      Thanks Cobber- thanks for the powerful story and endorsement. Chris

  6. Clare Robinson April 2, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    Great post as always Chris. These 4 pillars are crucial and I practice them regularly.
    In positive psychology they explain that via natural selection it has been a case of survival of the fittest. Our brains have been trained to find the negative or ‘fear’ much more readily than the positive, I’ve heard this is a 9 (negative) to 1 (positive) ratio. I believe ‘training’ yourself to be grateful and, getting comfortable with accepting positive feedback, is crucial to firing up new synapses (neural pathways in the brain), to more readily come from a place of optimism/happiness v’s pessimism/ fear. In fact at the end of every day I write down 3 things that I am grateful for. I did this for 21 days and it’s now a habit. Am I seeing improvement? Absolutely, sure the old doubts and fears creep in but I’m much more resilient to shrugging them off and moving forward.
    I also choose to see feedback as a gift – I take this as a sign that the person cares enough to support or provide their point of view to you for growth.

    My other trick, when I find myself working in a challenging environment, is to have visual reminders around me. In front of me right now are 3 postcards pinned on my pin-board that read as follows;
    ‘When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change’, Wayne Dyer
    ‘Everyday is a gift that’s why they call it the present’
    ‘It’s kind of fun to do the impossible’, Walt Disney

    With all this said, some days you just feel over-whelmed, fearful or, just not good enough. If this happens I just take myself off to a quiet place and ask myself what’s going on, revert to your first pillar and just accept that I feel shitty right now and that’s OK to. Tomorrow is another day.

    Thanks again Chris it’s crucial that more people from the top talk openly about these kinds of tools and techniques to support and as you say, be kind to ourselves.

    • Chris Savage April 2, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

      Thanks C. That is awesome feedback and insight. Thanks! Chris

  7. Georgia April 2, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    Chris – put simply, thank you. This couldn’t be more timely. Be grateful is my favourite and something I work on everyday. Now to start throwing the other three into my daily routine.
    Thank you!

    • Chris Savage April 2, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

      Thanks Georgia!

  8. Arif Cemil Ozcanlar April 2, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    Here is my list, when I’m punched down with a harsh feedback from a person I respect:

    – Stop fighting with it, relax and accept
    – Identify issues and focus on positive
    – Be grateful
    – Smile (or better laugh)

    and finally I have to kill him/her. I don’t like the idea of people can know I do mistakes 🙂

    Thanks Chris, great post as usual!

    • Chris Savage April 2, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

      Thanks! Appreciate the input. Chris

  9. Chris Pillay April 2, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    Hello Chris,
    I start my day with some spiritual inspiration. A few minutes thanking God for the PAST, asking HIS guidance in the PRESENT to set the pace for the FUTURE. I then re-affirm to myself that I have a choice to Be, to See, to Hear, to Think, and to Talk Positive.

    I also appreciate and look forward to positive feedback, love the hugs and am joyous at the end of the day. My day is not easy but being positive makes it easier.

    Thank you for a great story. I read a sticker on the back of a vehicle the other day:
    “My Past is an Experience, My Future is a Mystery, My Present is a Gift from God” …

    Kind Regards

    • Chris Savage April 3, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

      Thanks Chris. Appreciate the feedback. Chris

  10. David April 5, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    Hey Chris,

    Great post as usual, a simple yet powerful set of tools that we should all use and teach.

    I am going to send this on to a family member who is in need of some tools and strategies to get them through some challenging times ahead of them. Keep up the posts you are an inspiration.


    • Chris Savage April 8, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

      Thanks David

  11. Eda April 14, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

    Thank you for this awesome post. Day 32 on the job market. I’m a Type A personality so I’ve had about 150 rejections already and maybe even more considering I’ve made numerous counter offers. I am grateful. I really am.

    • Chris Savage April 15, 2014 at 9:13 am #

      Thanks Eda!

  12. Raphael April 15, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    Great read Chris, I think it is important to find the positive in the negative and help that drive change.
    Its one of those when life throws you lemons make lemonade type of situations.
    Awesome blog.

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