A doctor examining a brain on a laptop
By
Leia Spoor, Holmes Murphy Sr. Clinical Consultant

Goals, plans, resolutions — we’re all bombarded this time of year with a reminder that we need to be looking ahead and working towards a “new” you. “Reflect on the past and press forward to being better in ‘22,” they say.

Is there anyone else out there who feels like me, where it’s hard to look ahead when there is so much unknown? Heck, it’s even hard for me to reflect on the past year — with so many hardships and hurdles that had to be endured. Talk about lacking motivation!

Did you know our brains our wired to actually fight against the unknown? Our brains like the predictable — the patterns, routines, and habits. It does that to protect our bodies from risk.

Jumpstarting Your Mood to Get Results

So how do we start to press forward and not get overwhelmed?

Often, we think we have to feel a certain way to be motivated to start a task, and that’s where we get stuck. There is research showing that working from an outside-in approach is more effective. We can jumpstart our mood by starting with an action and letting our mood follow. Yep, it’s harder…but you get better results. Basically, you need to start acting rather than waiting to feel ready.

I see these challenges impacting our workplaces just the same. Decisions are being paused or reserved for a later time to “put out the current fire.” And then, the vicious cycle continues again.

There is hope, and there are five ways to take steps forward. We can apply these steps not only to our personal lives, but also at our workplaces and organizations we serve.

1) Be Prepared for a Challenge. Because we are working against our brain’s attempts to protect us, it takes effort and some discomfort to get results.

2) Commit to Making Decisions Based on What We Know, Not What We Feel. At Holmes Murphy, we use data to help validate areas of focus in physical and emotional health to ensure attention on impactable opportunities.

3) Move One Step at a Time. Retraining the brain takes time, so take one small step at a time. Trying to move too quickly is a recipe for failure and disappointment, and overwhelms us so that we want to give up.

4) Anticipate Setbacks. Get “back on the horse.” When failures inevitably happen, be prepared to respond actively. Reflect on what works and what doesn’t work, and then get back out there and move toward what you really value.

5) Have an Accountability Partner. Find someone you trust to help you break down your goals into actionable and attainable steps. Holmes Murphy has been a trusted partner for 90 years, and we’re willing and able to be yours for years to come. Just reach out to us.

I challenge you to just get out there! Take action, even if you don’t feel like it at the time. When we do this, we change our brain little by little and give ourselves the best chance of improvement to Live.Fully.