Welcome to Joy Lab!: Welcome to the Joy Lab podcast, where we help you uncover and foster your most joyful self. Your hosts, Dr. Henry Emmons and Dr. Aimee Prasek, bring you the ideal mix of soulful and scientifically sound tools to spark your joy, even when it feels dark. When you're ready to experiment with more joy, combine this podcast with the full Joy Lab program over at JoyLab.coach
Henry: Hello, I'm Henry Emmons and welcome to Joy Lab.
Aimee: And I'm Aimee Prasek. Here at Joy Lab, we infuse science with soul to help you build your resilience and uncover your joy. Now, we talked about resolutions in the last episode, and in this one, we wanted to provide a really important strategy to help you achieve your goals this year, to make your resolutions more successful.
This strategy is to build off of your resilience type rather than your obstacles. Build them off of self acceptance and self compassion, really. So, this relates to a lot of the research we talked about last episode, uh, and it's sort of the basis of behavior change since things like skills and self efficacy are essential if we want to change a behavior.
So even if there's something we want to change, something we want different in our lives, we really need to think about our strengths. And our skills that we already have and how we can leverage those to help us achieve our goals. So, using our resilience type can be a really good strategy for that, because it also allows us to see the obstacles that tend to trip us up, because we provide you those as well.
So the first thing to do here is to take the resilience quiz over at NaturalMentalHealth.Com if you haven't yet. I'll pop the link in the show notes. It's free. You can sign up as well for the free mini course, and you'll learn your resilience type, obstacles, and then strategies to support your resilience.
If you can't take the quiz now, no worries. We'll give some summaries as well so you can still follow along. Alright, we're going to highlight our resilience types, those obstacles, and then see how we might set some goals based on our strengths.
Henry: So I really love this idea, Aimee. It's a way of honoring who we are and also taking note of the research we talked about last time. So if we start with our strengths, our positives, I think we are so much more likely to stay open and flexible. We talked about approach versus avoidance last time, and so we're much more likely to move toward a positive goal rather than moving away from a negative one to be successful with that. Any listeners who have taken our resilience quiz may remember that we have six different resilience types. But for the sake of this discussion, we're going to lump them together into three categories. Because when it comes to goal setting and obstacles, there's a lot of crossover here.
So to simplify things, I'm going to just describe briefly how people in these three categories often feel when they get off balance, um, out of, out of sorts. First group is where we, we put together the creative and the enthusiastic types, and they often become anxious or fearful when they're stressed or out of balance.
Second group combines the passionate and determined types who often feel revved up or agitated. And then the third group with the grounded and the mindful folks tend to become a little more flat or sluggish. So, remember, I'm describing here how it feels when we're out of balance. And we're hoping to avoid that by approaching these goal setting strategies wisely and emphasizing strengths.
So, let's start with our creative and enthusiastic folks, and that includes me, and it includes you too,
Aimee: And lots of our friends listening.
Yeah, lots of
Henry: Yes, that's probably true. So, Aimee, do you want to start us off?
Aimee: Yeah, sure. Our creative and enthusiastic folks generally not short on ideas for resolutions or goals. We can think of lots of things we want to reclaim or change, which is, that can be awesome insight and can really create lots of sparks in our world.
It's good stuff. And we usually have a powerful, but sometimes short, fuel supply to help us sort of sprint out of the gate. And as Henry noted, there are some obstacles. Um, us creative and enthusiastic folks can also get caught in those obstacles of worrying, anxiousness, and grasping. And so, you can see how, when we're out of balance, those things can sort of fuel a goal so the goal setting can get caught in that cycle of sort of, um, wanting to add more to our lives, want to feel more special, feel more light, receive more love from outside of ourselves, you know, we need more.
And so this can take the lead. Instead of setting a goal of what we want to evolve or shift. built from our strengths, it can be caught up in the belief that something is missing, something that once was is no longer present, and that's the problem. We need that back. And so in that frame, goals are often situated, in the past.
And the goal itself is usually pretty difficult since reclaiming past pieces of ourselves is pretty impossible. You know, we can make positive changes, but they just won't mirror what it looks like in the past. So the goal doesn't relate to our current status. It's probably hard to achieve. And that means there's not much to support us in actually sticking with them.
So that can be kind of the mix that happens here with resolutions for us creative and enthusiastic folks. And this is aligning back to what we talked about last episode about the good and the bad of sort of these temporal milestones and how we can get some really good motivation from these moments, but we can also kind of reject our old self in a resolute way that can be harmful.
Uh, that we reject our wisdom and experiences. So I'll actually link in the show notes here to a meditation that we have called healing the rejected self. I think it can be really helpful for us creative and enthusiastic folks so that we can set, and approach our goals in a more loving and effective way.
So let's talk about those who fall into the passionate and determined types. We have lots of listeners in that category too, I think.
Henry: Yes. And this is something I'm also quite familiar with those of you who listened to last week's podcast might remember me talking about a younger version of myself when I used to be a lot more driven, more determined, you might say. So either I've changed or back then I was just under so much stress, I was doing my days of medical training especially, that, you know, I just may have morphed into somebody I wasn't.
But anyway, I I do understand the strengths and the pitfalls of this group. So, passionate and determined folks have a lot going for them, including a ton of energy, mental clarity, strongly held beliefs. You know, the ability to really get a lot done. But if you add too much stress into the mix, then it's common to get caught up in a cycle of rumination, where, you know, you just keep turning the same thought over and over in your mind, and it can lead to a kind of paralysis, really.
So then, rather than accomplishing your goal, you just keep circling around it, and you're not able to make any progress at all. And because these folks can be so discerning it's easy to get caught up in a pattern of judging, you know, and seeing what's wrong. And that can lead to setting those avoidant type of goals that we talked about in the last episode, where you, you, you're choosing a goal based on something you don't want, trying to fix something.
And this is exactly what I did when I was younger. I would see something that was wrong with me, so I'd devise a plan, sometimes an elaborate plan, to fix it.
I actually, I remember a time when I was really over the top. And this is embarrassing, but I'm just going to share it anyway.
Henry: Yeah, I know. So, this was at the start of my last year of medical school.
And I think I've alluded to this before, that my heart just wasn't fully into medical training. And consequently, I had I had a pretty lackluster first three years of school. And I was feeling badly about that. I just knew I could do so much better. So I made this decision. I was determined to go all in and to make this last year a great one, to finally reach my full potential as a medical
Henry: I sat down, probably just before the year began, and I created this incredibly detailed, very rigid daily schedule, and I do mean rigid. I had mapped out Every 15 to 30 minute chunks of time and seven days a week, mostly devoted to studying. Now, I would schedule in little breaks, but those little breaks were slotted to do something else that was good for me, you know, that would
improve my chance of success somehow.
No, that's right. No fun. No time to be spontaneous. No time to just sit back and relax. And I remember even then looking at this and saying to myself, this is a little compulsive. But I was determined to stick with it. Well, guess what? It didn't last a week. I don't even think it lasted two days. And if you've ever done this, you know that once the energy of perfectionism wears off, it's pretty easy to slip into its opposite and, you know, just kind of let things go.
And then, of course, you feel badly about that. So, now, I try to limit my perfectionism to arranging the furniture, straightening out the pictures, you know, symmetry. I still love symmetry. Um, but I've learned some lessons about goal setting. So, here's a new goal as an example. My goal is pretty simple, to become a better gift giver. So first off, notice the scope of the goal. Instead of reaching my full potential, I chose a much more, more modest, more doable goal.
Aimee: Hey, this is a path to enlightenment right here, Henry!
Henry: Ha ha, I think I can get better at giving gifts without, you know, getting all wrapped up into it, so to speak. So you will also notice that this is a positive goal.
So instead of trying to fix something that I think is wrong, I'm just aiming for a simple good thing that I've wanted to do for a while now. I'm actually inspired by a friend of mine who just gives the best gifts and does it so generously. And it makes me feel good to be on the receiving end. So I would just like to make someone feel special like that.
Now I also have little micro goals built in. I plan to start with just a few people. Basically, it's my immediate family and trying to give them better gifts for birthdays and holidays. That's it for now. Maybe, hopefully, I'll expand later. Now, I actually have a couple of models to follow. The friend I mentioned and another person who doesn't give me gifts necessarily, but I get to hear about them and appreciate them.
And then just recently, after I made this goal, I'm not kidding, I came across this cool resource that's called Better Gift Coach. So now I get a weekly email with an inspiring idea based on a real life gift giving story. And then there's some guidance about how you could take that idea and run with it yourself.
Aimee: I love this for you and for me!
This is a great resolution. Ha I didn't, we didn't talk about this necessarily in last episode, but there's a piece of this, um, that you just noted. So in the fresh start effect research, that we talked about last episode, there is a piece, sort of the smart framework goal setting that arose in the, in their analysis that looked at, you know, those really rigid goals if you have like you did that you had a daily schedule scheduled to the minute that presents so many opportunities for failure. Which I thought was kind of like, Oh, yeah, I mean, if you...
Henry: Good point!
Aimee: Right? You have so you have a goal you wanted to pack a whole medical career into one year, we won't talk about if that was achievable or realistic, whatever,
but the fact then that you had so many little pieces to it, and that they were, they filled your day that it was, you know, you missed one failure, and then maybe you got the other one, but then the next one is, you know, so you just have so many opportunities for
failure. I thought that was kind of interesting.
Henry: maybe that's why I didn't last a day.
Aimee: So actually, this,
Henry: Seemed like a good idea at
Aimee: well, You know, it wasn't a terrible idea. And now you're setting great goals. So thanks little Henry. You helped older, wiser Henry make some great resolutions that we will all
Henry: That's right.
Aimee: And that actually kind of relates to this next group. So our grounded and mindful folks can have a really different experience, I think, when it comes to resolutions. But actually just to note being that many of us are coming into the depths of our winter align with the obstacles that this resilience type often faces. Which are sluggishness and reactivity.
So if you're nodding your head right now, the strategies for this group might be perfect for you as well at this point in your season, even if your resilience type is different. So, you grounded and mindful folks are what keep, I think, our planet from exploding into a fiery ball of unfinished tasks that Henry said, that we all set, or whooshing deadlines, as Douglas Adams would note. um, you folks are thoughtful. You have a knack for listening and noticing. You can get in the flow and see a project or commitment to the end. And of course, as we all do, there are some common obstacles that I noted before, you know, that can sort of amplify when we get knocked down.
It can stand in the way of goal setting. And one of these to get a little bit more specific, is that you might sort of feel incomplete, but you can't quite discern the cause or factor. So you tend to get kind of lost in the fads. You might also feel that sluggishness, that lack of motivation, and it can feel overwhelming at times.
And that sluggishness can relate, you know, in your body and mind too. So you might feel foggy. Kind of flattened thinking, which can make setting those goals hard, which is why you can kind of fall into those fads. So you might not be as curious or agile as you could be. So just imagine if you're feeling off and your motivation might be lacking, and then you've set some goals, perhaps based on a fad that is unrelated to your interests or skills, then it is pretty impossible to stick with it.
And even if it's not totally important or resonant for you, it does not feel good to not succeed at something that you've set. Which doesn't help the motivation. So then the cycle starts. And I think what we were just talking about a moment ago, um, about lots of little goals, get more specific here, but the research we mentioned last episode really hits home right here for this group.
And there's three strategies I want to note. The first, set lots of very little, very achievable goals. And things that can really kind of boost your motivation, so things that feel good. Um, I think that can be really helpful to stoke motivation and confidence. So these are not scheduling your day out in five minute increments, but setting goals that are really nourishing for you that you can achieve a boost from.
And then really being thoughtful, as I just kind of noted here, is the second strategy, of how you're connecting with those goals. So, do they really resonate for you? Do they really nurture you? Or are they just fads? Or are they things that sort of caught your attention or made you feel bad or guilty enough that you thought you had to make that change? So finding things that really, um, resonate with you, that nourish you. The third strategy then is to seek out support and guidance, but not too much, as we learned in last episode. So get a buddy who will do nothing but motivate you and cheer you on as you work toward your goal. They won't shame you when you screw up, they won't nag you, they won't crush your confidence.
They will encourage you to tap back into that mindful, grounded, wise creature that you are. And then work toward your goals from that space. So if you're feeling a little sluggish, lacking in motivation, those are some strategies that you can take, even if you're not in that mindful and grounded group.
So, Henry do you have any other thoughts for this group to get more out of their resolutions?
Henry: Sure, and maybe this is applicable to all of the groups. First, I think less is more. So if this, if it feels overwhelming, just choose one thing, one simple goal that you are pretty sure you can make happen. And if you'd like, tell one person that you're doing it. And if it can, be really specific with them about how they can help you to accomplish this goal.
Even if it's just having them know about it, that may be all that they need to do. Or maybe having them celebrate with you when you reach one of your micro goals that you built in to the larger goal. So, simplify, share, celebrate, and repeat.
Aimee: Ooh, simplify, share, celebrate, repeat. I feel like that's my new 2024 message.
Henry: That would work for me
Aimee: right? And receive gifts from Henry with love. I can add that to my, I'm just kidding, no pressure. Um, actually just to note, one of my resolutions is to not sit so much. So maybe those YouTube are noticing that I'm standing for this episode. It's very simple, just going to stand more and simplify, share, celebrate, and repeat.
So, to close, I want to share some wisdom from Frido Kahlo. It's some wisdom that I like to use when I'm thinking about goals and making changes. And it reminds me to anchor my goals from my unique strengths and from my unique strangeness. Because hopefully we can embrace all those good, quirky, wonderful things about ourselves more.
So here it is:
"I used to think that I was the strangest person in the world, but then I thought there are so many people in the world. There must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do, I would imagine her and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that yes, it's true, I'm here and I am just as strange as you.
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