Recently, I spent a Saturday with graduates of my Life Coach Training, giving them tools from Positive Psychology they can use to help their clients make positive changes.

Here’s what one student wrote about the day:

“I would like to say thank you for a Positively beautiful Saturday, spent in your encouraging, loving presence – I relish my classroom time with you, and the day was simply wonderful from beginning to end…”

Wow! What a rich and rewarding time we had together. Nothing like sharing with a group of smart, curious, and heart-centered women to inspire me, so I thought I’d share one of the unique insights from PP research with you.

The Secret to Achieving Your Goals

Whether your goal is to be a more loving partner, change careers, or start a meditation practice, the most straight forward way to make positive changes in any area of your life is to take action. You know this! You know you’ve got to DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT to make things different.

Positive Psychology studies show that when you try more, when you do the hard work — when you cope, rather than run from a situation — you create an upward spiral of success and increased self confidence and motivation. Trying more might mean you fail more, but in the long run, you will succeed more, because you tried more!

The secret to being successful in taking action to make a change is to MAKE CONCRETE COMMITMENTS. Often, people make vague plans to change some behavior — “I should start walking!” or “I need to change my eating habits.” but they get stuck in feeling stuck and never plan and follow through on the actions needed to make a change.

Here’s how to be successful by making concrete commitments:

1. Set Stretch Goals
Set goals whose purpose is in alignment with your values and the bigger picture of how you want your life to be. Don’t go after an intense job in a nearby town if you don’t want the long hours away from your family. Do set goals that challenge you, motivate you, and are getting you closer to what you really want. (You’ll need to spend some time figuring that out.)

2. Set long, medium, and short term goals (1, 10, 25 years)
Break down your goals, which should be congruent with your vision and values, into bite-sized pieces — scheduled over 6 months, 30 days, today. Look for how to make “1% changes”. Small, incremental changes can have a big impact. Want a more loving relationship? Spend just one minute every day dedicated to being more loving — send a text, share a kiss, give flowers. Long term change can start with investing just one minute per day. And small changes are nonthreatening, which sidesteps your mind’s usual resistance to change.

3. Double check your goal
Make sure your goal is realistic, quantifiable (you want to be able to tell when you’ve completed it), and specific. Make sure you have time to do the walking you say you’re going to do, decide how far or for how long you’ll walk in advance, and commit to a specific day and time to do it.

Once you start acting differently, your ideas about yourself will change and you’ll perceive yourself as that person who is that new way, who does that new thing. You’ll be a walker, a loving person, or, simply, someone who walks their talk. As a result, your self esteem, confidence in your abilities, and self image will change for the better — raising your happiness levels, for good.

I’d love to hear the concrete commitment your thinking about right now! Drop me a line in the comments section, below.

All My Best,

P.S. Want more great stuff on getting happier? Join the Happier You! 30 Day Challenge and get a short, actionable tip every day in November. Sign Up Here!