Sometimes I forget.

I get caught up in “This is the most important project I should be working on!” And I forget. And then things go downhill: my mood changes (I feel rotten, don’t want to be around people, get sad more often), my attitude changes (“everything sticnks”), my drive and motivation change.

And then, one morning, I wake up and say, “Hey! I haven’t exercised all week.” What kind of example is this to clients that I’ve worked with? Whenever I’ve worked with a coaching client, he/she has “homework” between each session: a Body Exercise as well as a Mind Exercise. Ask any effective coach: the best progress for a client happens between sessions. When people are focused on gradual, deliberate change (often in the same time at the same place: more on this below). There is something to be said for consistency in life. What we do each day is what we can see as results in hindsight.

That’s why exercise seems trivial, and at the same time, exercise can decrease depression, anxiety, and stress. Even more interestingly (!), not only can exercise make us healthier, but lack of exercise can make us feel depressed (I searched for the specific result I wanted [that not doing 30 min of exercise per day is linked with increased depression], and cannot find it right now, but will find it for you later and update here; the closest immediate result I found is that lack of exercise is the key between depression and cardiovascular disease).

Just last week, 2,000 adults polled in the UK turned out to not have been exercising enough. This article says that minimum exercise for adults is 30 min per day for five days. Others say 10,000 steps per day is a good metric of exercise. Still other fitness devotees say interval cardio three times a week for 20 minutes each time, and weight lifting three times a week for under an hour.

Whatever your choice of HOW is great as long as the choice is TO DO. I’ve just returned to my choice of TO DO. I cannot believe I dropped the ball on exercise.

Me who says it’s the second most important thing towards happiness here and here.

The last thought as I go back to the large project I’m working on is based on the research by Dr. Wendy Wood at Duke: a habit is something people do at the same time in the same place. Think of brushing your teeth: same time, same exact location. How can you make exercise a habit? For me, it’s running when I wake up, and running generally the same path, but with increasing the number of minutes each week. What’s your trick?

Great summer to you!
(Or winter if you’re in Oz or NZ). :)


Business Week

Here’s the story online:

If you want to leave comments at the article, please feel free to. Would love to see them.


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An excerpt:

Once an entrepreneur knows his or her strengths, it’s time to put them to use. That’s what Melanie Morlan, owner of FirstBreathe.com, a wellness and athletic training company in Spokane, Wash., needed to do. She spent a decade working with the U.S. Olympic Committee and professional cyclists, including Lance Armstrong, before taking time out to raise her son.

She wanted to reenter the workforce by building a larger consulting practice than she’d once had, offering nutrition counseling, coaching in weight loss and stress reduction, and building a Web site and blog. But she couldn’t get started. “I’d get scared and set up roadblocks,” she says, telling herself she’d never succeed and ignoring her to-do list. She eventually called on Senia Maymin, a coach and, like Pollay, a graduate of Seligman’s program. Maymin [Editor-in-Chief at PositivePsychologyNews.com] also holds an MBA from Stanford University, and she knows family business and entrepreneurship firsthand, having worked alongside her father and brother at their hedge fund and co-founding three tech startups. Maymin helped Morlan exploit her strengths, of which creativity is first. So if Morlan lost a valuable client or made a bad decision, instead of spending the afternoon moping, she would turn to designing and building her Web site. “Creativity stimulates me,” she says.

Coach Maymin delves into this with her clients, many of whom seek her out when they are between ventures. She says that to be able to get routinely into the mental state that Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (pronounced “cheeks sent me high”), another founder of positive psychology, calls “flow”—complete absorption in a task—entrepreneurs must craft a workload that’s challenging but not too tough. Its demands should fully use an entrepreneur’s abilities, the same way endurance athletes train just at their physical limit. “In the athletic domain, everyone can see it,” she says. Psychologically, too, “self-regulation is a muscle you can train over time.” She assigns her clients a small, daily exercise challenge each week, based on research that says if you accustom your body to pushing just past its comfort zone toward ever-retreating goals, “you can do the exact same thing in your company”—push past your comfort zone and achieve goals once thought to be out of reach.

Senia’s twitter profile for updates on happiness, jobs, and entrepreneurship.


Hi folks,

I have a friend who will be teaching a day on social media in a business school. What references should I point my friend to? (Good ideas are about the power of social media, best ways to use it, great case examples). THANKS! Would love all suggestions, seriously!

Here are some I already recommend:

SOCIAL MEDIA:

TWITTER:

TWITTER EVENTS:

iPHONE vs. ANDROID:

Updated (2-16-09 10pm ET):
I asked for more advice on twitter, and here are some case studies of social media:


* From Bridget’s article today about “Freedom and Happiness” on PPND, I learned that a great source of new articles can come from emailing new research papers to current authors, and that is something I can do! Getting info to folks who are looking for that info anyway.

* From Alan Beggs and the Human Dimension company in the UK that trains in positive psychology related concepts to corporations (i.e. the corporate athlete), I learned 1) brevity, and 2) return on investment. And really to start each positive psychology exercise in the workplace with a sole focus on ROI.



At its best, “delegate” becomes “put people in charge!”

Managers often get very excited to “delegate,” and to get rid of boring responsisbilities. “Oh, when I hire this associate person, I can delegate all my planning to him or delegate all my morning market analysis to her.” Yes, sometimes the job that you have set aside for that person will free you fo exactly the things that you may least want to do.

On the other hand, sometimes you’ll need to delegate away exciting responsibilities to open yourself up to do more. It’s not always the boring chores that you delegate away, sometimes its just those that other people can do best for you.

A positive way to looking at “delegating” is “putting people in charge” – what can you put people in charge of most effectively? What can you be sure that someone will be proud to run as a process?

And people are different! What one person will love running another would be horrified to be anywhere near. So, have fun with the balance of it all!


This Expectations post is my second-favorite Seth Godin post so far this year. This still remains my favorite this year so far.

It’s a pretty short post, so here it is in its entirety:

Expectations

Word of mouth comes directly from expectations.

Low expectations are a terrific shortcut, because when you exceed them, people are so amazed that they can’t help but talk about it.

But low expectations are dangerous, because if you fly too low, you’re invisible. Worse, when people expect little of you, they often don’t bother listening at all.

So most of the time, you’re challenged with this: high expectations that must be beat.

Broadway shows. Apple products. Expensive consulting services. Promise big and deliver bigger seems to be the only reliable strategy.

Yes! This is in a sense what Seth’s book is about – The Dip. Be the best – challenge all expectations and be the best at what you’re doing, and get rewarded at that level for it.

I agree. I believe. I know.


In tenth grade, my English teacher told us the best way to prepare for an English essay-writing exam. He said, “Think of a question that covers many of the books we read this term, such as “What is the role of death in our readings?” and think of a concrete, wonderful answer.”

Then he tricked us. Or he gave us a lowball. Depending how you think of it.

We walk into the exam, and there were three questions – each worth 33%. The last question was, “Write the question you wrote to prepare for the exam (unless it was about the role of death), and write the answer you wrote to prepare.” !!!!!!!!! Exactly!

Sure, I’d prepared, and done as he had suggested, but I could have put more time into that pre-exam!

That’s what today’s game is about. Penelope Trunk writes about media training that she took in preparation for the radio and TV interviews for her book. She excerpts a section of the training manual from Clarity Media Group:

“Don’t try to prepare for every possible question that could arise. Determine the 6-8 topics that are likely to come up during your interview and then:
a. Hone a key message for each topic.
b. Identify anecdotes you can tell that illustrate each message.
c. Prepare specific examples or compelling data to prove your point.
d. Think of clever analogies if appropriate.
Think of these interviews as the equivalent of a good movie trailer, in which your quest is to independently drive to the very best scenes, anecdotes and newsworthy revelations in the book.”

You know when Joan Rivers or Carson Daly have come up to celebrities on the red carpet with the big microphone to ask one pointed question? That’s you – the celebrity! And that’s you – Carson Daly! You’re both the interviewer and the interviewee – you’re on both sides of the mike.

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When:

* When preparing for a job interview

Goal of the Game:
* To prepare well for a job interview – just like for that English final.

How Long to Play:
* 20 minutes. Play by yourself to prepare, and later potentially run your answers by a friend.

HOW TO PLAY:
1) Prepare 6-8 questions that the interviewer might ask you (“Tell me about yourself,” “What is your greatest professional accomplishment?” …)
2) Prepare stories for each answer.
3) Prepare specific examples or SARI (situation-action-result-interesting thing) answers.
4) Run these by trusted advisors and friends.

ROCK ON!


I was speaking with a friend today, and she said a great combination of words, “networking really is aimless, isn’t it?” And I thought that was so correct, so right on.

By the time you have a goal with networking, it’s no longer networking. It’s sales or starting a transaction or even developing a business relationship. But at that point, it is NO LONGER networking for the sake of networking.

This is fasconating to me because I often have very fun discussions with people without knowing at all how we might one day work together, or have our lives intersect again. No, networking doesn’t have to be all that – the next job, the next project. Networking can be just two people who have a great time speaking with each other … Aimlessly!


My favorite Seth Godin post so far this year:

[Rather than helping beginners get better at something,] you’re way better off helping the perfect improve. You’ll also sell a lot more management consulting to well run companies, high end stereos to people with good stereos and yes, church services to the already well behaved.

With Positive Psychology News Daily, we’re targeting people who work in and do research in Positive Psychology as well as people new to the field (“What is Positive Psychology?“) This Seth post is illuminating to me because yes, the people who get most excited about what we’re doing on Pos-Psych.com are the people passionate about the field to begin with: our best comment discussion people, our best guest articles, our best email responses – all come from people in the field and in the process of expanding the field!