Positive reinforcement and habit forming

Have you been following Captain Tom Moore this week and his new found internet fame at the age of 99?

Listening to Captain Tom’s interviews, he doesn’t seem to box his thinking in. For example, when questioned on age he dismisses it as being ‘all relative’. This sort of thinking can help us to push ourselves when faced with a challenge, regardless of the size of the task or our perceived societal position.

So, as lockdown continues, how can we approach the next three weeks with the same sort of positivity as Captain Tom?

In my first blog I mentioned that positive thinking isn’t always as easy to achieve as we might be led to believe. So if despite best efforts to remain chipper, you are feeling anxious at another indefinite and restrictive period ahead, go easy on yourself.

TIP: Set small goals, then repeat and increase

Let’s look again at Captain Tom and his achievement. We can see here how acombination of evidence and belief builds and reinforces a positive mindset.

Successful repetition builds habit: Habits simply make our lives easier, we don’t have to add further stress or waste time by working something out. We create space to develop our thinking . Captain Tom proved to himself through the first few laps of the garden he could do it. Praise yourself for the smallest of achievements at an early stage.

Successful repetition builds belief: We start to know we are fully capable of achieving something. We start to think positively – imagine a successful outcome. There was no stopping Captain Tom once he got into his stride!

Pacing to achieve an end goal: This is vital. Captain Tom ‘managed’ his goal with sensible breaks. He probably had help and guidance in planning them. If this is something you find hard then talking, listening, sharing and delegating are areas to work on. This can be quite a big ask for those who are used to going it alone but positive thinking ALWAYS includes asking for help.

Know your limits: If you are mindful of the above three points, this will start to become self-evident. Captain Tom started off with a one thousand pound fund raising expectation and look what he achieved? He was confident he could do it. It was confidence built on evidence and belief.

With another three weeks at least, ask yourself what is it you want to achieve. Remember that with regular positive reinforcement, you can get there!