What Is Sustainable Physical Vitality and Executive Functioning?
Executive Summary of this Article:
Do you want to know how you can make a sustainable difference and be(come) an agent for innovation and change? Be invited to think big, to envision beyond what we currently have to become part of what we need in the next (50+) years: Physical Vitality is created via physical vitality self-leadership strategies (1) healthy food intake, (2) use of relaxation strategies such as healthy breathing and (3) moderate exercise.
The future challenge is that we are living in a world where resources to create physical vitality will become more and more scarce. Assess and improve how you are using strategy (1) healthy food intake. Discover how self-efficacy (reflected in constructive thoughts) is a vital ingredient for your recipe of success on a personal level. Complete your personal SWOT Analysis. Then, select one action to create one change on a personal level. And with that strategic management of yourself, you get to influence yourself and others! Here we go:
Assessment of the Challenge:
Alarmingly, many people may be challenged to consume healthy foods as we expect a significant increase in the world population by 2050. At the same time, experts predict shrinking resources to produce foods and to restore the resources needed to grow enough food. For more information to this important subject:
- World Resources Report (by the World Resources Institute)
- Visit a European organization for their perspective on how to create sustainable food options;
- If you are completely new to this topic, visit this glossary for your reference/information.
In addition, our personal self-efficacy (i.e., expectations that we are successful in using healthy food intake in a sustainable way) are often low. How can we set up our environment to foster our efficacy-beliefs? That way, we can make sure that our healthy food intake is successful before we venture out to become the best representatives of way of living to others. As we inspire others and role model our self-leadership strategies to them, change can happen on a bigger level.
Change Management Depends on Our Ability to Customize Strategies and Strategically Plan Sustainable Behaviors Through Constructive Thoughts that are Strengthened to Healthy Rewards
One way to measure constructive thoughts is by taking a look at a person’s so called “self-efficacy”. Self-efficacy (or expectations of success) stem from four sources of information: (1) individuals’ past performance histories, (2) observation of other people’s performances, (3) received verbal feedback, and (4) feedback from our body’s nervous system.
(1) Your past performance history
(1) People who have succeeded in solving challenges in the past are likely to see themselves successful again. You can say that previous successes create high expectations of success for the future. In contrast, past failures or setbacks weaken efficacy beliefs in the future.
(2) Your observation of other people’s performances
(2) If you watch and examine the successes or setbacks of others, you may use what you observe and make it part of your future successful performance. This is successful behavior strategy is called “observational learning” or “vicarious learning”. This strategy is inexpensive, readily available to you, and often involved when we want to create something that we wish to maintain long-term. Most often, creating holistic health and coping well with life can be improved much by learning from others’ successes (or setbacks).
(3) Type of verbal feedback
(3) Praise or criticism focused on efforts made or strategies will help you, e.g., solve a problem or master a -complex- situation you may be facing. Additionally, this type of feedback strengthens your self-efficacy. As an example, let’s assume you are reviewing your efforts to eat healthy and notice that, with a little bit of better time and task management, it is feasible to cook one time a week after coming home from work.
In contrast, by giving person-oriented feedback (i.e., praise and criticism concerning a person’s traits), you may feel helpless and less likely to succeed in the future. As an example, you could look at your previous struggles with cooking healthily and conclude that “you are not a chef”. This self-evaluation could make you doubt yourself at a personal level, although your struggles may be simply due to the lack of proper planning (i.e., a lack of skill), which has nothing to do with you as a person.
(4) Feedback from our body’s nervous system
(4) Our body’s feedback (e.g., stressful emotions or body tension) can give us the false impression that we are unlikely to succeed in the future. For example, after running a flight of stairs and a cup of morning coffee without adequate breakfast, you hurry to work and interpret your body’s rapid heart beat, your shallow breathing, and your slightly anxious thoughts as that you may need to feel panicked and out of control. Instead, try you interpret your symptoms as driven by caffeine, low blood sugar, and a body untrained to run a flight of stairs. This way, you interpret your body’s response to be something to be expected in those circumstances. This may give you some clues on how to succeed (using simple different behaviors such as consuming a healthy breakfast, regularly taking the stairs instead of the elevator).
Your Action Plan: Your Personalized Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis
The Balanced Scorecard of Successful People
1. Observe other people’s contributions to this topic:
Review existing papers and contributors to the topic of creating sustainable food sources. This can help you with your personal strategic planning, but also with your operational planning and long-term business building as an employee or business owner.
2. Tackle your weakness:
If you are feeling pressure to be already at your best and up to speed when it comes to sustainable practices of healthy food intake. Watch yourself and notice if you give yourself (and/or others) verbal /written feedback that emphasizes the learning of skills instead of the review of personal performance. For example, instead of reaching out to the author(s) of one of the above paper with “You did a great job” (i.e., focus on the person and his/her performance), indicating “You presented the materials well and developed your arguments concisely” shows the emphasis of learning a skill.
Using a learning of skills oriented review and feedback style will increase your persistence to master more difficult tasks and/or future setbacks. What personal goal can you set to practice the skill of healthy food intake? An example is given below.
4. The Threat:
In today’s busy world, we put the growth of our ability to lead ourselves a lot of times on the back burner. And, with little practice, we may struggle with low self-efficacy, leading to further “feeling stuck” instead of becoming a proactive agent of change. Nevertheless, as you are reading this article, I know that change is dear to you, and I would like to assure you that, indeed, you are able to create a bigger change than you may even imagine!
Organizational Change Management Begins With You!
Let’s get started with an important influence that is within our control: Your expectations of yourself whether or not you get to be successful in what you are setting out to do. Our’ self-efficacy beliefs – impacted by personal performance experience, received feedback, and vicarious learning – influence our (constructive) thoughts and shape our successful behaviors. As part of our rewards programs we should setting process-oriented goals, giving specific process-oriented feedback, and role-modeling desirable behavior to enhance expectations of success and subsequent performance.
Let’s set our first process-oriented goal: research shows that we are more likely to go after and achieve a goal if we create a SMART goal- so let’s set one to create sustainable physical vitality:
S=Specific: I want to eat a self-made meal at least 1 time a week.
M=Measurable: By looking up a recipe during my lunch break and make a shopping list/place an order for groceries online, I will be able cook after coming home from work.
A=Achievable: Pick a reasonable increment to achieve your goal; run your goal and your increments by a trusted friend for feedback. For example, cooking one time per week may be feasible. Creating a survival plan for a a busy season at work may require some creativity and a friend (or professional) to strategize with.
R=Realistic: See “Achievable”. To create a realistic goal, you may need some feedback from a caring, trustworthy person who wants you to succeed. Want to be prepared for the feedback? Create your Realistic Cheat Sheet to get from start to finish:
Realistic Cheat Sheet Instructions to Create a Sustainable Change of Your Food Intake:
- On the top of an empty piece of paper, state your starting point – where you are currently at: Snacking empty calorie/pre-processed foods after 9 p.m., mindless eating in front of the TV and when driving.
- At bottom of page, write your desired, realistic behavior.Example 1:Creating dinner using fresh, non-processed ingredients at least 1-3 nights per week,Example 2: Eating a healthy dinner 4 nights a week, eating a healthy snack, if needed, before bed time.
- Between top and bottom of page, list small(er) behaviors to do to get from your current situation (top of page) to the bottom. One behavior at a time.
- Example 1:
- Research an (easy and affordable) recipe;
- Leaving work on time to get groceries (or order on time online);
- Take a brisk walk to refresh your energy, grab a fresh snack and cook your (easy and affordable) meal;
- Get to bed early enough to repeat the research-shop-cook sequence at 1-3 times per week.
- Example 2:
- Research healthy snacks;
- Budget healthy snacks;
- Shop healthy snacks and prepare them for consumption ahead of time;
- Leave reminders around the house to go for the healthy snacks (even when you are tired).
- Example 1:
Our offer to you: Join the Sustainable Physical Vitality challenge!
We know how hard it is to change a behavior, especially if it has a life of it’s own. See if you can identify:
- Things have always been that way (e.g., that I was unable to say no to working late);My environment is not allowing for any change(s) from the status quo (e.g., my husband loves to purchase pre-packaged foods and is therefore not helping me making conscientious choices);I am doing well with New Year’s resolutions but only until February 1 rolls around.
Why Sustainable Physical Vitality?
Practice makes perfect. Creating a new habit takes a while. Breaking an old one even takes some more effort and perseverance. We will be there with you, and want you to have the opportunity to have frequent check ins to cheer you along as you are pursuing your SMART goals. Interested? Join The Sustainable Physical Vitality Challenge by joining the Leadership Practice, Psychology Consultations, Inc. Shape a Future Leader program!!
There you will receive strategic tools:
• A game plan to tackle your career development, and master face-to-face and online relationships in your professional as well as private life;
• Tools to maintain growth.
Not everyone is a good fit for this program. I want you to be COMPLETELY clear if my Shape a Future Leader Program is for you. This program is a good fit for three types of people. See if you are one of them.
#1: If you have been working on improving your or another person’s life, establish healthy goals, and you understand the value of developing healthy coping skills and a mission for life in yourself and others, you are a perfect fit for this program.
#2: If you have been educating yourself or another person about how to improve coping, you are a perfect fit.
#3: If you are not coaching/training/impacting someone else but are dealing with a relationship that gives you undefined feelings of tension, worry, changes in your eating and sleep patterns, this course is a good fit for you.
Email me with your questions or sign up and be notified about our next Future Leader webinar. Enjoy!