Accomplish Your Goals

Life Tree News
Creating Prosperity with Harmony
Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D.

January, 2011

Let Your Strengths Help You Accomplish Your Goals

In This Issue:

1.  Welcome 
2.  Discover Your Core
3.  Align with Your Strengths
4.  Practical Steps
5.  Announcements

1. Welcome

January is a time for honoring our higher aspirations for the new year. Often,
we make resolutions, only to find that they fall by the wayside.  This year,
consider aligning your resolutions and intentions with your character strengths.
Research suggests that when you line up your activities with your character strengths, you are more likely to achieve your goals. Even more, you may find yourself a lot happier. The following are three tips to help you.

2.  Discover Your Core

Each person has character strengths that are at the core of who they are.
You can tell when you are in your strengths when you find yourself "in the flow,"
enthusiastic, and become deeply absorbed in what you are doing. Character strengths are deeply held, and are at the core of your being. They are so central to your identity that suppressing or ignoring any of these strengths seems unnatural and very difficult. 

When you do not honor your strengths, you feel diminished. It takes energy from you. For example if you have strengths of integrity and authenticity, not speaking your truth makes you feel less than who you really are. When you honor your strengths, you are more productive, and excited about new challenges.

One way to discover your strengths is to take the VIA Signature Strength Survey at (no cost)  It will give you a description of your top five character strengths.  Then take a moment to reflect on how they have shown up in your life. You will discover that they have helped you to rise to the occasion to meet your challenges.

3.. Align Your Activities with Your Strengths

When you work on your intentions this year, consider aligning your activities and goals with your strengths. It brings in the power of three kinds of relationships: (1) Your relationship with yourself, (2) Your relationship with your significant others, (marriage or life partner, and family), and (3) Your relationship with the larger whole (e.g. work, community).  When you know your strengths and align your activities in each area with your strengths, each area can help to empower you to accomplish your goals.  It also simplifies your life. Instead of seeing each sphere of life separately, you can see them all as ways to express your genuine core.

 First, your strengths help you to feel much more accepting and happier with yourself, This enhances your self confidence in achieving your goals. Second, your strengths shifts you to a more positive outlook which helps you to collaborate and bring in the strengths of others.  Finally, honoring your strengths helps you see how your efforts contribute to the greater good. This gives a deep sense of gratification.

For example, I have strengths of purpose, perspective,and optimism.  Coming from a developmental perspective, I enjoy pulling together information to size up the next developmental step to share with others.  As soon as others see the picture, they naturally jump in because the want to contribute their strengths too. This leads to strength-based co-creativity in honoring our higher intentions in serving the greater good. In the process, we energize our productivity, create meaningful relationships, and accomplish our goals.  

4. Practical Steps

Here are a few practical steps on what you can do. First, align your goals and
activities with your character strengths.  Plan to stick to your intention or
resolution for at least 6-12 weeks, so you can get a good start at establishing
the habits you want. Next, break down your big goals into several smaller, short-term goals that are easier to do. Then, use the power of your strengths to design activities to help you to follow through. As you go along, be sure to celebrate your successes.     

Suppose you want to lose weight.  First, you are more than a number on the scale, or a label as "overweight."  You also have qualities of spirit.  When you honor your character strengths, it helps you to capture this spirit. You become more accepting of yourself.

Rather than focusing on food alone, you also can bring in the power of your
relationships with others. For example, I have a client who used her strength of
"to love and be loved" to effectively handle overeating at family functions. 
Instead of heaping up piles of food on her plate, she chose to give love. 
She greeted family, talked with them, and found ways serve them. This kept her
mind off of food.

She also began to include more vegetables in her diet, and served more vegetables at family meals. This tapped into her deeper sense of purpose by encouraging healthier eating. Consciously aligning her goals with her strengths not only helped her to lose weight, it enhanced her relationships.

This year, consider aligning your activities and goals with your character strengths.  In addition to helping you accomplish your goals, it will enhance your well being.    

5. Announcements

Join us for our Teleseminar on January 18, 2011 from
9:00-9:30 CST.  Phone number 760-569-9000, access code 308311#

Playback Number (760) 569-9999 Access Code 308311.

Warm Regards,

Dr. Alice

Reference: Linley, P. A. Nielsen, K. M. Gillett, R. Biswas-Diener, R. (2010) Using
signature strengths in pursuit of goals.  International Coaching Psychology Review. 5(1). 6-15.

Copyright 2011 Alice G. Vlietstra, All rights reserved.




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