Practicing Resiliency

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Have you had fun today?












"Do it" whether you feel like it or not.




Do your resiliency resources help you?

Having developed a list of twenty things you like to do, you can determine if it is actually helping you.

This can be done by reading over your list and putting the letter "W " by each item that you actually did in the past week. If you did about 75% of the items on your list then you will probably report a great week. Even 50% could make a good week. Less than 50% and you may be in trouble. If you have only done about 25% then life may be looking rather unpleasant. If you have done nothing that you like in the past week then life probably looks grim.

Burnout - Lack of Resiliency

Reporting that you did nothing in the past week that was enjoyable indicates that you may be noticing some of the symptoms of a lack of resiliency. Sometimes this situation is described as being " burned-out." Burnout is what happens when resiliency resources run low. The symptoms of burnout are very similar to those of depression with reports of a lack of energy and motivation. Your mood may be one of sadness and you may be showing increasing levels of irritation and frustration. (Take the Burnout Test to see how you are doing.)

Waiting for a Miracle

When you are depressed or "burned out" you often will withdraw from others in an attempt to regroup your resources. If someone comes along and invites you to do one of your favorite activities on your list of things you enjoy, you always will have the same standard answer for them. This answer begins with, " No" and is followed by a reason. The reason most often given is, " I don't feel like it." With this answer you are stating your plan for engaging life. Your intention is to wait, but for what? You will wait until you, " Feel like it." Consider, however, how long might it take you to feel like it? The answer is unknown. You might feel like it in a few minutes and go running after the person who invited you or it may take you days, weeks, or months, "to feel like it." Your basic strategy is to wait for a miracle. You are waiting to be "zapped" from outside with motivation, interest, and energy and you won’t move until it happens.

Action or Motivation?

Consider this question, "What comes first action or motivation?" The usual answer is motivation but luckily for us the answer is action. If you are motivated fine, but if not then you can create motivation through action.

Perhaps you have had this experience. Someone wanted you to go somewhere you did not want to go. It may have been to a movie, party, or family reunion. They kept pressuring you so, with great reluctance you agreed to go (while secretly vowing to make them miserable.) Once you arrived, however, it only took you about 15 minutes to start having a great time, in fact, it was one of the best times of your life. Now, what was your motivation for going? None. It was zero. But, you acted anyway and the motivation caught up with you. Action can precede motivation. Since we can make ourselves act whether motivated or not, we can be in control of our lives.

This is especially true of the things you like to do. If you have ever enjoyed these activities then most likely you would enjoy them again if you would only do them. Act first and the motivation will follow. Intentionally do one of your enjoyable activities whether you feel like it or not and chances are that you will enjoy it. With enjoyment your energy will rise and you will now "feel like" doing more things. As you continue to act and create motivation your level of resiliency rises and you replenish your reservoir of life energy. Symptoms of burnout begin to wane. The paradox to being a resilient person is to everyday, "Do something you enjoy whether you want to or not." Don’t wait until you feel like it.

A practical example is exercise. Many people who exercise regularly find that there are some days when they do not want to do it. They do not feel like running, swimming, or going to aerobics class. Once they begin the activity, however, their interest builds and they are more energized at the end. Action leads to motivation.


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