First 30 Days Blog

27 dec

Mental Shift

JayForte“The major adjustments we need to make are mental.” Price Prichard from “The Fourth Level of Change.”

To be great at work and in life requires a mental shift – a change in attitude that accepts the world on its terms, welcomes change and focuses on possibilities.

When we slept last night, the world changed. Technology has advanced our methods of communication. Science has changed our understanding of our beginnings, our development, our health and our world. We can watch all this happen around us and quickly be left behind. Or, we can realize that change and growth are what propels us to work strong and live stronger. We can realize that by embracing the new constant known as change, we can expand our understanding of ourselves and live and work in the most significant way possible.

Many of us are frozen by change because most people feel change will lead to loss instead of gain. We are convinced if change happens we will not be happy, safe, rich, or some other adjective, so we hold steadfastly to what we know. We freeze. We idle. We hide.

This creates the need for a mental shift. It is our choice to welcome change or fight it. We choose to advance, allow and augment, or whine, wince and worry. We control our perspective – we control our mental outlook. Indeed, we are constantly influenced by the information we receive and process all day, but it is our mental attitude (our outlook and approach) that determines how we process this information. If our outlook is pessimistic, resistant and reluctant, we will find things in our world that support this outlook – we become cynical, distrustful and suspicious. If however, our mental shift brings us to an outlook that is optimistic, upbeat and positive, we become more open, aware and responsive. We set the tone and the world will respond.

Here are my four steps for a mental shift to optimism and improvement

  1. Start today. True, a new year is upon us and people seem more committed to making improvements at the start of the year. Great. But as you build a year-round mental shift plan, commit to starting what you choose to do as you choose to do it. Don’t postpone. I had a friend who would only make changes on the first day of a month – even if he identified something needing changing on the second day of the month. Crazy. If it is important enough to do, do it now.
  2. Just a bit. Most people bite off more than they can chew. They try to make improvements that are too significant all at once. We are segmented learning creatures – we best handle things in “chunks.” So instead of trying to end a habit of poor eating, start one small new habit, such as eliminating dessert during the week, or eating 2 additional pieces of fruit a day. Just a bit. Small gains. And soon the accumulating small gains lead to significant change.
  3. Call them “improvements.” Stay away from the language of “ending bad habits.” Instead, focus on “doing things that improve.” Mentally, we are more supportive of events that are seen as positive; we are more likely to succeed when we focus on improving. And along with #2 above, make “just a bit” improvements to be more successful. I grew up in an Italian Catholic family. In the period prior to Easter (Lent), most people I knew gave things up as their Lenten resolutions. In our family, we focused instead on adding (new habits) instead of giving up – we added things of value; we used Lent as a period to “improve.” This lesson remains a good one.
  4. Celebrate your success. When success happens, applaud your effort, your achievement and your commitment. Start to change the internal voice from the critiquing old “grandmother”(the internal voice most of us have), to a supportive “friend” (the voice that allows us to improve, adjust and feel successful). Be kind to yourself. You are one brain and one heart in the middle of a large, often cruel and complex, world. Sometimes you will get it right; sometimes you will won’t. So, when you get it right, dance, sing, clap or do whatever helps you celebrate. Then move on to the next “little bit.” And when you don’t get it right, forgive yourself and start again.

I know today’s world moves much faster than I would like – sometimes it seems to give me more than I think I can handle. Despite this, I also know my attitude is the key to understanding myself, my world and to living and working in the most significant way possible. It is up to me to make this mental shift – to be positive, optimistic and to see possibilities – no matter what the world brings my way. And in the process, help to inspires others to do the same.

Shift happens – but only when we make it happen. What mental shift do you need to make to ensure you work strong and live stronger?

Wishing you a new year of mental shifts, small improvements and greater happiness.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at

Posted by Jay Forte on December 27th, 2009 in Career, Diet and Fitness, Finances, Health, New Directions, Spirituality | 0 comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

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