Knowing your strengths
Everyone experiences varying levels of success and failure throughout life, and of course during weight-loss journeys. One way to hack your goals is to identify and leverage your existing personal strengths. Read on for tips on how to do just that.
How to ID your strengths
“A great way to discover our strengths is through self-inquiry,” says Diane Malaspina, PhD, a Yoga Medicine® therapeutic specialist and applied psychologist.
“First, take a trip down memory lane, what do you remember doing as a child that you felt good at or that you still do now? See if you can tap into what you naturally were drawn to then and seemed effortless and fun.”
Strengths often have roots in our earlier lives, she explains.
“Another technique is to examine how you feel in activities you currently engage in. What activities give you an energetic buzz when you are doing them? These activities likely come easy to you and call upon your strengths.”
You can also turn to others to help identify what your strengths are, if you’re unsure yourself.
“Ask co-workers, family members or friends about your positive traits and performance. What stands out to them as areas where you excel? How do you make others feel? Think about compliments you receive and how they relate to your personality and skills,” says Malaspina.
Another approach is to pay attention to when you are most productive.
“This is often referred to as flow state,” Malaspina explains, “where you are in optimal focus and time seems to slip away. What activities elicit flow for you? Chances are, those activities are things you are strong at. As you start to get a better understanding of what your unique strengths are, you can then identify areas where you’d like to use these strengths to overcome areas of limitation. For example, if one of your challenges is self-control and one of your strengths is planning, you can plan for challenges to self-control by removing temptations (like unhealthy snacks) and have a plan for social events where self-control might be tested. In addition, giving yourself little rewards for overcoming challenges can enhance motivation and build the skill of self-control.”
How to build on existing strengths to add new ones
“Once you recognize the power of your personal strengths, do your best to call upon them in any given situation,” says Malaspina. “The more we use them, the stronger they become through conditioning.”
She suggests keeping track of your daily activities and trying to notice whether you are using your strengths throughout the day.
“Pay attention in particular to where you struggle. Is it causing stress? If so, see if you can leverage a strength to bring more ease. For example, a sense of humour might be your strength, yet you take certain activities too seriously – see where you can embed a bit of humour into those activities to find more joy and inspiration.”
Malaspina adds a final few words of advice as you embark on this journey of self-discovery: “Standing [in] our strengths often means stepping into a big paradigm shift – moving from a place where we overly focus on our weaknesses and shifting into a mindset of embracing the best parts of ourselves. As you find more ways to develop your strengths into your daily life, the very challenges themselves become less difficult, leaving space for deeper connection and life satisfaction.”