“The commitments we make to ourselves and to others, and our integrity to those commitments, is the essence and clearest manifestation of our proactivity.” – Stephen Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Week 2 of the New YearHow are those 2016 commitments going?

Covey’s 7 Habits are gold. His message is a simple reminder of the core influences occurring behind-the-scenes of our new commitments. How do we decide if we are fulfilling our goals, how do we judge the success of ourselves, and how do we set forth setting new aspirations?

It was at the beginning of high school when I first stumbled upon Stephen’s son’s teen version of this book.  If there is one small takeaway – the foundation for the other six habits – it’s his first message.

Proactivity

Covey’s #1 Habit: Be Proactive Athletes

What does that mean? 

Focusing on what you CAN change.

There’s tons of psychology chatter, sports performance research, and behavior change evidence behind his concept, but here’s it to you straight –

“Just remember that every moment, every situation, provides a new choice. And in doing so, it gives you a perfect opportunity to do things differently to produce more positive results.” 

That’s all.

Simply said – Every moment is a chance to align our goals and actions. We respond pretty well to it too. Proactivity becomes both our approach to our commitments as well as our actions.

We judge our productivity off our sense of integrity – the coherence between our goals and actions…when our values, actions, beliefs, etc. integrate it becomes something that builds upon itself. This explains the exhilarating, momentous, encouraging snowball effect of accomplishment and working towards goals.

Proactive folks focus on the things they can change – in sports, these are your everyday details (finishing out those reps, keeping technique on point when fatigued, etc.).

It’s also how we respond to our environment.

“Response-able” – your ability to choose a response:

#1 way to start – what we say (and sometimes what we don’t say) – whether that be spoken or through out thoughts.

Language: A proactive person uses proactive language. A reactive person uses reactive language.

I can, I will, I prefer, etc. > I can’t, I have to, if only

Taking the initiative to find the solution (ex: How to fit the workout in while traveling – “I can do a body weight tabata circuit in my hotel room”)  > Dwelling on the problem and waiting for someone to fix it for you (“I can’t exercise because the hotel gym is nasty”)

Not all things are within our control, we need to identify those that we can change and focus our efforts on those commitments.

“Proactive people focus their efforts on their Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about: health, children, problems at work.”

“Reactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern — things over which they have little or no control: the national debt, terrorism, the weather.”

Gaining an awareness of the areas in which we expend our energy is a huge step in becoming proactive. *where the magic in accomplishing goals happens*

What are doing something about this week? Share it! Are you triggered by a stimulus or do you choose your response?

How do I start off a new beginning/commitment (like a new semester!)? Writing all the things I want to do, how I’m going to commit, and stick to itKeep that integrity, push forward, and be proactive! 

Written by Amanda Presgraves. Amanda is a senior Kinesiology major, Division I student-athlete and entrepreneur at James Madison University. As an advocate of health and personal growth, she’s on a constant pursuit to optimize life and inspire others through her commitment to healthy living. If you can’t find Amanda bouncing between the classroom, pool, kitchen, or volunteering, you can find her online as she continues to lead and motivate others towards a happier and improved life at COR through her article contributions, newsletters and community motivation. (@amandapgraves, linkedin).