Soul Sculpting Project: Declaration of Hope
When you got out of bed this morning and your feet touched the ground what was on your mind?
This week I invite you to join me in doing a variation of B.J. Fogg’s Maui Habit.
Dr. B.J. Fogg, a Behavioral Scientist out of Stanford, has specialized in answering the question, “How can we make big and lasting changes in our behavior?”
Fogg discovered that motivation was not as effective as simplicity, so he developed Tiny Habits: small and easy actions that lead to big and lasting change.
To create a Tiny Habit you need 3 things:
1. A small action
2. A trigger to do the action.
3. A reward.
The Maui Habit is Fogg’s favorite and most successful Tiny Habit.
The Maui Habit is simply: when your feet touch the ground each morning (that’s the trigger) you say, “It’s going to be a great day.” (That is the small action and reward.)
From his large data base of participants doing various Tiny Habits Fogg determined that the Maui Habit was the most successful in two significant ways.
First, it easily became a habit.
Second, it created a ripple effect. This tiny action set off a ripple of many positive changes in the lives of participants.
A declaration that, “Today is going to be a great day” is a statement of blatant optimism.
I do want make a clarification here. Saying, “today is going to be a great day” is not saying, “today is going to be an easy, trouble-free day.”
It is rather a choice to meet the day with hope, courage, and optimism.
Why would we want to choose optimism?
Let’s start with a few findings from the Mayo Clinic.
- Optimistic thinking reduces the risk of coronary heart disease.
- Optimism reduces negative stress.
- Optimists have better coping skills than pessimists.
- Optimism helps with various respiratory diseases by easing our breathing.
- Optimism helps us resist diseases.
- Optimists, for example, have a decreased risk of catching the common cold.
- Optimism increases mental functioning and even longevity.Here is a sample of research finding from places other than Mayo clinic.
- Optimism reduces the hormone cortisol, which we associate with negative stress.
- Optimistic thinking makes us more effective care givers.
- Optimistic students and athletes out-perform the pessimistic ones.
- Optimistic professionals are more successful than pessimistic colleagues.
- For example, optimistic sales people out sell the pessimists by 35%.
Particularly surprising to me is the fact that: Optimism is a greater predictor of success than talent or motivation.
Now is optimism really a choice?
Yes, we can learn to become optimists.
To learn more check out the work of Martin Seligman on Learned Optimism.
This Sculpting Project will combine the work of several psychologists to increase our connection with God and our ability to thrive. Our thriving will be socially contagious to those around us.
Here is what we do.
- Pick a morning trigger. The first recommended choice is when your feet touch the ground.If that doesn’t work for you try a location like the bathroom mirror.
2. Throw your arms up high in the air and lift your heart to God.
Why this posture? God created our mind and body to be connected. Posture matters. Most of us wake up each morning with a lot of the hormone cortisol in our system. Useful, but also associated with negative stress. This arms up/ heart up posture rapidly changes the hormone balance in our body by decreasing cortisol and increasing testosterone. For both men and women this makes us feel powerful to meet the day. (To learn more see the work of Amy Cuddy from Harvard Business School.)
3. After we have picked our trigger and taken our prayer posture then we speak our Declaration of Hope to God. We might say: “Good morning Lord, this is going to be a great day.”
Or “Thank your God for the gift of today. Let’s make it wonderful.”
Or “let’s make it full of beauty, or laughter, or hope, or wisdom, or accomplishment, or love.”
Make this declaration of hope your own, declaring what matters to you.
You can adjust your declaration when you anticipate a day to be challenging or unusual.
But Keep It Short and Easy. This is a Tiny Habit.
Since connection with God is deeply important, this project makes that connection with our 1st words in the morning; greeting God with our declaration of hope.
Sculpting Project: Declaration of Hope
- Choose a trigger. Ex. My feet touch the ground.
- Lift arms and heart to God.
- Pray a Declaration of Hope. “Good morning God, it is going to be a great day!”
Watch for the ripple effects this project will have in the rest of your week. May our Declarations of Hope create thriving in our world and deepen our connection to God.