Are you a proactive person? Proactiveness can best be defined as self-initiated behavior that allows for the prevention or future solution placement of problems that may occur. It’s the opposite of reactiveness, which means only reacting to the events as they happen, often with less successful results.
This trait is often considered one of the most crucial for success, productivity, and effectiveness. So how can you make yourself a proactive person? The answer is simple: by starting with what you do. Here’s how experts reveal 4 proactive activities that promise positive results.
1. Create A Self-Care Routine
Self-care is great, but if you want to be proactive in self-care, you’ll want to make it into a routine. A lot of people make the mistake of only performing self-care when they really need it. They’ll let themselves get to the point of dire stress before finally stepping away. This is “reactive” self-care and isn’t the best way to get the most out of Me Time! You want self-care to always exist, preventing stress from reaching burnout levels in advance. That’s proactivity!
Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and Diplomate and Clinical Specialist in Child and Adolescent Counseling Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D., makes it clear that proactiveness in self-care is extremely crucial for positive thinking. Research has shown a similar fact – self-care alleviates stress severity, eases mental illness symptoms, and even helps with productivity, performance, and problem-solving.
Basically, regular, proactive self-care, performed because you value yourself and not because you have no choice at the last minute, is good for you all around. You’ll be less burned out, you’ll be able to manage difficult situations, and you’ll feel better every day. Those are some great positive results!
Self-care expert Gill Lopez, who has conducted lots of research in the field, outlines the following tips for making proactive self-care routines:
· Find What Works For You
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to proactive self-care. Some people may find that certain common self-care activities don’t help them at all! (For example, taking a bubble bath may make you feel restless if you dislike sitting still.) So, tailor your self-care to you! Begin by listing some things that make you happy and work your way from there.
· Find Ways To Incorporate What You Love Into Your Life
So, you’ve listed what you like. Now, think about if these things help to ground, calm, and center you. If they do, consider ways you can incorporate them into your daily life. For example, if you like the scent of lavenders, try adding lavender-scented items to your space. Or, if you love nature, schedule weekly hiking trips and spend a short amount of time daily walking in a park.
· Adjust As You Go
Sometimes, your goals for self-care won’t actually work out when you put them into practice. Don’t be afraid to make changes! Evaluate your self-care routine regularly to see what is and isn’t working for you.
2. Empower Yourself With Adaptable Plans and Goals
No one can deny the importance of goal-setting and making plans when it comes to achieving dreams or moving towards success. Satisfaction and performance are often improved through the use of positive goals in everyday life and schedules.
But there are many common mistakes that people make when trying to set goals, and that can mess things up! Overly rigid goals may be more of a hindrance than a help, so you want to learn to empower yourself with your plans, not give yourself even more hassle. Here are some tips from Eastwick Executive Vice President and General Manager Heather Kernahan for better empowerment through the use of adaptable plans goals:
· Build Your Confidence With Preparation
You can’t prepare for anything, but you can prepare yourself for enough. You don’t have to be strict and perfect to prepare, and there are many different kinds of preparation: mental, physical, technical, informational, and so on. Find the kinds of preparation that make you feel confident when it’s time to put your plans into action and strike a balance between perfectionism and carelessness.
· Tailor Plans To You
You’ll hear all kinds of advice – most of it unsolicited – about what you should or shouldn’t be prioritizing. Remember, no opinions of others matter more than your own. You get to decide what matters most to you and set goals and plans accordingly.
· Be Open To Possibilities
A lot of people make the mistake of accidentally restricting themselves with their goals and plans. There are so many opportunities that show themselves every day, and you need to be ready for them with positive thinking. Be prepared to adapt to new openings that you come across, and also be prepared to adjust if you’re struggling.
Now that you know how to set plans and goals that are adaptable, it’s time to spend some time actually putting those goals into place! Creating daily plans, short-term goals, and long-term goals is a great way to get things into motion. You’re being proactive by planning ahead for the future, which is guaranteed to get you positive results if you’re doing it the right way!
Your health is arguably the most important part of your life. That’s why proactivity in your medical status and health is one of the most crucial ways to ensure long-term positive results – like an increased lifespan!
Instead of waiting for your health to go downhill before seeing a doctor or even thinking about your physical state, learning to take charge of yourself in a proactive way. Banner Health physician Dr. Jessica Regnaert recommends the following steps for taking charge of your health:
· Know Your Family History
Your family history determines what you should be screened for, what your doctors should be on the lookout for, and what current seemingly harmless issues may point to. It’s extremely crucial to your health, and most experts agree!
· Take Preventative Measures
Vaccinations, a healthy lifestyle, and any other recommendations your doctor may have can make the difference between developing a disease or not. Prevention is a prime example of true proactiveness, after all!
· Get Your Regular Screens and Tests
For many health conditions, prevention is the best cure – but you can’t always prevent everything, and that’s where screening comes in. Early detection can be a huge lifesaver when it comes to disease. Talk to your doctor about screenings that you need and make a list of them, then make sure to attend. This includes annual standard checkups!
4. Make Some Smart Money Moves
If you’re in a position to spare some money, then one of the most proactive activities you can engage in is putting it in wise and smart places. It’s one of those things that feels hard to do now but only promises more and more positive results as time moves forward.
Personal finance and business writer Kate Luther recommends some of the following things as proactive steps for your future when it comes to managing your money wisely:
· Start Saving
A worrying number of people still don’t have any savings, and with economic changes and job market troubles, it’s easy to see why you may have not prioritized putting aside any money. After all, you likely have more significant financial responsibilities to attend to! But that doesn’t mean you can’t start saving just a little bit. This doesn’t mean putting aside 10% or even 5% of your earnings – it can mean just putting $5 a month aside to build up in the background over time. A little financial cushion can provide you with even a little bit more security, and that’s something everyone can benefit from.
· Start Paying Down Debt
Naturally, this is significantly easier said than done. But just like with saving, a little bit can add up over a long period of time! Adding just $5 to your monthly standard payments lets you take charge of your finances and will show itself in significant ways over time. It’s not quick, but it is effective, and every little bit provides something positive.
· Learn About How Investing Works
There are many kinds of investment plans, and in the United States, those with an IRA or 401(k) probably already know what sort of plan they’re on. Other countries have their own versions of this. But no matter where you’re from, when making a decision, you need to know more details than just how much risk you’re willing to sign up for. What’s the difference between all the available mutual funds? What are the fees like? What’s the value for the stock you’re looking at? What tools can you use to manage and control your finances? So instead of diving headfirst into trying to “invest” right away, begin by simply learning how it all works. It will be easier for you to make smart decisions when you have more than surface-level knowledge!
· Start Considering Your Retirement
A huge chunk of the world doesn’t have any retirement savings at all. This is due to the lack of understanding and knowledge of what goes into retirement, but it can also be due to feelings of fear or hopelessness when it comes to looking at the future. This is even worse for those on tight budgets. So reduce some of that fear by doing research into retirement options and find ones that interest or may work well for you. You don’t need to financially commit to them just yet, especially if you’re younger, but knowing your options always helps.
· Think About Estate Plans
It’s bleak to think about, and it makes sense that few people want to think, in detail, about their death – especially younger individuals. But planning for death and the future can make all the difference for the financial state of your family one day, and it may even save them money later on. This is because, in most countries, legislators have an in-place plan of what will happen to the belongings of those who pass away unless they override it with a will of their own. As such, the positive results estate planning promises aren’t just for you – they’re for the future, your loved ones, and your peace of mind as you age.
Being proactive means being prepared. It means being ready for multiple possibilities and, if something does hit you out of the left field, it means knowing how to react in the most positive ways. By practicing proactive habits and activities, you allow yourself favorable results, good handling of difficult situations, and a better future.