An Appreciative Inquiry Perspective
We over-eat and over-spend. We don’t exercise and we procrastinate. We can see and feel the evidence of how these behaviors are keeping us from the life we want. We might overcome our discouragement to give yet another try to an offered solution, but it’s difficult. We feel disheartened by our failures and end up quitting or giving it only a half-hearted effort, leading to little or no change.
When you look at an issue in your life from an Appreciative Inquiry* point of view, instead of looking at what’s wrong you are looking into the best of the current situation. You are being curious about how you could look at it differently or how you could change it a bit to become more in line with your goals.
So, for example, if you are a procrastinator following the Appreciative Inquiry model, You’d look at situations where you already don’t procrastinate (none of us procrastinate 100% of the time) and ask questions.
Why didn’t I procrastinate in this particular instance? What was the situation? How did I feel about my task? What was the environment like? Was there a deadline? And if so, what made me strive to meet it? Was I tempted to quit and if so, what caused me to stay at it? What can I put in place to keep myself on task? Are there common qualities about things I don’t procrastinate on? How can I use the answers to these questions to help me avoid procrastinating on other tasks? How can I make myself like this task–or at least like it enough?
By viewing our desired changes from a positive viewpoint, the heavy feelings of guilt, failure and obligation dissolve and we are encouraged by the possibilities we now can see that will help us overcome our issues.
My online course, Take Back Your Life: Get on the Path to Productivity, looks at procrastination from this perspective. It involves you, in various ways, to look into your strengths and use them to overcome your weaknesses. Available June 13 from Change Your World. Meanwhile, check out my Facebook page, Change Your World Courses.
*Appreciate Inquiry is a model that seeks to engage stakeholders in self-determined change. Its five principles (adapted for personal use) are:
- What we believe to be true determines what we do.
- When we inquire into our personal system in a neutral or positive way, we change the way we see our issues and we get answers and ideas very different from those we get by focusing on our shortcomings.
- The words used in the inquiry effort point to, enliven, and inspire the best in ourselves.
- The creation of positive imagery about ourselves alters our anticipatory reality.
- Sustainable change requires that we WANT to continue it. Excitement, hope, inspiration, and joy increase creativity, openness, and cognitive flexibility thereby sustaining us in continuing our efforts.