You may have noticed that, in the past several months, we have been posting “Bright Spots” to the Foundry Athletes group. In these posts, we highlight members for their accomplishments: in the gym, at work, or in their personal lives.

It feels good to be recognized when you achieve a new PR, get a promotion, finish school, or expand your family. We do it in part because making people smile is a good reason in of itself, but there’s also more to why we’re sharing this info than the good vibes they bring. It turns out that acknowledging our victories and expressing gratitude can make us more successful at accomplishing our goals.

How Motivation Works

To understand better, let’s take a look at how our brains work and decode the science of success:

We have often been told that in order to be successful, you need to be motivated. It makes sense, and I think we’ve all experienced the connection between the two. Motivation means desire – a compelling vision for something. But how do you increase motivation? How to you get started on that big goal or project?

Here’s what we know about motivation:

Success has to happen to some degree before you’ll become motivated, and continued success is needed to maintain motivation. The challenge is that we are pretty hard on ourselves and don’t always recognize success when it happens.

The Role of Brain Chemistry

It’s not our fault, our brains are biochemically the same as they were thousands of years ago. Back then, danger was everywhere in our environment, whether it be from predatory animals, changes in our environment, the presence of a hunting opportunity, or threat from other humans. Our brains evolved to detect danger in our environment almost immediately as a strategy to keep us alive.

In today’s World, we no longer face these dangers, but our brains still process negative information almost instantaneously and develop corresponding negative thought patterns to help us recognize these dangers in the future. By contrast, it takes roughly thirty-seconds of concentrating on something positive for a healthy thought groove to be established.

Gratitude For The Win

Because nearly 95% of information we encounter is filtered out, we need to be more conscientious to focus in on what we are doing well, the progress we’ve made, and the ways in which we are moving towards new accomplishments. In doing so, we’re re-wiring our brain to notice our success, and expect more of it moving forward.

The practice of gratitude doesn’t come naturally to anyone – that’s why we call it a practice. It trains us to see the positive, the progress, and the joy in our day-to-day life. It can be hard, and often we don’t feel like doing it, but once we have, we feel lighter, more optimistic, and more positive. It’s like working out for your brain.

As we practice gratitude more, it becomes more natural, and it’s one of the top strategies used by the wealthiest, most successful people. I’ve noticed the benefits in my own life, and since incorporating this practice as a daily habit, I have been able to grow our business, work more efficiently, improve my fitness, and take on several new hobbies. Plus I’ve just generally been happier.

How To Implement

“Bright Spots Friday” is our practice of thankfulness. Every week in the Foundry Athletes group, we’ll post our bright spots for the week. A bright spot is anything that went well, things we’re celebrating in our lives, our personal podium moments and the little ‘wins’ from the week.

Starting this week and moving forward, I invite you to participate by posting your own! Bright spots don’t have to be workout-related, don’t need to be grand, don’t even need to be 100% positive sounding. Sometimes a difficult situation that leads to learning something valuable can be one of the most powerful bright spots. So go ahead, join us this week and share your victories. The act of declaring them, combined with the support you receive from our community will help you achieve your goals even faster.

Until Friday!

-JQ