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This is part of a series looking at microskills – changes that employees can make to help improve their health and life at work and at home, and employers can make to improve the workplace. The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell have created the Employee Recommended Workplace Award to honour companies that put the health and well-being of their employees first. Registration for 2017 has now closed. Winners will be announced at a conference in Spring 2017. Sign up to receive an e-mail about registration for 2018 at

How often do you say to yourself, "This is the last time I will …; tomorrow I will …"?

Most all of us can relate to creating an excuse as to why we need that extra sugary or salty treat, drink or hour watching TV, all to feel better. However, knowing it's not good for our long-term health, we rationalize it quickly and make a fleeting commitment to do better in the future.

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What will determine if we're going to take on life's daily setbacks and demands is a combination of coping skills that define our ability to problem solve and make good decisions, and resiliency of energy and drive to manage and move beyond perceived stress and challenges.

If you don't find a better way to cope, or have resiliency to push away old behaviours until you can find a new one, your brain will demand to feel better. If nothing better is available, the old, less desirable behaviours turn on and before you know it you're living in your own version of groundhog day.

The purpose of this microskill is to introduce the resiliency tune-up, an activity that can be done once a month to determine whether you're on track to create the tomorrows you want.


It's wise to be crystal clear of what resiliency is. Resiliency can be measured by the degree to which you can push through adversity or a setback. The higher your resiliency level, the higher the probability you will be able to get through difficult moments and back on your desired track.

It's helpful to write out your definition for resiliency and test it with a few trusted sources so you have a clear definition that means something to you.


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This microskill's success is dependent on the notion that you accept that you're responsible and accountable for what you do.

For this microskill to have an impact you need to be willing to be accountable for your choices and actions. Others can help and guide you, but the decisions and actions you take each day influence who you will become.


Implement the following three-step plan:

1. Evaluation

Obtain your resiliency level monitor baseline. This activity will take less than five minutes. Print off your report so you can track and compare your monthly risk scores.

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2. Create a monthly four-pillar action plan

What are the one or two things under each of the four core pillars of total health you will commit to daily to fuel your resiliency?

This plan should be simple and something you know you can do every day. The goal is to mature your resiliency level. If you're struggling to cope or have a mental health issue, you can get support, take other actions, and simply use this as a supplementary microskill.

Resiliency levels are built up through daily activity. Following is a simple four-step plan you can use as a model to build your own. Keep it simple so you can successfully complete it each day and gain its benefits.

Physical plan: Eat lunch by 1:00 p.m. Park in the farthest car lot and take the stairs to your floor instead of the elevator to get in more daily steps.

Mental plan: Before going to bed, state one thing you're grateful for.

Work plan: Focus on listening to team members before reacting.

Life plan: For example, Honour your commitment to spend a minimum of 15 minutes of quality relationship time with your partner each day, reflecting on the day and your life together.

3. Monthly tune-up

Complete this activity on the first or last day of the month:

a. Complete your resiliency level monitor.

b. Compare your score to last month.

c. Evaluate how disciplined you have been to complete your four-pillar action plan daily. If your score has not improved or has slipped, you may not have been following your plan, or you may need to tweak it.

d. Set next month's four-pillar action plan.

e. Begin a new month.

Bill Howatt is the chief research and development officer of work force productivity with Morneau Shepell in Toronto. He is also the president of Howatt HR Consulting and founder of TalOp, in Kentville, N.S.

This series supports The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell's Employee Recommended Workplace Award.

This award recognizes employers who have the healthiest, most engaged and most productive employees. It promotes a two-way accountability model where an employer can support employees to have a positive workplace experience.

You can find all the stories in this series at this link:

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