Father teaching his son to ride a bikeI love learning. I was “over the moon” when the amazing Lisa Zigarmi agreed to co-author the #POSITIVITYATWORK tweet book with me. Lisa is one of the smartest and kindest humans I know. Her understanding of the science behind happiness and well-being is deep and wide! I’m grateful and inspired for all she’s taught me.

One critical understanding I have gained is that each of us is responsible for our own well-being. Others – parents, coaches, teachers, bosses, organizations, teams, etc. – cannot boost our well-being. They can choose to create an environment where our well-being activities are supported, but they are not responsible for it. We, as individuals, are.

Increased personal well-being has been proven* to generate benefits beyond happiness. People with high personal well-being:

  • Deliver 31% higher productivity
  • Demonstrate 3 times higher creativity on the job
  • Are ten times more engaged by their jobs
  • Are 40% more likely to receive a promotion within a year
  • Generate 37% greater sales figures
  • Are three times more satisfied with their jobs

* The Economics of Wellbeing by Tom Rath & Jim Harter and Positive Intelligence (from the Harvard Business Review‘s January/February 2012 issue by Shawn Achor

Create the Habit of Proactive Well-Being Management

The research on how many days it takes to change a habit is challenging the initial work in the 1960’s. It seems that a range of 21 to 66 days is more accurate, depending on the lousy habits being quashed, desirable habits being embraced, the complexity of the new behaviors, and the habit-resistance of the humans involved. The following “boost your well-being” suggestions are actionable and can be implemented quickly. AND, making them a habit will take you somewhere between 21-66 days.

  • Intentionally apply your skills to serve team colleagues, goals, and customers, every day.
  • You are not what you DO. Consciously BE your best self, daily.
  • Be a source of kindness and grace to others, in every interaction.
  • Experience joy and pride in your work done well.
  • Don’t make your challenges anyone else’s issue. Seek help and guidance, but proactively deal with challenges.
  • Attune to and express delight with things that go well in your world every day.
  • Express gratitude and appreciation for others’ effort AND accomplishments daily.
  • Be optimistic. It promotes positive coping, action, initiative, better moods, and sociability.
  • Give of yourself – volunteer to help a colleague with a big project or volunteer to help others in your community, regularly.
  • Clarify your personal mission, values, and life themes. Act on your strengths and purpose.
  • Create connections. Most workplaces create isolation. Humans are social beings that thrive on connection.
  • Struggles are an opportunity to learn. Find the learning and move through.
  • Manage distractions effectively so you can focus for 15 minutes straight on one key task.
  • Your fingerprints are on every activity, goal, and task you manage. Work so you are proud of every personal output.

I post actionable suggestions for boosting personal well-being (like those above) in my Twitter feed every day. Follow me for regular prompts to take responsibility for your own well-being.

Join in the conversation! What proactive habits or practices help you manage your well-being? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

Get your FREE EXCERPT from my new book, #POSITIVITY AT WORK tweet, written with the delightful Lisa Zigarmi. View our video on why we wrote the book, understand the research on positivity in the workplace, and more!

Photo © iStockphoto.com/berc

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S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers: Good Comes First (2021) and The Culture Engine (2014).
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Reader Interactions


  1. Mark Deterding says

    Chris, excellent topic and post! The focus on extreme self care is so important as a servant leader and coach. It seems counter to that, but in fact if you do not take care of yourself, you will not be effective serving others. Being intentional about eliminating tolerations that are robbing you of energy and focus, simplifying your life, and developing positive daily habits are all great ways to better a person’s well being, and become a more effective leader and coach for the people that you serve. Thanks for your daily insights on this subject!

    • S. Chris Edmonds says

      Thanks, Mark – the tolerations is a big one for me, personally. It’s taken me a long time to no longer tolerate being 20 lbs. overweight. Now I’m inspired to lose another 10 lbs.! Anything that robs us of focus and energy disables our ability to serve well, “in the moment.”

      It’s an ongoing journey for me – and I appreciate insights from your journey, as well!



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