What is a Bright Spot?
In our everyday lives we are constantly thinking about problem solving. At work we are given issues and expected to fix them. Our kids are given problems and expected to answer them. Our households asks “What’s for dinner?” and we are expected to create something. Our lives revolve around problems and problem solving. Generally this type of thinking serves us very well, until a problem becomes so big that we cannot understand how to overcome it. In this case bright spots serve as a break from looking at it as just a problem and give us a clue of where to start focusing. The question of what’s already working. A bright spot can be anything from a behavior or achievement that is a small (or large) victory. If you’re trying to lose weight, a bright spot might be that your pants feel looser. If you’re trying to stop smoking, maybe you had fewer cigarettes today than yesterday. These are bright spots and they don’t have to be big but they do signify progress.
Why are Bright Spots important?
People generally respond best to being rewarded. If you wanted to train a puppy to sit on command, you offer treats when the puppy responds. At first, if the puppy even looks at you when you say sit, it gets rewarded. Then maybe you help the puppy to sit, then reward it. Soon enough the puppy is sitting on command waiting for its treat. Humans aren’t that different. We love to be rewarded and Bright Spot are a way to recognize the behavior that we wish to repeat. Telling other people about these bright spots is our reward.
How Bright Spots changed my life!
Imagine me as I graduated college. I was nearly 300 pounds and very unhealthy. I knew something had to change. When I started my corporate job, I decided that I would start walking more. So I started walking to and from work everyday. It felt good to start and end my day with a relaxing walk (Bright Spot). Since that felt so good, I eventually started walking at lunch. It felt even better to get outside and feel the sun after being cooped up in the office (Bright Spot). I knew that I should sweat a little bit during the day so my lunchtime walk turned into a light jog. The feeling of being outside and sweating a little bit made me feel really great and I felt I was accomplishing something (Bright Spot). I slowly built on this behavior through the summer and fall. As winter rolled in, I swapped the outdoors for the treadmill. It wasn’t as fun but allowed me to play with my pace and I was able to run further faster (Bright Spot). Finally after a little over a year of small steps I signed up for and ran my first Bolder Boulder, a very famous 10k road race. Before starting on this journey, I thought running 1 mile was torture. I never imagined that I would find a love for running…ever.