Sunday, January 3, 2010

Achieving an intended result

I don't consider myself a physically active person.  My interests don't include going to the gym, running, lifting weights, or getting sweaty period.  However, last year when I was training (on my own) for my first 5k I felt invigorated and alive for the first time in years.  I remarked several times to several different people, "I hate running".  "I never liked it when I was young and I still don't". 

What I did like was the sense of accomplishment I got from doing it.  I simply believed I could do it and when I turned down the last street and glimpsed the finish line the world fell aside and all I felt was pride.  I was so proud of myself, not in the act of running itself but in what I believed I could accomplish and what I ended up mastering. 

That feeling is called, self-efficacy (ef-fi-ca-cy). 

Self-efficacy as wikipedia states, has been described as the belief that one is capable of performing in a certain manner to attain certain goals, the sense of belief that one’s actions have an effect on the environment, a sense of a person’s competence within a specific framework, focusing on the person’s assessment of their abilities to perform specific tasks in relation to goals and standards rather than in comparison with others’ capabilities.

Unlike efficacy, which is the power to produce an effect--in essence, competence--self-efficacy is the belief (whether or not accurate) that one has the power to produce that effect by completing a given task or activity related to that competency.

Darren has said that I posses the ability to accomplish whatever I set my mind to.  He has even mentioned that he aspires to that and will often follow suit if he sees me gearing up for another accomplishment.

Self-efficacy is an amazing thing.  I never even knew such a term existed until today.  I found myself over at Science Daily and found myself agreeing and nodding my head as I read the article.

The article itself touches mainly on the physical aspect of accomplishing goals.
"Previous studies have shown that increases in physical activity also increase self-efficacy. The effect is almost immediate, McAuley said."

The focus of the actual study is how "Mastery of Physical Goals Lessens Disease-Related Depression and Fatigue". 

I most definitely agree that accomplishing goals gives you self-efficacy and lessens depression and fatigue. I also believe it keeps you coming back for more. I'm already gearing up for this spring's training and will find myself running a 5k and hopefully a 10k by the end of the year.

I don't think self-efficacy is achieved only by physical acts though. I also think that self-efficacy can be achieved by a mere act of self-betterment, learning a new skill or accomplishing a goal.  I think you would achieve it just the same by setting a goal to be a better listener and having someone tell you that you really are.

I search for self-efficacy, now that I have a term for it, like it's an addiction and I'm looking for my next fix. 

What's important for me to remember as I continue to master my goals and lessens is to:
  •   have low expectations
  •   give myself an expandable time frame/pace myself
  •   to pat myself on the back along the way
  •   allow for setbacks.  
  •   relish in the moment of self-efficacy for it is mine and mine alone
  •   remember that I am awesome and totally, totally capable of accomplishing anything I desire 

I have the strength and courage to believe in myself.  I have the power to do so. It's a win-win situation.


Bobbi said...

I love this new word. You just taught me so much.

tanya said...

what do you mean you hated running when you were young? you're still young!!

Kerri said...

Thanks Tanya! I don't always feel young anymore...with all my aches and pains...i guess i should say younger.