Asset-Based Thinking

It’s not unusual to want to skip a workout, or heck naw, not even want to get moving at all. Everyone has a bad day now and then. Even a bad week or month. We have to have a positive outlook, and—most importantly—personal goals toward a bigger purpose to Keep At It.

Positive thinking and positive vibes have gotten a bad rap somewhere along the line, but I’m not talking about some woo-woo form of enlightenment.

It’s a mindful effort toward authentic happiness that’s backed by research and science. Just think of what could be possible if we focus our attention on:

  • Opportunities rather than problems
  • Strengths more than weaknesses
  • What can be done instead of what can’t

This is the premise behind asset-based thinking. Asset-based thinking is a revolutionary simple way of shifting our perception and thoughts that lead to positive change. The concept was developed by Dr. Kathy Cramer who says, “When you change the way you see things, the things you see change.”

Everyday we’re bombarded with negative news of some sort. It’s easy to become preoccupied with problems and focus on the wrong stuff. We need the the right stuff—the things that lift us up and make our spirits soar! Negative thoughts are draining and dampen our enthusiasm and motivation. We can’t have that if we want to hit our goals!

I’m a happy person and I love life. I’ve also had my fair share of bad days. The pit we sometimes fall or get pushed into isn’t going to stop me. I’ve worked damn hard to climb my way out. Right now, my body’s strong and I’m doing fine. I’m mega grateful for this, so I make a conscious decision to see things in a positive way. 

But if you’re feeling terrible, the term “positive thinking” can sound like a punch in the gut.

So how about asset-based thinking instead?

When you begin with a rock-solid foundation of positive thoughts (as opposed to negative), you increase your belief and activity towards a desired goal.


Many people don’t realize that positive thinking isn’t only about the thoughts. It’s about taking action.

I understand that it’s hard to find joy until you feel relief, but we can’t let a setback mess up a well-planned goal and routine. The key is not to emphasize what’s going wrong, but to come up with solutions for those specific problems. A solution that’s realistic and doable. A solution that can bring you the smallest amount of relief and joy in the moment. It’s important for so many reasons to march onward. Feeling good is dependent on it!

So what makes you tick? What kind of workout gets you inspired? The kind of intriguing exercise that is all about YOU. It might be Pilates, or running in the rain. You may have a wonderful gym or live near beautiful hiking trails, but simply need a push from someone to get there. Any YouTube video can get you started, and there are proper how-to’s all over the internet by trained professionals. I personally like working out alone, but have a buddy who keeps me accountable with regular check-ins.

Your home can easily be a gym with as simple as creating a kick-(asset-based) playlist.

Music does wonders for the spirit. Make a kick-ass playlist that absolutely delights you. Choose your favorites that get you motivated and moving. If you work at home, have it playing while you load the dishwasher, or fold clothes, and take breaks from those mundane chores and dance! Maybe your kids will dance with you. If you have an office job, keep some free weights on your desk to make it easy.

You can start slow and do reps at different times throughout the day. I chose weights that delight me, too. I love the colors and the way they feel in my hands. I use 5- and 10-lb weights and do 22 reps of everything! It’s my lucky number. 🙂 I had to work my way up to it. I also have a specific schedule I adhere to. Before work, after work, during work, lunch break walks, 15 minute stretch sessions, whatever you can prioritize. Oh, and always carry water.

When I was swimming laps, I would use a lap counter and take photos of the numbers as they went up and text them to a friend. This changed my life. Me alone working out, no judgments, and knowing I told someone what I was doing kept me legit to hit my goals and increase my numbers. Some people don’t need encouragement or support, but it’s kind of like keeping the chips in the pantry and not eating them. It’s WILLPOWER (which is another goal in and of itself).

Here’s who I love to stay healthy with:

Archie Bell
Otis Redding
The Staple Singers
Dusty Springfield
Mumford and Sons
George Ezra
Engelbert Humperdinck
Tom Jones
Shawn Mendes
ZZ Top

Make your special playlist. Name it something fun. Keep your list diverse for whatever mood you’re in. Choose specific songs for warm up, and others to get the blood moving. Hey Jude is a great weights workout song because it’s 7 minutes, so don’t stop until it’s over! Plus it’s an epic song. 

“You’re waiting for someone to perform with
And don’t you know that it’s just you, hey Jude, you’ll do
The movement you need is on your shoulder”

Lots of extra meaning and inspiration there, right?!!

Get some weights on Amazon and have them staring at you. Shoot, now you have a gym in your office or kitchen. You’re officially a badass! Play AC/DC’s She’s Got Balls and use your exercise ball. Make it so fun that you absolutely LOVE IT.

Don’t stop until you hit your goals. And most important is to have them be YOUR goals.

This is about getting healthy and not trying to be anything but strong and to feel pure wellness. Look at yourself and the world through the eyes of what is working, what strengths are present, and what your potentials are. You unconditionally love yourself and that’s why you do this. It’s not I’ll love myself if I do this.

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Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Recognize setbacks as a sign something is happening. Our instant gratification culture has folks giving up too soon, and asset-based thinking is no quick fix. It seeks opportunities to convert setbacks into learning. These learning opportunities can then be used in achieving our long-term goals—which takes discipline.

I worked on my assets and did my exercise my way. I cut portions, followed the 80/20 rule, drank a lot of water and then (drum roll…), sent 22 lbs packin’. And I’m keeping at it. Those lbs were messin’ with my peace and I sweetly said goodbye to them. Discipline to go the distance!