How to Build and Flex Your Resilience Muscle

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution? If so, then you know the struggle with trying to meet the high bar you set for yourself as the clock struck midnight on Dec. 31. 

According to an article in the New York Post in 2020, 68% of Americans don’t even make it to February 1st  before their New Year’s resolutions fizzle. Will that be you?

We may not always meet the lofty standards or hit our highest goals the first time out. But that doesn’t mean we stop setting them… or stop trying. We aren’t defeated when we fail – not when we are truly resilient. 

Getting Through the Ups & Downs

Sticking to your New Year’s resolution is tough. You’re going to have your ups and downs. Resilience will help you get through those ups and downs, providing a reservoir of willpower and stamina to stay in the game. 

But, don’t be mistaken. Like your physical wellness, resilience is not a static state of being or a destination to which you arrive and remain. Your resilience naturally fluctuates due to the circumstances of a crisis, other challenges you are concurrently dealing with, and where you are in your response to the challenge emotionally, psychologically, and even physically at a given point in time. 

Your Resilience Workout Plan

Step 1. Set an Intention

Resilience is a muscle that we must constantly work to strengthen and improve or it atrophies. You have to work at it, intentionally, especially during those toughest times when you’re ready to give up or give in.

Much like your heart, resilience is a muscle that you have to build up and take care of in order to stay in the best possible mental shape. 

Ensuring a healthy heart requires you to eat well, exercise, avoid smoking, and forgo other habits that could damage it. You don’t wait until you have heart trouble to try and build up your heart muscle. Once you’ve had a heart attack, the heart muscle is weaker, and it is much harder to build its strength back up. Building your heart muscle requires that you work on keeping it healthy when you are well, to build up the strength to prevent heart problems, or minimize the degree of damage and illness that a heart issue could cause. 

Resilience works the same way. You keep working on it, during good times and bad, so that when you face the next challenge or a setback, it’s there for you. 

Step 2. Actually Do the Exercises

Your resilience builds through practice – even when times are not tough – so that your habits formed around the Resilience Ready Principles are ingrained when tough times emerge and you need them. Learn about each of the principles (see Chapter 4 of Resilience Ready: The Leader’s Guide to Thriving Through Unrelenting Crises for more details on the Resilience Ready Principles). And, work through the exercises provided in the Resilience Ready book and the companion workbook. These resources will guide you in making the practice around these principles a natural part of how you respond in challenging situations. 

If you don’t continue to work on growing your resilience, you’ll find yourself stuck in the Victim Stage, Settled Stage, or Surviving Stage (see Chapter 3 of Resilience Ready: The Leader’s Guide to Thriving Through Unrelenting Crises for more details on the Stages of Internal Crisis Response), responding from persistent fear and lack of control. 

Rock Your Resolution!

The past few years have been difficult both personally and professionally for most of us. And undoubtedly the next 12 months will continue to have challenges.

Being Resilience Ready is the way you can lead yourself, and your team, through these challenges and come out the other side stronger than ever. 

Build and flex your resilience muscle. And, rock your resolution or any goal you strive for! I’ve given you the roadmap. You can do this!


She’s a woman on a mission, prepped and ready to help you create resilient leaders and a workplace that is poised to succeed. Having weathered her fair share of corporate and career crises of all sizes, Vivian Blade MBA, MBB, PMP, is a global leadership expert and thought leader who equips leaders with the resilience that inspires teams to recover quickly in the face of ongoing disruption and thrive in spite of insurmountable odds.

Vivian empowers leaders and organizations as a frequent keynote speaker for association conferences and in delivering transformative leadership development programs, executive coaching and consulting for corporations.

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