A New Year for Positive Actions

A framed photo reads "Think Positive" on a wall at Community Alliance.

If you’re one to make New Year’s resolutions, there’s a popular line from the New York Times bestseller “Atomic Habits” that offers some wisdom in seeing them through.  

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.
Your goal is your desired outcome. Your system is the collection of daily habits that will get you there.

Goals are important. Goals are necessary. Goals help us visualize the lives we want to lead.

But goals don’t get us there. 

Habits do. Structures do. Actions do.

At Community Alliance, we have a mantra that speaks to that dynamic and informs our work at every level.

Positive Action. Positive Outcomes.

With a new year upon us, we asked a couple of our dedicated team members to reflect on how those four words inform our work and our clients’ paths to recovery.  

Susan Lensch, Vocational Services Manager, sees the progression of positive action into positive outcomes throughout her relationships with clients.

“I feel I’m in a unique position to be able to comment about real, tangible examples of positive action, positive outcomes because I work in the employment program,” she says. “We have so many people who come through our program who are living with a mental health diagnosis of some sort and are really wanting to take positive steps to improve their quality of life,” 

Susan recalls a Community Alliance client from more than 20 years ago whose vision of positive change included finding and keeping steady employment. With Community Alliance’s support, they landed a job at a bakery.

A couple years ago, after rejoining the Community Alliance team, Susan checked in on that client. Not only were they still working at the bakery, they were a thriving, valuable part of the business.

“I could probably come up with a gazillion different examples of what happens when somebody is taking a positive step in order to move forward in their life and do something good for them and positive for themselves,” she says. 

Setting the goal was the beginning. The most important aspect was determining the path — the incremental positive actions — to get there, and embracing the journey. Because when you focus on actions, habits and structures, you can overcome momentary setbacks. 

Energy and Commitment

“What positive action means to me and really within Community Alliance as an organization is the energy and commitment of our team to be and do the best for the clients we serve,” says Jen Muckey, Community Alliance Quality Improvement Manager. “How we do that is through our day-to-day work — our interactions with each other, with our clients, with their families. That day-to-day action [is how we] intentionally work to make sure our clients are able to achieve their goals.”

A key part to accomplishing big goals is to break them down into smaller, actionable pieces.

“When we look at what outcomes, we have to ask ourselves, what does that mean to the people we serve and their families?” Jen says. “An example could be they want to improve their relationships with their loved ones. How are we going to do that? We’re going to connect them to support systems, and we’re going to connect them with therapists and providers who are going to help them establish those relationships.”

And each step toward each goal deserves recognition.

“We have to celebrate the process to get there.” 

It’s a reminder you’ll find all over Community Alliance. And one to keep in mind, and employ yourself, as you enter a new year.

Positive Action. Positive Outcomes.