Focus shifting

I like the idea of having a main focus for the whole year. Helps you concentrate on a single thing and make some measurable and lasting changes in your life.

Last year I was just out of a really long term relationship and I knew my dating skills aren’t what I want them to be. So I was quite focused on figuring out that part of my life. In my memory it was a fun experience: I remember chasing girls on the beach, chasing girls on the street and in cafes, having plenty of fun dates and some other experiences I am not going talk about here. :)

But the reality is, things didn’t start getting fun until around July-August even though I had set the intention around January.

This year my goal is to create more financial abundance and develop business skills, that will end up supporting a more (care)free, inspired and joyful lifestyle.

While I made some progress over the last 8 months, I realize that my focus kept shifting back to my last year’s goal. Only now do I feel like I’m switching gears and focusing on my current goal.  

So it seems … and probably makes sense … that refocusing your mind is something that takes time.


I’ve been pondering why though. Why does it take so long to focus on a new goal?
First of all, I don’t focus easily so that’s certainly one reason :)
But also I think it’s about momentum. In both examples above, I was heading in certain direction for a long period of time and was putting a lot of energy into it. So for a while my mind just kept going towards the previous goal or the old status quo.

So how can I refocus quicker next time I need to?
-simply bringing awareness to the situation, simply realizing that there is such transitional period should help
-enjoy the transitional period. It’s fine for a month or two, I’ll just let my mind adjust to change gradually
-to actually make the change I’ll make thinking of the old goal a trigger to start thinking of the new one. In other words, whenever I catch myself making plans and taking action that support an old goal, I have to actively start thinking and acting on the new one. I’ve been doing this lately and it works well. Wish I had started doing it earlier. :)
-finally I could also figure out other things that often cross my mind  and make them triggers to think of my main goal as well.

Rome wasn’t built in a day - defeating the “I want it now” attitude

Nothing complicated here - big, worthwhile goals tend to require sustained effort over a (usually long) period of time. It takes some stumbling around and some failure to find the right path.

It’s our inability to keep things in perspective that makes it hard to sustain the effort.

How can we keep things in perspective?

Write goals down and break them down into smaller actionable steps!

I like to use a mind mapping software called xMind to display my goals and todos as a mind map. Then I color code each item to give me a visual overview of my progress. Red means I haven’t started yet, orange is 25% done, yellow 50%, blue 75% and green COMPLETED.

This is not the best example but I don’t have another one handy so it will have to do:

image

One of the things I don’t like about common TODO lists and software is that a task can be either finished or not, whereas in reality you can have done some work on it but not finished it 100%. With color coding and progress bars you get a better overview of how much you’ve actually accomplished and that should keep ya motivated.

I often draw such mind maps by hand so you don’t need a software.

Back to the actual topic at hand, worthwhile goals take time to accomplish so don’t kick yourself when your idea that will change the world is not realized by Friday. Enjoy the process and keep track of your progress. Keep stumbling in the dark until you find the light switch. It’s worth it!

Think of your personal development in terms of years, not days or weeks.

xoxo

Can you fix everything with food?

FOOD.

Have you noticed that lately there is a wide-spread school of thought preaching that you can fix everything with food?

Feeling tired? - Eat this, not that.
Depressed? - Eat this, not that.
Having trouble falling asleep? - Eat this, not that.
Having trouble waking up? - Eat this, not that.
Low self esteem? - Eat this, not that.
Wanna lose weight? - Eat this, not that.

OK, there is some truth to the last statement. :)

But there are so many wild theories how you can fix any personal problem with a change in your diet. The paleo maniacs tell you how meet and butter will boost your testosterone levels, grrrrrrrrrrahh!

Vegans insist you’ll finally find peace and tranquility if you only adopted their way of eating and chanted “om”.

I was a diet nut for a while and what I can say is this: overthinking your diet can stress you out. Which is ironic considering that a lot of these diets insist you’ll feel more confident and relaxed.

Bullshit.

Food is important and it can optimize your health. But for the most part personal, emotional and even physiological problems related to confidence, depression, stress, weight etc. boil down to your lifestyle. It comes down to how happy you’re with your life, to what extent you feel in control.

I  think we look to food because it has some effect but most of all because it’s inert and easy to control. It allows us to avoid the actual issues.

You’re depressed because your boss is a jerk.
You’re tired because someone tells you when to go to sleep and when to wake up.
You have no confidence because your partner is abusive.

(The above are common examples but I encourage you to do some soul searching and see what problems you’re avoiding.)

By believing that food or some other outside force is the source of all your major problem you allow yourself to not look the actual issues in the eye. It distracts you. But it doesn’t solve anything long-term

So, acknowledge your problems and look at them. Once you’re aware and conscious of what’s going on, start working out a real solution.

As I’ve written before I think the most sustainable approach is to start at the “edge of your comfort zone”. Find a problem that is slightly scary but also exciting and you can see the potential benefits of making a change. Start pushing the boundaries gently. The resulting expansion will allow you to tackle bigger problems and you’ll keep growing.

Keep growing! :)