What Keeps You From Your Focus?
I wanted to talk a little about what might keep you from your focus this week. Last week I talked about what really helped me stay focused in 2020 but that doesn’t mean I lose focus ever. In fact this week, starting on Monday I lost focus. And the more I realized I had lost focus, the more I let limiting beliefs enter into my mind which only brought me to a place of complete unfocus and overwhelm.
Because it’s not helpful to just talk about what causes us to lose focus, I’m also giving suggestions to regain focus and clarity again. These are things that I’ve found helpful but of course you may have others and there are things that work for you better. I highly encourage you to figure out what helps you stay focused and what helps you break some of the limiting beliefs that take us away from our focus. Knowing these are essential to fighting the things that keep us from our goals.
Mindset is such an important part of being and staying focused. It can drive you away from who you are meant to be, and it can drive you closer to it. I’d say it’s the singular important aspect. Your mindset can come from a number of places, including what you tell yourself and what others say to you and how you interpret it. Obviously a negative mindset will keep you from your focus while a positive one can motivate and help propel you forward. But how do you ensure you can stay with a positive mindset?
First, stop complaining. For real. Even little complaints like ugh my hair is not behaving today and nothing I do will help it can bring you down and stop you from getting what you want done. Instead reframe that complaint to say my hair has a mind of it’s own today and I’m going to let it do it’s thing and see where it takes me! Suddenly that tiny shift of mind gives back 10 or 15 minutes of time I would’ve spent trying to fight my hair. That’s real.
But that’s a tiny thing. What about big complaints about big things that are happening in your life. Take those big complaints and definitely don’t speak them out loud but instead try reframing the complaint into a positive statement in your mind and believe it. It will save you much frustration, time, and you will be able to move forward on what you need to focus on. I might say this a lot because I believe it – if it isn’t a part of your focus then let it burn. If it is something that you are complaining about that is a part of your focus reframe it to the positive and see how you can resolve the issue when thinking positively vs negatively.
Second, people will always say things that cause you to stumble, second guess yourself, and quite frankly make you upset. Shoot, it can even be a comment that you don’t really agree with that suddenly has you fit to be tied and playing conversations in your head over and over again. Take stock of what that thing is someone else said – is it worth it. Is it truth. Is it just their opinion and yours happens to be different (hint – this is so very ok – we are all meant to be different and think differently (gasp!)). Let your differences lie and appreciate that person for their perspective. Can you reframe what they said into a positive? Can you allow what they said to fuel you into your focus. Some people need the fuel of people telling them they can’t do something in order for them to do it (my youngest does). The worst thing you can do is wallow in it and let it stall you out. Replace those thoughts with positive affirmations, with beliefs you have about yourself or the positive things others have said about you.
Basically this one is because you aren’t focused. You believe you have to do all of the things and do them well. I know this because I do this. I’ve tried to do everything and I really want to do everything mostly because I want to please others. I’m looking for approval. And when I falter at one thing I let it drag me down. Especially when that one thing has to do with my kids.
But here’s the truth: we all have the same amount of time everyday and we can’t do everything. If we try then we will fail at something. So we have to make hard choices and stick by our choices like slime stuck to the rug (I hate slime). We can’t look for approval from others – we will only disappoint somewhere. Choose what works within your focus and goals and let anything else burn. Unapologetically.
I am always the one to say yes if you ask me to help out – or at least I used to be. I am also the one to volunteer whenever volunteers are needed. I want to help. I actually love helping. But I can’t help everyone and I can’t say yes to everyone. Someone has to receive a no thank you at some point otherwise I will drive myself crazy, have none of my goals done, and probably displease some people because I can’t give 100% and will fail somewhere along the way. When I began to realize this I slowly cut back my yeses. Now I have a strict yes policy that allows me to keep my focus.
I get it. When you have a hundred things going on all day and plenty of people relying on you it is so easy to brush aside your goals and what you want to focus on. In fact you forget about them because you’ve been so busy with other stuff. Last week I talked about cutting back on distractions and how I did that but I want to add here that we have to write down our goals and what our focus should be. I have two ways I approach this: 1. I write it down and post it up on my vision board and above my computer screens. But because I’m not always there and because I tend to stop ‘looking’ at it, I also write down my vision and goals every single day in a journal. I do write down the goals I have for the day but what I mean is writing down your big vision and big goals every day. Over and over again. It takes 5 minutes but it reminds me everyday what my purpose is.
Fear, Overwhelm, and Intimidation
This is what I believe got me this past week. I became overwhelmed with what I wanted to do and how far I still need to go. Some art prints didn’t turn out as I hoped and I felt failure knocking in my head. I also let some seemingly unharmful comments others made to me scratch at my identity and suddenly I was in a place of questioning and verging on depression. I stagnated and couldn’t move, because I was unsure of where to move. Luckily I read something that jolted me into realization of what was going on. I decided to fight back by objectively deciding what went wrong with the prints, correcting them, setting myself on a learning path, then let the comments from others burn – they only had opinions and just because their opinions didn’t jive with mine shouldn’t be a stalemate for me.
Once again this is a mindset issue. Allowing any fears or a feeling that your focus and goals are overwhelming is detrimental. You can’t allow it and you have to fight back. No one else can do this – you have to find out what will get you on your feet and moving you forward. For me it’s sometimes music, sometimes it’s positive and motivational words from someone else and other times it’s sitting down and working out a path with small actionable steps. And remember it all can’t be done at once. But you can take one day at a time and focus on one thing a day.
I have a friend who 6 months ago announced she wanted to run a marathon. And she wanted to run it this winter some time. To me, that is a huge goal. A massive one that takes a lot of time and a lot of dedication. You can’t just go run 26 miles like you can a 5K. You will kill your body if you don’t train. I’ve never had the desire to run 26 miles (I was a middle distance runner so anything over 10 and I’ll laugh it off) so if anyone else does, I get stars in my eyes because I know the amount of work you have to put into it and for how long. I’m sure she could’ve dwelled on all of these thoughts herself, but she didn’t. She has built up a base of running for the past 6 months and has now worked up to running 16 miles. She has stayed focused and not let even sickness get in her way of completing her goal. Everyday she shows up for her goal. Everyday she takes care of her body and puts in the work. On days she can’t put all the work she planned, she puts in extra on the days she can. And because of that she will accomplish something many people never will.
The Grass is Greener
Man is it easy to look at anyone else and say, if I only I had the time like them. Or if only I had the talent they had. It’s so easy to do that. But I guarantee when you are looking at how easy it seems someone else has it, you didn’t see the hard stuff they had to go through to get it. Once again, it’s a mindset. It’s why I love reading about other’s stories. It gives me perspective that others are also in this, maybe not at the same point I am, but they are in this too, putting in what I am putting in and probably more. It’s a good reminder and motivational.
This week it would’ve been easy for me to completely go off the rails. I could’ve said I didn’t accomplish anything in my plan for the week, got off track on my monthly and 90 day plan, and therefore should let the monthly and 90 day plans go. I kind of still want to because that is soooo easy. Instead yesterday, I refocused and motivated myself to begin work again on my plan. I was also sick which only made me want to squander the time, but my goals are much more important. Falling behind on your plans is just an excuse not to follow through. If my friend running the marathon missed a day or two then decided it was too late to get back on track, she would never realize her goal. For me, I had to remember who I was and my purpose and work within that identity to refocus and get back to work.