It can feel like we're swept up in the tides of life being carried on this current or that. There are so many things that come at us that we 'need' to deal with - additional pressure from Senior Management, having to be better, do more...Working with complex clients...expectations from spouses, or family members...dealing with your own ambitious expectations of yourself...trying to find a balance between striving and achieving goals and just living and taking one day at a time.
Is it possible to do both?
And now, this post is coming out at the beginning of a New Year, when we think of new goals and how we want things to be different. We have the optimism that THIS is THE year that it will be different, but in our heart there's the sinking feeling that...what if it won't be? What if it will all be the same?
Where do I focus in order to accomplish what I want?
Here are some ways to ensure that you are focussing on the right things and making the transformative change in your life, work, relationships that you'd like to:
1. What you feed, grows.
First off, even though it feels like things are tough, our situation often isn't as bad or as dire as we might make them out to be. If we focus on the negative that happens or feeling like we don't have any control over our situation, you're letting yourself be a victim in your own life. A supporting character rather than the lead in your own story. Practice finding, in each day, in each situation, in each expectation something to be grateful for.
What you feed, grows. If you feed the difficulties, the challenges, the negativity, this is what grows. If you feed feelings of appreciation, of possibilities, and gratitude these will grow.
This can completely change your mindset and shift your perspective and can feel incredibly empowering.
2. You have more control than you think.
Everything you do is a choice. If you feel like there's so much to do and you put off making decisions, know that 'not' making a decision is still a choice. You choose to be swept up or not. Sometimes, it's the easiest choice not a resist the tides and all that come with it, but it's still a choice.
Choose one or two things that will be priorities for you at a given time. Make a plan to tend to those 1 or 2 things above all else. So, whether you apply this to your day, your week or month, this is a highly effective strategy to ensure you're making headway on the things that are important to you with all that's going on around you.
3. Limit the distractions.
So many of us have gone into the time warp that is Facebook. If you're not on Facebook, you know how much time a chatty colleague can take up or your latest app, or Netflix. While there's absolute value (and fun!) in these, I think it's fair to say without boundaries, these distractions take us away from other important people and projects in our lives.
Make time for your fun distractions or other welcome breaks but set a time limit! Decide how much time you're going to spend browsing your feeds or use it as a reward after you get some solid work done, that workout in or an important conversation you've been needing - or wanting - to have.
4. Live your Values
One of the keys to happiness and fulfillment that I have learned is aligning your values with your time. When we are aligned to our values, we have a higher level of satisfaction with how we've spent our efforts.
How do you know what your values are?
You can make a list of action values, in order of priority, of where you most want to spend your time (friends, family, spiritual, exercise, work, play, self-care). Where do you spend most of your time now? Where to you WANT to spend more time or place more focus? What changes would you need to make to to prioritize your efforts?
Then list the character values that are important to you (communication, learning, creativity, adventure, work ethic, empathy, fairness, stability, teaching, etc -- this list can as long as you want. Don't limit yourself when creating your list!). Then, distill the list down to your top 5, then top 3, then your top value.
Once you have your lists in order - ask yourself, what do your values need to be, to BE your BEST self? Look at your list and see if the order of your action values and your character values need to change for you to BE your BEST self.
Tony Robbins is a proponent of re-prioritizing your values to make sustainable changes and support personal growth. This helps to elevate the changes and impact you can make and can take your goals to a whole other level.
Through practicing gratitude and appreciation, understanding the choices you make, limiting distractions and aligning what you do and WHO you are with your values, you're laying the foundation to find the focus you're looking for.
Through living with intention, and applying your focus to the areas in your life that matter to you, my prediction is that you will thrive in ways you didn't know were possible.
All the best for a wonderful 2017!
NOW is YOUR time.
PS: If you'd like to explore any of these concepts more deeply, I invite you for a consultation where you'll come away with your next best step in creating what's possible for you. Connect with me.