You know that little voice inside your head that’s telling you to quit? That voice is not you. It’s the old you. In fact, it doesn’t even know the awesome new you that’s on this journey to being the best you that you’ve ever been.
Do you struggle with focus? Are you overwhelmed by trying to do too much? Do you often think, “I have to be that perfect all the time and any slip up just means I’m a failure and shouldn’t even bother trying?” Do you get discouraged when you waste all your willpower trying to do 100 things perfect instead of one thing better? Do you quit when you can’t see your own progress through all the distractions?
If this sounds like you – Here are some of the tools to help you stay focused on your journey.
It seems odd to think that the most audacious achievements come down to starting with a single habit, but it’s true. Work on one habit. One short-term goal with 100% focus on the process.
You need to see you’re getting better at something. You need to keep track of that one habit and see the numbers start to add up. A visual aid of seeing yourself working on forming a new habit helps to make it real and tangible. It is as easy as using a calender or even a tablet and just put a check mark or even a smiley face on the days you remembered to work on the new habit. This record also serves as a way to improve. If at the end of the week you see that you only worked on your habit change two days that week, it will serve to remind you to step it up a bit.
The key to moving forward is to keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how small that footstep is. You maintain the cadence, but you change the distance. So no matter how tired you are, you rely on the rhythm to keep you moving forward. You can always adjust. If one week you find your schedule is just too hectic to accomplish your task as you planed, cut back a little so you can still go forward even if you don’t go the full distance as before. This way you are still in the frame of mind of accomplishing your task, but making adjustments when needed. This will keep you from adopting the “ALL OR NOTHING” attitude, which can lead to quitting altogether. Remember it is not about being perfect, it is about making small improvements and moving forward. If your task is to walk every day for an hour but the week is too hectic for a hour walk, try cutting the walk down to 30 minutes or even splitting the walking time into 10 or 15 minutes bouts of movement. Or for example if you are working on eating colorful veggies at every meal, but you know you have a crazy day ahead of you, just hit ONE meal. Keep the focus and moving forward.
If there’s a day when you did not get any colorful vegetables, sit down and make a plan for how to avoid this situation the future. Did you forget to buy them? Chop them? How did you get here? Going through that process of learning and planning might even be more valuable that getting all your veggies that day. What one thing could you change to prevent that from happening again? So stay focused on learning and keep moving forward.
Get in the habit of asking yourself these questions at the beginning of every day “what is my focus today? And do I have what I need or the time to accomplish this task? and third what adjustments (if any) do I need to make to keep moving forward?” And at the end of every day “What did I do well today? What did I learn today?” These questions will help you to stay focused on what you are doing and learning that is getting you closer to being your best self. The process of putting one foot in front of the other.
I’m not going to lie, you’ll hear that voice from time to time. But by saying focused on the process and always remembering there’s a way forward, it’ll mean less and less when it pops up. You can’t stop that old voice from speaking up, but you can learn to ignore it. It’s just not who you are any more.