The Importance of Focus
Last week we focused on not making excuses. Let’s shift our focus and understand what is required to avoid being in situations where we feel the need to make an excuse.
By now you know we only ever do one thing: what we believe to be most important in the moment.
Sometimes, as what seems like a cruel joke, the very thing that seemed so important at the time, is relegated to the very bottom of the importance scale leaving us to deal with the consequences of our earlier choice.
Not following me, perhaps this sounds familiar; you come home at the end of a long, busy and difficult day. It is also a day on which you have made a commitment to go to the gym and work out.
But, working out is the very last thing you feel like doing. What you really want to do is collapse onto the couch, partake in some alcoholic pick-me-up, turn on the TV and allow yourself to sink into mindless inactivity.
Which is precisely what you do, because in that moment of decision, couch time was more important than gym time.
Then you remembered that this was the third time this month you had made similar decisions.
And to your knowledge no one’s ever gotten in shape by lying on their couch.
While not always rational beings, humans are unquestionably rationalizing beings and you have justified (made an excuse) to yourself each time you have done this as a way of explaining why you allowed yourself to talk yourself out of doing the very thing you had earlier committed to yourself that you would do.
So, of course, if you would like to place yourself in a position where you no longer feel the need to make excuses, to yourself or others, here is a course of action that will go a long way to helping you stay on your chosen track.
It's About Focus
Please remember it is our emotions that play an enormous role in what we do, or don’t do, and it is what we are focusing on that has the greatest impact on our emotions.
Which means, if we change what we are focusing on, we change our emotional state and consequently, our actions.
Let’s revisit our earlier experience of coming home and crashing on the couch.
Our focus was how tired and stressed we were feeling at that moment and those feelings magnetically drew us to the couch.
Now imagine how different our response might’ve been if our focus was on looking forward to going to the gym, pushing ourselves hard and feeling really accomplished when we left.
More than likely we would have made a different choice and gone to the gym.
There are three questions I encourage my clients to ask themselves constantly throughout each day.
“What am I focusing on right now?” This question brings to our conscious awareness precisely what we are focusing on how we feel.
Ask 3 Questions
“Is it (what I’m focusing on) movingly towards, or away from, where I want to be?” The intent behind this question is self-evident. If the answer is yes, then we simply continue with what we are doing. If the answer is no, we ask ourselves the third question.
“Where should I direct my focus right now?” And this is where we start thinking favourably about visits to the gym and how good we will feel about ourselves afterwards.
This is a simple yet powerful process. Feedback from many clients has confirmed to me that this is an excellent way of keeping ourselves away from situations where we may feel the need to make excuses to ourselves or to others.
The Habit of Asking the Three Questions has helped me stay on track and will do the same for you.
What we are focusing on in the moment is who we are in the moment and the simplest way to make a change in who we are is to shift our focus.
And to do so requires far less energy and creativity than is needed to make up yet another excuse.
Try this simple method for just one week, then let me know how well this has worked for you.
I am anxious to hear your victories.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.