Breaking Free – March 2010 – Staying Focused

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Staying Focused on Your Goals

Did you watch the Olympics last month? I typically watch off and on but am truthfully more interested in the stories about the athletes than I am about the outcome of the events.

Those athletes are very gifted and very dedicated to their sports. They have stayed focused on their goals for many, many years. Yet, here it is March and many folks who made New Years resolutions or set new goals for 2010 have already given up. Are you one of those people that have given up on a goal that you just set a couple months ago? You are not alone.

Losing Focus

What has caused you to lose focus on your dreams? As you may know, in my coaching practice, I help folks analyze their thinking and valuing habits. Many times your most out-of-balance thoughts get in the way of you achieving your success.

Those out-of-balance thoughts are valuing habits that filter out some of the information that you need to make good decisions. For instance, let’s say that you were going to workout three times a week in order to lose weight and be healthier. But, you’ve gotten a little off track. What does your mind tell you?

  • If your Practical Judgment is out-of-balance, you may hear thoughts like “It’s not that important.” or “I don’t have the time for that today.”
  • If your Systems Thinking is out-of-balance, you may hear “I don’t feel like it.” or “This will never work.”
  • If it’s your Self Esteem that’s out-of-balance, you may hear thoughts like “I knew I couldn’t do it.” or “This just isn’t worth it for me.” or “I can’t spend that time on me; that would be selfish.”
  • If it’s your Self Direction that’s getting in the way, you may hear thoughts like “If I can’t be perfect, it’s not worth it.” or “My dream is so far away I can’t see how this is going to help me get there.”

When you focus on the thoughts from these (out-of-balance) perspectives, you will lose focus on who you want to become and what you want to achieve. You may want to read the previous months’ newsletters again to remind yourself of a better way to set and achieve your goals. If you used the goal setting process that we outlined in January and February newsletters you will be focused on WHO you want to become, not just WHAT you want to or have to do.

Refocusing

Refocus by concentrating on who you want to become. Do you really want to become a heatlhy person? If so, why?  How does becoming fit help you to achieve your purpose in life?

You can’t help but do the things that you believe add the most value to your life at that moment. Your brain is hard-wired that way. Yet, you may say that you see the value in working out three times a week. But at the moment that you decide not to do it, something else has become more valuable to you. You make thousands of value judgments every day. You choose one thing over others many times in an hour. Yet, how focused are you on the little decisions?

Og Mandino writes, “Henceforth, I will consider each day’s effort as but one blow of my blade against a mighty oak. The first blow may cause not a tremor in the wood, nor the second, nor the third. Each blow, of itself, may be trifling and seem of no consequence. Yet from childish swipes the oak will eventually tumble. So it will be with my efforts of today.

“I will be liken to the raindrop which washes away the mountain; the ant who devours a tiger; the star which brightens the earth; the slave who builds a pyramid. I will build my castle one brick at a time for I know that small attempts, repeated will complete any undertaking.”

Refocus on the LITTLE things that you need to do to reach your goal.  Set yourself up for success by focusing on ADDING value in all of your actions.

Courage to Stay Committed

I started out talking about the Olympics because one story of the games was that of Petra Majdic, pronouced pee-tra my-ditch. She is one of the best cross country sprint skiiers in the world and lives in Brinje, Slovenia. In the warmup for her event, she went off course into a 10 foot deep ravine.

majdic
Photo from http://www.nbcolympics.com/

She took a very hard fall. However, she was helped up by others, got back on course and qualified for her event.

majdic2
Photo from http://www.nbcolympics.com/

Afterwards, she was taken to the hospital. (Later it would be revealed that she had suffered 4 broken ribs and a collapsed lung in that fall.)

However, that’s not the end of the story. Petra returned to compete and qualify for the finals of her event. Not only did she stay focused on her goal but she won the bronze medal.

majdic3
Photo from http://www.nbcolympics.com/

That’s her on the right (#19).

Oh sure, you might say, Petra had the courage to stay committed because she was at the Olympics. I think she was at the Olympics because of her courage to stay committed to who she wants to become.

As Og Mandino writes: “I will act now. I will not avoid the tasks of today and charge them to tomorrow for I know that tomorrow never comes. Let me act now even though my actions may not bring happiness or success for it is better to act and fail than not to act and flounder. Happiness, in truth, may not be the fruit plucked by my action yet without action all fruit will die on the vine.

Courage comes from Values

There is a mathematical hierarchy of value. It’s the natural law of value.  Just like gravity is a natural law, values, valuing and value judgments fall under natural laws and principles. Even if you don’t know the reasons behind gravity, you still feel its affects. The same is true of valuing.

If your mind values loyalty over compassion or comfort over integrity, whether you know it or not, your mind is not aligned with the natural laws of value. When you’re not aligned with the natural laws, you will find your mind arguing with itself.  “I should go workout today, but I’m tired. I had a busy day at work. Maybe the workout will help me reduce stress. But, I’m really hungry. Maybe I’ll do it after dinner.”

Indecisive, back-and-forth thinking and valuing diminishes your courage.

What if you knew which of your valuing habits were in line with the natural laws of value? What if you could consciously go to those thoughts when you made your decisions?

If you knew that you knew that you knew that your health was more important than a feeling, would you even entertain the thought of “I don’t feel like it.”?  If you were 100% certain that empathy was more important than perfection, would you hesitate to reach out to another even if you weren’t sure you could help (perfectly)?

Take a New Perspective

Don’t keep focusing on the thoughts that don’t work. Try new ones! For instance, some people hate doing their taxes so they procrastinate. They think about doing their taxes for hours but don’t act on it. What a waste of time. Og says “Procrastination is born of fear…” Many folks are afraid of doing their taxes wrong. They focus on the risks and the things that can go bad instead of taking a fresh perspective… one aligned with their balanced thinking and valuing habits.

What’s my perspective? (This works for my brain, but may not work for yours.) I am so blessed to live in what I believe to be the greatest country on the planet. Although I don’t always agree with how the government is spending the money that I send to Washington, I see our military personnel around the city and in the airports that I travel. I choose to take the perspective that my tax dollars are paying for them. We would not be a free nation if men and women were not willing to take a stand and offer their lives in defense of this country. To them, I will gladly pay my taxes. From this perspective, I make the time to get my papers in order and proudly (not fearfully) file my 1040.

Final Thoughts for You

  • Understand your natural strengths and balanced valuing habits. (Please try a free assessment and schedule a free consultation to talk about your results.)
  • Use your strengths to take a closer look at your goals.
  • Take a fresh perspective on your goals that are aligned with your strengths.
  • Staying focused takes courage and courage requires that you understand VALUE – the natural laws of value.
  • Become value-centered in your approach to life and your goals will take you to your dreams.

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