Did you make a New Year’s resolutions? – perhaps you did or maybe like me you didn’t (click here if you missed my NY blog) and I’m wondering how things are going now we’re a few days into the New Year (can you believe it’s the 5th January already?!)
My 3 tips for getting and keeping focus
Whilst I’ve written the below in light of the New Year – you could easily apply it to any work, business, career, weight loss or other goals ….
1. What’s your ‘why’?
Behind any goal or objective you need to have a clear ‘Why’ – what is your reason for wanting to focus on this goal? Is in really compelling? On first glance you may think it’s obvious, but I encourage you to look a little deeper.
Take for example a weight loss/do more exercise type goal (the number 1 New Year’s resolution from an ITV poll yesterday) – whether your pledge was to hit the gym or watch your calories, are you clear about why you want this? – watching calories or going to the gym x number of days a week won’t itself be what motivates you to follow through – its just a task, another thing you have to do, think, worry about, (kick yourself about when you don’t get around to it – yep, I’ve been there too!) etc – the risk is that it sits on the to-do list like all the other things you should, could, have to do (and do things on the list always get done? – if yes, good for you, if no, then we need to think a bit smarter). The question you need to ask yourself if what does ‘x’ [insert goal] get for me? what won’t it get for me? what happens if I get it? what happens if I don’t? – somewhere in these questions you’ll start to understand if you’ve got a big enough ‘why’ (if you find yourself thinking – well … that’s a nice thing to do, but so are all these million other things – my challenge to you, is that perhaps you need to tweak or maybe even more fundamentally change something). If you can get so focused on your goal with a massive why behind it – it’s kinda like other things fall by the way-side.
2. Is your focus on motivating yourself towards something you want or away from what you don’t want?
On first glance, you might wonder what on earth I’m talking about – but bear with me … here we’re talking about motivation and the difference in language (in NLP we talk a lot about language, but today’s blog is not about that). Our unconscious mind is responsible for what motivates us and typically we will have a bias towards either being motivated towards what we want (e.g. to feel great, have tons of energy, be able to get into that size 12 dress, wear that bikini on the beach in the summer etc etc) or away from what we don’t want – at it’s most extreme – and often in negative language – the could look something like this …. I want to loose weight (which implies loss – our little brains don’t really like the idea of losing anything), avoid being ill, be able to get up in the morning, avoid heart disease etc (… you get my drift). That’s the science behind why many people struggle with New Year’s resolutions that are about stopping smoking, drinking less etc etc .. anyway I digress ….
Let’s take a different example associated with money – at an unconscious level you’ll either be motivated away from poverty or towards wealth and prosperity (or something along these lines). Now, most people in the UK have a bias for ‘away froms’ – so you’re not alone (unless of course your into NLP and if so, most likely you’ve changed all this so your bias is now towards). The challenge is that ‘away froms’ brings inconsistent results (like a sine wave) – because as you move away from ‘it’ the motivation starts to reduce (anyone remember Donald Trump – made his millions one day, lost it all the next?! – well, he was motivated away from poverty hence the up and down nature of his success in this area of his life).
In a work context it could be as simple as reframing an away from such as ‘I don’t want any customer complaints’ and saying instead ‘I want customers to be delighted with the service they receive’ – the funny thing about the brain is that what we focus on we get (and it’s not very good at processing negatives) – so it stands to reason that in the first statement your unconscious mind is going to be focusing on complaints (albeit avoiding them)- and if we want to increase our changes of success we need to reframe it!
So, for you and me – when it comes to motivation, motivate yourself towards what you want – you get much more momentum and more consistent results. Sometimes we can make a big difference by simply taking a goal and stating it in the positive (ideally committed to paper) and ensure it’s what you want (not what you don’t want).
3. Be kind to yourself – focus on rewarding yourself for progress
(ok, I get it, that last one was a bit heavy, but this one is about celebrating success) – as human beings we’re not often great at rewarding ourselves – stopping to recognise the progress we’ve made and giving ourselves a good old pat on the back. Some people get a warm feeling in side when others recognise their efforts and progress (if this is you, my tip for you is to make sure you share your goal with a few people and keep them updated in your progress so they can be there to cheer you on and help you celebrate). When was the last time you noticed someone else’s progress and paused for a moment to let them know you’ve noticed and say well done? (maybe today you could do that for someone?)
Ensure you set yourself mini goals that you can achieve them and when you do, give yourself a treat. May of you will know my weight loss story (if not, you can check it out here) – every time I hit a mini target on my way to my goal, I give myself a treat (often a spa treatment!) or get outside with my wonderful dog Rosey for an extra long walk up in the Brecon Hills here in Wales – whatever your reward, if you set your intention, focus on it, it’s surprising what a difference it can make.
So there you have it folks – 3 tips from me that will help you improve your focus!
Have a great day 🙂
Laura is passionate about helping people realise their potential, and achieve the results they deserve. If you’d like to find out more about Unleash Your Potential, you can check out our NLP courses, coaching options, and link up with us via our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter or link up with Laura via LinkedIn. You can of course also email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org