This time of year, many try to look forward and plan for a better, more bountiful future. We want better relationships with family, and more time with them. We want to be skinnier, healthier, prettier, richer, and calmer. This makes it very important to ask the question above. Why?
What you focus on grows. Have you heard that? Is it true? Those are good questions. If it is true that would mean that if we look at, think about, and dwell on things in the past, we are not moving forward in our lives. If it is not true, then it doesn’t matter what you think, feel or do.
So, let’s ponder this question for a few minutes. Why does it matter? If you are trying to accomplish something in your life, wouldn’t it help to know if your attitude matters? I mean, if you want to lose weight, or start an exercise program, or get a project done, or progress in your career, what if you could control the degree of success you will experience? It seems that our world is designed to make things as difficult as possible while giving us the impression that it will all be okay. Fast food is an example. How so? In a couple minutes you can have what some say is a multi course meal that has very little nutritional value and has been shown to increase your risk of illness and disease. And we are told that this is the only solution for a busy, working, overwhelmed person. Is that true? No! There are many quick and easy meals that will nourish your body and actually help prevent illness and disease. (check out my website for quick meal ideas.)
But we have good intentions. We set goals for ourselves. Big lofty goals. And jump in full force in order to accomplish them. Then they fall apart. Is it the goal that is the problem? Sometimes. But it is also possible that our approach to growing, doing, and being is focused in the wrong direction.
- Do you find yourself saying any of the following?
- When I was young, this wouldn’t have happened…
- Because of that horrible experience, I will never be able to ….
- That’s the way it’s always been….
- I failed before; therefore I can’t succeed at….
- It was meant to be this way, look at my mom or dad or brother, etc ….
- If it was meant to be, it would be easier than this.
You are not the same person that you were yesterday. Not to mention that you are not the same person you were a year ago, 5 yrs ago, 10 yrs ago, etc. And simply because something happened to you or a family member, does not mean you will experience the same thing again.
So, what do you think about? Do you focus on what has already happened to you? Or are you looking at all the great things you will do and be in the days and years to come?
One of the ways that you can look forward is to set your goals to enhance your strengths. What are you good at? REALLY good at? If you are not sure, you can take a “strengths” test at:
Why not focus on a weakness and try to improve that? Well, that may work. Or it may prove to be more discouraging and frustrating if you do not completely rectify the weakness. When you think about a negative, you start out in a downtrodden place and try to dig yourself out. When you focus on something you are already good at and try to improve it or try to manifest it more of the time what happens? You start the process in a good place. You already feel good about yourself and what you are doing. Then because you are doing these things more, you stay in that happy, content, ‘feel good about me’ state more and more. How great does that sound?
What about the weaknesses you have? I am not giving you license to stop trying to be a better person. But if you are doing what you are good at more often, what happens to the things you are not so good at? You will find yourself not doing them as often. And when you do need to step into the ‘I’m not so good at that’ section, you will find that your strengths will help you figure it out. And you will have the confidence to admit that it is not your best area and to ask for help. I mean, what REALLY is the problem with not being perfect at EVERYTHING? You would not fault anyone else for not being great at something. So, give yourself the same care and courtesy.
Another area to look at is our thinking. We (as humans) are extremely intelligent. So much so, that we can convince ourselves of anything. This can be a very good thing. But many times we get into a rut of negative thinking that can actually push us backwards preventing us from achieving (or even wanting to achieve) the wonderful goals we have set for ourselves and our lives. What are some of these negative thought processes? According to Karen Reivich, PhD and Andrew Shatte’, PhD in their book “The Resilience Factor” here are a list of 8 Thinking Traps:
- Jumping to Conclusions
- Tunnel Vision
- Magnifying and Minimizing
- Mind Reading
- Emotional Reasoning
I must admit that when I first read this list, there were a few traps that I said; Oh, that’s NOT me. But, as I read the definitions and habits of each, I found that those were the very ones I needed to work on first. The same may be true for you.
When you set your goals for next year, please put an action plan in place for each one. Then review each one to see if you they are reasonable, achievable, and forward thinking. If not, you may need to revise your list. And more importantly, as you go through your year please revisit these action plans to see if you are still moving forward or if one of the Thinking Traps has grabbed a hold of you. Climbing out of these traps may not be easy, but the freedom you will feel once you have mastered your thinking will be exhilarating. And there will be nothing stopping you from becoming the person you are meant to be.
Come, let’s reach into the future and free ourselves of the weights of the past!!!
Want to learn more? Join me for one of my Workshops. We will systematically walk toward healthier lives as we detox, slim down, eat healthier, move our bodies, and learn to love ourselves.