When you wake up in the morning where is your focus? Are you focusing on how tired, exhausted or stressed you are? How do you think your day turn out if this is your focus to start with?
Where is your focus when it comes to doing something you don’t want to do? Is it on how hard the task is or that you could be doing something better with your time? What if your focus was on how easy that task is going to be?
When you are going to the gym, is your focus on “I have to go to the gym to lose weight” or is it “I get to go to the gym to have me time and I know I will feel amazing afterwards”? Two very different focuses which will result in a positive or negative mindset.
“I get to” vs “I have to”
Two contrasting statements that will change what you focus on. Think about how often in your day you say the words “I have to”. What would happen to your thoughts about that event or situation if you changed that statement to “I get to”. Here are some good examples:
· “I have to go to work” vs “I get to go to work to…..”
· “I have to go out tonight” vs “I get to go out tonight to spend some quality time with my friends”
· “I have to cook dinner” vs “I get to cook a beautiful dinner for my family”
Training your focus is like training any muscle in the body. You cannot train it once and expect it to be strong. You need to be consistently training your focus as our brains are wired in what’s called a negative bias. Self-awareness is the first step! Next time catch yourself when you say “I have to” and turn it into “I get to” and see what slowly starts to change with your mindset.
Take a moment to think about previous events….
Another way to become self-aware around your focus is to take a moment to think of all the times you felt angry or frustrated over the past month. Write down each event or situation. Next to each event or situation, write down whether you were focusing on your own thoughts, feelings, and actions at the time, or on events or people beyond your control. For example the event might be sitting in traffic, your focus might be other drivers going to slow. If you had shifted your focus to you, you would have been in greater charge of those situations. In the example above a more productive use of your time (instead of feeling frustrated by the traffic) could have been to think about your upcoming meeting and what you wanted to achieve.
Now think about the events above and write down how you would have preferred to think, feel, and act in each of these events, so that you would have felt more in charge of those situations. Next time you are in any of the above situations remember to focus on yourself instead.
So many people want to change how they feel, but they don’t know how. The fastest way to change how you feel about anything is to change what you’re focusing on.
Even if things are tough, you’ve got to focus on what you can do, on what you can control. Hopefully you can see why focus is so important. It controls how you see the world and what you do about it.