5 Ways to Stay Focused through Change
I knew the 4th quarter was going to be a challenge. I made some major decisions earlier this fall and the financial, emotional and social effects had been settling in. Though I prepared myself mentally – at least I thought I did – I’d been in a rut. I call it my funk. I’ve been here before. My brain knows what needs to be done and there’s really no practical reason why I can’t do it. But my motivation isn’t there. It’s as though I am tied down, unable to move. My intelligence tells me I can reach the finish line with ease, but the rest of me says I have to wait for a certain day and time to do so – that change must occur in a certain order. So rather than sprinting like I normally do, eager to establish the next finish line, I’m stuck staring at the finish line, and then looking at the clock…and then the finish line…and then the clock. And I get angry with myself because I’m wasting time!
I’ve been focusing on my mindfulness efforts for some time now, and I know I have made progress. But I gotta admit, as I become more familiar with my triggers, I also realize the effort it takes to avoid slipping into familiar territory. I have to fight to take a different route!
So what has made getting out of this funk different?
Deep down, I know the end game is more meaningful.
When we get caught paying attention to the immediate instead of the important, we lose our way.
It’s like the recent snowfall here in Chicago. If we didn’t shovel the snow off the sidewalk, walkers would end up in the grass - in the dog poop that was forgotten!
Here are ways I regained my focus and got out of my funk.
Remember why you made the decision to change. I sat for an hour reading over all the essays and worksheets, the random notes and the quotes I captured when I started down this path. With each one I read, I became a little less tied down. I felt a little more free. It reminded me why I made my decision – why I’m on this path.
Be grateful. I took a minute to be grateful I have something to be excited about. I’m heading down a new path with new adventures, and that is exciting! Yes, it’s scary too (ask my stomach!), but it is for good reason, and I’m grateful I had the guts to make the decision in the first place.
Identify small successes. I took another minute to recognize what I’ve already done. The classes, the retreat, the opportunity to meet my speakers for May, and the continuing education. None have resulted in what I would consider complete success – my retreat hasn’t sold out yet – but man will it be amazing!
Do something – no matter how small – to establish momentum again. For me, it was being creative. I forgot how much I loved posting to Instagram each week – how I loved the opportunity to be creative with my message. So I went out in the snow and took photos for upcoming posts, writing down possible messages to go with it. And I thought of a new idea and did a little research.
Purposely choose the new path over the old – at least once a day, and work your way to twice, and then three times, etc…I purposely chose not to do something so that I could write this blog. Choosing change is a conscious decision that you have to fight to stick with. My funk seeped into my ability to write and post, both things I enjoy, yet to get back on the right path I had to force myself to do it.
It’s tough to make changes in our lives. Research shows our brains don’t like change. Our brains are wired to want the same, to be secure, and in control. Making the decision is one thing, living through it is yet another ball game! So we have to celebrate making good decisions and stay motivated to keep moving in the right direction. You can do it! You know what’s good for you and I encourage you to move in the right direction!
Go! Fight! Win!