Say No to Distractions

Photo by Ashley Richards

Having set a goal, it’s time to clear the road ahead and focus on progress. How do you set a goal? It’s not an exact science. It takes introspection and a desire to face your dreams and failures to find a way to move towards success. If you’re stuck in a state of wanting but incapable to persevere, this piece on Adjusting Your Goals Makes Them Attainable might help.

Distractions play a great part in weather or not we will make progress. When we think of distractions, the internet may be the first thing that pops into your mind. And that’s certainly a key player, but we don’t often consider:

  • the news
  • unnecessary phone calls
  • shopping and wasting time on making decisions that have little impact in the long run
  • chit-chat, gossip and criticism towards others

A distraction is anything that will take you off the road that leads to your goal. More than willpower, we need better planning to succeed. Plan to avoid situations where distractions might occur and set the expectations low from those close to you when it comes to social activities. It doesn’t all have to be about sacrificing a good time for a productive time. Limiting distractions will not only help your progress, but turn a good time into a memorable time.

How to Use Tension in a Productive Way

Photo by Monica Leonardi

We tend to want to eliminate completely built-up stress, either through activities that clear our mind, such as meditation or exercise, or through activities that give us pleasure at the expense of our long-term wellbeing – drinking, stress eating etc. Focusing on tension release without accounting for the long-term impact of how we do it creates a bigger negative impact in the long run than the immediate positive effect.

Experiencing tension is a good opportunity to pause and understanding what led us to this moment. Is it frustration with our own decisions or some things that are outside of our control. Once we understand the root cause, we can empower ourselves to change the way we react to situations. Reactions are natural, but they are also specific to each individual. We react based on what we perceive as normal. A broader example is how some cultures celebrate death, while others celebrate the birth of a child. Our values are specific to us.

Tension is our body and brain reacting to events throughout the day and storing a sense of alertness that cannot be maintained for a long period of time. Managing tension is a life skill that allows us to clear out the clouds and see the sky clearly. Under a clear sky we are more likely to stick to our path than in semi-darkness. Also, seeing more friends than threats in people will attract more kindness.

You Have Changed

Photo by Vinicius “amnx” Amano

Does it take an instant to create change? Yes. That’s what the whole world will see. The former factory worker turned restaurant owner. The former waiter or waitress, now famous comedian. The single parent living off benefits, now successful entrepreneur. Will anyone know how much struggle, effort, discouragement and determination went into that? Chances are, not that many people.

The inner circle might see unanswered calls and missed celebrations. Skills that came naturally. Genetics that played a huge role or other types of ‘special’. Change is the definition of life and it can happen upwards or downwards. If you stop trying to maintain a flat curve, you’re missing out on the real progress you could be making. Having focus is just an excuse to learn and grow, but labels are fixed, they do not reflect the road in-between, only the end goal. So please, do, change. The world will have to bear with us.

Is Your Mind in the Right Place?

Photo by Caleb Jones

Setting up goals allows us to measure progress and gives us a direction. But taking I want to over I need to won’t cut it. Our desire needs to be strong enough to make us get out of bed every morning, with a smile on our face, knowing that we’re going to make progress. Even in the cold, foggy mornings. Even when we can come up with every excuse to not make progress.

Stop. Is checking social media really that important? Online shopping, playing video games, watching Netflix. There are an infinite amount of distractions and excuses, but only you can create your own environment to succeed. Only you can pause, take a step back, and understand that what’s immediately in front of you does not serve you. Clear your field of vision. See where you’re going and make sure you get there. If you don’t do it, no one else will.

Seeing Through Clutter

Photo by Michael

This isn’t a Marie Kondo style article. Although physical clutter plays an important role in our ability to focus, often what takes us away from the present are thoughts, worries, assumptions, fears, social media, other people… you name it.

Before going to sleep, when you’re running through mental clutter, is there any wish or thought that stand out clearly? If so, does it reflect our focus and our direction or is it a belittling thing, a momentary happening which takes too much and too often time. Time we can invest wisely.

Writing down one goal for the day that feeds into our bigger purpose helps us not only to see clearly where we are headed, but can be used as an anchor into the present that we choose to live in and build ourselves up towards. Easy wins is still winning. Think big and start small.

Focus Means Saying No to Cool Ideas

Photo by Toa Heftiba

It was more than once that I was called an idiot which at a very young age was described to me as ‘a person with ideas’. It didn’t take long to understand that ideas are worth something, so I would explore every corner of my creativity trying to impress my audience. Only later to understand that ideas that are not implemented are mere entertainment.

Focus and creativity can make a great pair, but creativity needs discipline. To complete any piece of work we need focus. We need to take out our notebook and write down our ideas. Picture a child chasing a butterfly until a more flashy, beautifully painted one comes along. Chances are that the first butterfly that was chased is at a considerable distance by the time the child realizes the distraction.

Eliminating distractions can be painful in the beginning, which is why seeing our life through the eyes of our future-self numbs the pain and allows us to accumulate uplifting decisions and actions that will bring change and rewards. Become now who you want to be tomorrow.