So…get into gear and create something already!
Archives for December 2016
Challenges in life are not metered out in regular portions, for convenient processing by those who are receiving the challenge. They come at a pace that is not picked by anyone or anything we can understand. I will make an observation though: some periods of time are noteworthy because they seem to have very few challenges, and are kind of easy, in-the-groove-times where you just do your thing. Periods of heavy challenge seem to have many things poking at us at about the same time. Maybe once we start focusing on the problems or challenges, we start to attract more junk, or maybe grandma was right when she said trouble “comes in threes.” I do not know. I lean towards the first idea…that when we are in the groove doing our thing, we seem to have a positive momentum that keeps us on a happy path for quite awhile sometimes, and when we get derailed from that path, we seem to get stuck on a troubled or slightly bothersome path, unless we can somehow blow ourselves up off that path and realign.
The quickest way I have found to get off the trouble or big challenges path, is to do these things:
- Deal quickly with the tactical problems that are bothering you, but do not internalize them or dwell on them…instead, fix it now, then let it go, realizing it is an external event that is no longer important. If the things bothering you are outside your control, let those things go. Then…
- Move your body a bit…preferably outside, to get your head clear, and get back to the moment.
- Get back to doing the things that take you in the direction you want to go. If you focus too much or get too emotional about the annoying things that are happening to you, those things get more weight and power in your life, and more stuff you don’t want seems to come your way.
- Do not overwork on those tasks, just because you got off track a bit with some unplanned junk in your life. When you do this, you end up grinding through instead of feeling joy that you are working towards something you want. Don’t do it, instead, after you get your junk handled and refocus on your goals and next steps…
- Go to bed a little early to regenerate your energy, so you can get back to work fresh tomorrow. Fresh perspective, restored energy, motivation, and joy that you are on your path!
Keep stretching for what you want…every day cannot be perfect, so do not get too upset when you step in some hot mess!
Yesterday, I had a fantastic morning! I spent the time exactly the way I wanted to, even if I did not quite know what the day would offer until it happened. Suffice to say, simply a wonderful way to spend the morning, and I felt great the rest of the day.
Even with that wonderful yesterday, today I felt some challenges. Work has been absolutely crazy for a couple weeks, lots of business oppportunities are requiring extra attention from me, and family and friends are requiring some attention too. In short, regular life is here and can consume your energy, even if you are having some good days.
I felt less attentive to the things going on in the moment today, and I was a bit more tired than normal. I started to get down on myself for not being fully attentive, energetic and engaged with my children today. I was not terrible, grumpy, or anything like that, but definitely not my best. Rather than buy into this negative, down on myself attitude, I pivoted my focus instead and did the following things so I could prepare to have a much better day tomorrow:
- Review my current goals and reset my focus on those things.
- Review recent accomplishments to remind myself that I have done what I have set out to do, and have recent examples of this to refer back to.
- Wrote a little bit (this post), even though I was not inspired or in the mood to do so. I did it because writing clarifies our thinking and makes our problems appear a more realistic, smaller size than we are currently visualizing them. Writing every day, might be the most important thing I do for that one reason.
- Went to bed early to leave time for some meditation and reading, and still go to sleep earlier than normal. When we are in a bit of a funk, a good long sleep increases the chances of a good day tomorrow, because tiredness is often the root cause of our struggle with negative thoughts.
Good night people! Tomorrow will be what we make of it.
Take some amount of time each day to do something that brings you joy. We all get busy at times, but by taking a time-out to bring some joy into your life, even 5 minutes, will refresh you, affirm that you are someone outside of the tasks you must complete, and help you to creatively approach problems in all areas of your life.
Months ago, I decided that I must change myself and grow further into a person I more aspire to be. In short, there are a few areas of my life in which I am not satisfied. Like many of us, I have at various times attempted to make changes, only to be underwhelmed by the results. As an experiment, I began to force myself to be open to ideas that I may have discarded before. I decided to research various other ways and try those different approaches. When I say I decided to try them, I do not mean the normal, casual way of trying that I have been using all of my life it seems. I decided to try these new approaches, with a full emotional and mental commitment, with acceptance that the approach was valid and acting as if it would work.
When we want to make changes in our lives, we often use a general set of techniques to start.
- We pick a goal.
- We list some actions to take to achieve the goal.
- We do those actions for awhile, until its a bit uncomfortable, then we run out of emotional energy and will power, and give up.
Our old habits are easy to resume. Worse yet if you are trying to make changes, your habitual beliefs, thoughts and feelings will pull you in the familiar direction, in spite of your comparatively trivial conscious will power.
The things that make goal setting work, but are missing from the 3 item list above are the following:
- Write your goal down
- Get your unconscious mind to line up with your goal, as if it has already happened.
- Review the goal one time in the morning by posting it on your bathroom mirror for example.
- At an emotional level let go and let be, as if you have already achieved the goal.
- If you focus too much on the goal, you mind will believe you have not achieved the goal, and will focus on where you are instead of your goal, which will reinforce the old thought and behavior patterns that do not serve you.
As an experiment, I picked a crowd-pleasing favorite goal I wanted to achieve. I have been overweight, and wanted to start my re-invention with a physical change that is simple to understand, and easy to measure. I decided to pick a small weight loss goal, and started, by writing it down this way, on an index card:
Notice that in this goal, I dated it so I would be able to track the start. I wrote it as “I remember weighing 193 pounds.” Then I picked a future date, but used present tense in describing my goal weight of 187 pounds a week later. My believe from different approaches I have read about is that by using these verbal details, I was informing my unconscious mind that the goal already happened.
I can tell you that before 11-13, I had hit my target weight. I did not deliberately increase my excercise level. I did not consciously make a bunch of diet changes. However, I definitely ate less than normal. I did not find myself overeating, snacking between meals, and my sugar consumption went down a lot. From a will-power perspective, it seemed effortless. It was a vastly different experience than any time I have tried to lose weight before, as I was completely relaxed about the entire thing.
After achieving that first goal, I flipped my index card over, and picked another goal, albeit a little less challenging, as I was traveling for work that week, and would be out of my normal patterns.
I did not quite hit this goal…I was a pound short of making it. Instead of beating myself up, I spent 30 seconds thinking about what events contributed to me missing the date, what could I do to avoid those problems, and then I let it go completely. I checked a couple days later, and I had hit the desired goal. I did not set a specific weight-loss goal after that, until after Thanksgiving weekend. I was up to 185 pounds after Thanksgiving, but given the events of that week, it was fine. I was fighting a bad bout of sciatica-like pain on the day after I returned from my work trip (Nov 22), which is just starting to get better now. My family had some medical issues too during the week of Thanksgiving and the week after, which added some challenges to life in general. On the 26th of November, I wrote down one more goal: “I remember weighing 185 pounds. On December 6, I weigh 179 pounds.” Yesterday, I hit the goal.
The first purpose of this post, is to provide an actual example of a technique I used and its results for me, in case this is is interesting or helpful to others. The bigger purpose of this post is to boil down the technique used for this simple goal, so that it can be applied to achieving anything else you want. Here is how you need to express your goal, and a brief description of why it will work:
- You must write down your desired outcome, specifically. When you take a thought, and put it to paper, it becomes a real thing in the world, and your mind will respond by taking you closer to that real thing.
- It must feel real to you, as if the outcome already happened. If you are trying to force something, you will probably block the desired outcome, and will definitely feel more tired out and stressed than you need to.
- You should keep the goal in your awareness, but expressed as something that already has happened. Once a day, maybe twice a day is plenty to remind you of what you are doing. If you dwell on it too much, your mind will understand this as desperation about something you do not have or have not done. You want to feel like you have done it already, and have that as part of your belief.
- Realize, that regardless of the eventual outcome, you will be fine either way. If you do not get exactly what your goal is, something better is coming to you that you are not aware of. Positive thought, trust, and no desperation or stress about the outcome.
This was a simple goal to express and achieve. Some desires you have will be much more complicated and will require a longer time before they are fulfilled. The above techniques are still applicable, but some variations and additional practices can help support those bigger goals and desires. I may post a “Part 2” to suggest some things related to those!