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What's Your Focus?

Updated: Jan 22

I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. They just never seem to work. And when they don’t, I always end up feeling like one big failure. Besides, resolutions remind me of the commandments and neither religion or dogma sits particularly well with me.

One of the problems with resolutions, I believe, is that they focus so much on the ‘thing’ (the giving up smoking or drinking, as examples) rather than the reasons behind the resolution. We can often forget why we are doing what we are doing and this can lead to us becoming bored and giving up on our commitment.

One thing I do like to do, rather than make hard and fast resolutions, is create a focus board.

Take this year as an example. I ate a whole load of rubbish over Christmas. I went out with my friends for breakfast, had some takeaways, and feasted on chocolate and crisps. While I knew there would be consequences for every mince pie and hash brown that passed my lips, I was also mindful that it was Christmas (something I was reminded of by the fitness coach @rcroskeryfitness in one of his videos). I didn’t want to be the person who goes out for something to eat with his friends and sips on ice water and nibbles on muesli while they tuck in to a full-English. Eating is part of the season’s celebrations, along with all of the other aspects of Christmas we enjoy with friends and family. I don’t eat meat or drink coffee for health reasons and I haven’t drunk alcohol for nearly twelve years. I didn’t want to be anymore of that kind of person than I am already.

The result: I added half of a stone to a half I’d already wanted to shift.

A focus board is generally more useful for me than resolutions because rather than starting with a negative (such as I need to lose a stone), we begin with something positive (I intend to eat better this year and take more exercise). Similarly, you might think ‘I want a clearer head and to feel good about myself’ rather than ‘I need to stop drinking because I am a big social embarrassment' (yep, I have been there too).

For this year, I have added words and pictures to my own focus board which concentrate on the reasons why I want to make changes, rather than the changes I wish to make: ‘I am worthy and deserving of wealth’, ‘I am aligned with my purpose’, ‘I move my body daily’. I have added images of money, healthy food, exercise, and study.

This new year will consist of big changes for me, especially within my work. I need to remember that there are things I can do to bring about positive and successful change, even if embracing the new is scary. I have heard that writing things down (or placing them on a board like this) has proven to successfully aid success. This would make sense since the act of creating a vision board is a form of visualization—a potent technique endorsed by psychologists and success coaches alike. By immersing yourself in images that represent your goals, you’re sending powerful signals to your subconscious mind about what you want to do and where you wish to be.

I’ll leave you with this quote by the motivational speaker and author, Simon Sinek -

“Dream big. Start small. But most of all start.”

© Steven Bright 2023

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