How we operate daily is a reflection of the habits we have. The more good habits we have, the better our lives will be.
As we all desire to improve and have better lives, sometimes we struggle to follow through and stick to doing the things we know will be beneficial to us.
While having an intention to make a positive change, such as exercising a few times per week, drinking plenty of water daily or getting enough sleep each night, is a good starting point, sticking to the new habits is challenging.
One of the reasons why people abandon their New Year’s resolutions is because they are not able to lock in their new habits over the long term.
The Costs of Not Sticking to Our Habits
- It generates feelings of disappointment, regret and resignation.
- We lose trust in ourselves as we’re unable to keep our commitments.
- It lowers our self-confidence.
- We’re reluctant to try something that requires a long-term commitment.
- We don’t progress as quickly as we’d like to.
It’s one thing to identify a new or good habit we want to have, but it’s much more challenging to actually stick with it.
Our ability to stay focused on anything we’re doing determines the quality of our outputs or results. The better we focus, the better results we’ll produce.
The challenge we all face today is that it’s so easy to get distracted. With so many advances in technology, such as all the different smart devices available to us, being able to stay focused is a major challenge for most people. Unfortunately, our smart devices are making us more distracted than ever before.
Today, distraction removal has become the new focus. The better we’re able to eliminate distractions from our everyday lives, the better we’ll be able to focus.
Focus is a muscle and it’s also a process, which means we can learn how to improve it. An important thing to be aware of is we don’t have focus, we do focus. If focus is something we do, then there are things we can implement to get better at doing it, just like improving any other skill.
There are a number of reasons why improving our focus will be beneficial to us and they include:
- Getting more done in a shorter period of time.
- Producing better quality outputs.
- Creating more free time as a result of being more effective.
- Feeling less stressed or overwhelmed.
- Being happier and in a better mood.
Learning how to focus better is now a critical skill if we want to have a better quality life.
I’ll admit this is an area I struggle with as I tend to work more than I should. Over the past couple of years, I’ve taken steps to change my habit of working too much.
We’re in a global culture of being busy. Whenever we say we’re busy, it’s like a badge of honour because it makes us feel we’re important and we actually matter. We also use being busy as an excuse not to pursue what we really want to do in life.
If we ask most people what they’re busy with, it almost always comes down to day-to-day responsibilities and working to make ends meet. The truth is most people are busy doing work they would rather not be doing. So we get caught in this trap of being busy, doing work that’s not inspiring or fulfilling, which takes us away from what we’d rather be doing.
5 Signs You’re a Workaholic
- You spend a lot more time working than originally planned, which cuts into your evenings and weekends.
- You put your work before other areas of your life like health, relationships or family.
- You use work as a distraction not to face the real issues or challenges going on in your life.
- You free up time, that is, give up your leisure time, so you can do more work.
- You are highly stressed and fatigued, which generates feelings of anxiety, frustration and overwhelm.
It’s time to stop working ourselves to the ground and break the workaholism trap.
Has this ever happened to you? You get to the end of a year and wonder, “What happened this year?” or “What did I actually achieve this year?”
You had started the year with a lot of enthusiasm and hoped that this would be “the year” in which you had big breakthroughs and moved your life forward in a big way. However, things may not have worked out the way you wanted and now you feel like you’ve not made any significant progress over the past year.
If you’re like me, then you know that feeling we’ve not made any real progress in our lives can be demotivating and cause us to question whether we have what it takes to achieve what matters most to us.
The bad news is unless we’re aware of what may have caused us to fall short in achieving what we wanted, it’s very likely we’ll do the same things again and achieve similar type of results this year.
The good news is things can be different. By becoming aware of certain mistakes that prevented us from achieving what we wanted this past year, we can make the changes necessary and achieve big breakthroughs this year.
What is a Big Breakthrough?
A breakthrough means achieving an outcome that will make a significant improvement or bring forth a major benefit in our lives. As we’re all different and have different priorities, what we consider to be breakthroughs may be different.
For example, for one person, earning an additional $50,000 in one year may be a significant breakthrough, whereas for another person, that figure may not be a big deal at all.
A Free Gift So You Can Win Big This Year
Our ability to be creative comes down to finding a connection between two unrelated things and determining the value that emerges as a result of that new connection.
Put simply, being creative is very similar to what learning is, which is connecting something we know to something we don’t know.
Some questions that often arise around the topic of creativity include:
- Are some people naturally more creative than others?
- Are we born creative or is it something we develop?
- Is creativity genetic?
- Why do some people appear to be more creative than others?
- What makes a person creative?
Some of the beliefs around creativity includes:
- Right-brained people are more creative.
- We’re either creative or we’re not.
- Highly creative people are not normal, maybe even a little weird.
- We can’t all be creative.
While there will always be different ideas or opinions around why some people are more creative than others, the truth is creativity is something that can be developed.
We know the importance of having a regular exercise routine but unfortunately, we don’t always do what we know is good for us.
Some of the common excuses people make for not having a regular exercise routine are:
- Not having enough time.
- Being too busy.
- Exercising takes up too much time.
- Don’t know what exercises to do.
- Not motivated enough.
The truth is if something is important to us, we will always find the time for it. Having a regular exercise routine will lead to:
- Better health and fitness.
- Better mental and emotional health.
- Less stress or anxiety.
- Better mood or outlook on life.
- Higher levels of self-confidence and self-esteem.
Exercising does not need to take up a lot of time daily if we’re committed to living a healthy life.
The start of a New Year is a good time to reflect on the things we have been doing up until now and identify how we can do better.
It’s highly beneficial to review our previous year and put plans in place for the New Year.
As part of that review, an area we should look at are the things we did, that either didn’t serve us, or move us closer to where we wanted to be or what we wanted to achieve.
The reasons why we want to look at these things include:
- It’ll help identify patterns we know we should change.
- It’ll help make us more effective or productive.
- It’ll help eliminate unnecessary commitments.
- It’ll help reduce stress and overwhelm as we’ll be taking on less things.
- It’ll help us focus on the things that are truly important to us.
As we identify these things, it will help us tremendously this year if we make a commitment to stop doing them.
Whenever we have excessive clutter in our external environment, it will have an effect on all aspects of our lives, most times, in a negative way.
Clutter is a sign we’re not in a healthy mental state and if we continue to ignore the signs, it can lead to:
- Distraction and lack of focus.
- Feelings of overwhelm and despair.
- Lower levels of motivation.
- Lack of efficiency and effectiveness.
- Higher levels of stress or anxiety.
If we continue to tolerate clutter, we’ll use up units of mental energy, which will make it more difficult to consciously design our environments the way we want. The more clutter we can eliminate, the better our chances of creating the results and the life we want.
The digital age we live in is making it more difficult to stay focused on what we want and what really matters.
According to a study done in 2016, the average American adult spends 2 hours, 51 minutes on their smartphone every day. That’s almost 86 hours a month! That figure does not include time spent on tablet devices or on laptops or desktop computers surfing the internet.
With so many social media platforms, video streaming services and news outlets available to us, our ability to stay focused on what matters most in our lives is becoming increasingly difficult. Our attention span, which is linked to our ability to focus, has reduced greatly in recent years.
The choices available to us will only continue to increase as more services or new technologies are introduced. It’s predicted that in a few years time, most of the content we consume will be via videos, so it will be even easier to be distracted.
Today, being able to stay focused is closely tied to our ability to eliminate distractions. This is why knowing how to eliminate distractions and stay more focused is going to be critical if we want to make progress faster and get things done that really matter.