Let’s start with a quick exercise. Ready? Don’t think about a brown mouse.
Where’s your focus? You’re thinking about a brown mouse right now, aren’t you?
Most of us probably answered that last question with a “yes,” and we’d more than likely stand in concurrence with the masses if we were to run this exercise in a very large group. In my previous post, I proposed a change in perspective that would help us to purge unmet expectations by simply differentiating between our goals and desires. However, once we’ve managed to do this, it then becomes important for us to consider the focus of our goals to help boost our ability to see them achieved.
Know where you’re headed
Most of us know not to create our goals too small so that we can avoid constantly creating new ones. By the same token, we typically shy away from lofty goals because they appear as mountains, far too daunting to conquer in a suitable time-frame – and for millennials like myself, this is counter-intuitive to our instant gratification tendencies! As a generality, we do the size thing when it comes to goal setting. The instruction I believe that is sometimes missed is the direction of our goals. How many times have we set a goal for ourselves to “quit,” “give up,” or “stop” doing something? I have been guilty of doing so over the years. In reality, what I’m doing is exactly what we practiced in our opening exercise – I’m placing my focus on the very thing I’m attempting to move away from.
Psychologists often talk about the power of being positive; performance coaches will happily engage in a conversation around the importance of focusing on and envisioning success; advice on breaking addiction will usually center around engagement, happiness, and positive distraction or purpose to overcome dwelling on the actual breaking of addiction breaking. When we shift our focus to be in alignment with our destination, and not our launching spot, we stop walking backward away from something and begin walking towards our goal.
My challenge to you is that you think of your goals as vectors; I’m not sure how many readers particularly enjoyed their math classes growing up but (as a reminder) a vector is a quantity that moves us from one point to another, having both size and direction.
If in our initial exercise, I had the same goal of not having you think about a brown mouse, but instead asked you to think about an enormous elephant – would a brown mouse have ever crossed your mind? In life, we are well aware of brown mice we want to rid of, but how many times does that focus alone stop us from getting to our elephants.
Let that be your bearing for moving forward this year. #resolve2evolve