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Looking back on old journals, it’s incredible (and freaky) how many of my dreams and goals have come to pass.
It hasn’t been straightforward though.
The path has been incredibly wild and filled with many unexpected twists and turns. But what I have learned along the way has helped me navigate the pitfalls and distractions.
Sometimes, we may get off track, but those detours can become part of the bigger picture if we create habits that compass our vision.
As a former practicing personal trainer, my main intention was to guide others toward lasting results and routines that allow clients and athletes to develop deep roots rather than be swayed by external factors.
Fads and lifestyle trends change like the wind, so focusing on our own path, and what makes us healthy and happy can help us transcend the waves of societal changes.
Here are eight ways to keep ridiculously focused in a world full of distractions:
1. Ensure our goals and vision are our own.
Other people’s work can inspire us, but it can also invoke comparison and self-doubt if we are unsure about ourselves and our path. We may be envious of how talented, or progressive other people are, but perhaps it’s signaling that we are unclear or distracted.
Whenever I have felt competitive with others, it’s a warning sign that I have taken my eye off the ball. I am looking at what they are doing rather than focusing on my path—it has nothing to do with them.
There is nothing wrong with being competitive, and it can be useful for performance and accountability. However, we need to make it about the goal not the person otherwise we are competing to be “better” than others rather than improving in our work or goals.
>> When we tune into ourselves and are inspired by nature, instead of fads, it helps us to remain consistent, grounded, and less worried about what others are doing.
>> Be intentional about time spent on social media. My golden rule is only to follow accounts that share wholesome, timeless messages.
>> One of my favorite ways to shake off mental clutter is to walk daily. It’s a playful way to meditate and does wonders to align the body, mind, and soul.
>> Healing or understanding past hurts and traumas are integral to focusing on our path. The past can influence how we feel about ourselves if we lack self-awareness and discernment. If we learned from a young age that we are ugly, not good enough, not talented, not able, we may be carrying these beliefs today, affecting how we navigate forward. Self-sabotage, for example, can be due to trauma and unhealed or unrecognized pain.
2. Learn about intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation.
I have strived and succeeded in certain areas in life, but I didn’t feel fulfilled on a deep level because I was driven by external motivations. There is a difference between egotistical achievements and lasting fulfillment.
Learning about intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation can help us focus on our health, making peace with ourselves, and being happy without validation from the world. This is ultra important if we want to make lasting changes as we’re less likely to opt for quick fixes or shortcuts.
It’s easier to be inspired or driven by the external—what people think of us, being the best compared to the rest, wanting to “stand out,” or proving people “wrong.” We may achieve our goal and feel good momentarily, but it hardly lasts.
>> Being intrinsically motivated is a game-changer. Acquiring a balance between internal and external drives was the core element I used in training athletes and clients who wanted to lose weight and become fit and strong. Those who grasped this concept gained more than external results and generally felt satisfied and happy on their journey. It’s useful for any goal in life.
>> Repeat these affirmations when patience is wearing thin: “Progress over perfection,” and “It’s not the destination that counts, it’s the journey.”
3. Putting ourselves “first” without feeling selfish about it.
It is wholesome to serve and help people, but sometimes we need time in solitude before giving ourselves and our services to the world. I used to be afraid of stepping back to focus on my craft or taking time to breathe and focus on myself for a season. My fear was related to religious beliefs whereby we should put ourselves last. But I was also afraid of letting others down or being perceived as “weak” for needing time out.
I challenged this notion due to being sick for years. Finally, I decided to put my health and soul first, resulting in a miraculous recovery. This led to being able to serve others from a full place, understanding when to give, and when to receive.
>> Setting time aside to pursue our goals can evoke guilt for some of us, but we need to remember it’s for a bigger purpose than ourselves in the long run—and this can help us keep aligned.
>> Healthy boundaries are essential, and implementing them and sticking to them are vital. This may mean losing friendships or connections but that is also a healthy part of the journey. Our connections need to be an equal and respectful transaction.
>> We all have a journey in life, and to honor ourselves and our path sends a message to others that they too can do this for themselves.
4. Life is and can be amazing.
Part of the reason I didn’t pursue certain things in the past was due to the belief that I wasn’t good enough. My heart would hint me in directions that would bring happiness and adventure, but I’d think it was too good to be true.
It prevented me from the goodness of life and sharing that goodness with others. I had to change on a deeper level to accept that life can be this good—and it is.
>> We need to open ourselves to all the beautiful possibilities life has for us by addressing hidden beliefs and looking at our thinking patterns. For example, we could be telling ourselves an untrue or limiting story due to our upbringing or experiences in life. Challenging that narrative can help us see that our mind can be responsible for holding us back at times—not life.
>> Trusting my intuition and instincts and those tiny inspired impulses has moved me toward unique opportunities and into open doors that I otherwise would not have recognized. Trusting ourselves is paramount to our journey. If there is little self-trust, we need to find out why or how to develop and hone this.
5. Create an inspiring environment or space.
Our environment and space can affect how we work, create, and feel. Knowing what will bring out the best in us can help our overall productivity levels. I appreciate having certain things in my space like plants, books, journals, and water. I also work better near sunlit areas and a window as the sun improves my mood.
>> For anyone who finds it difficult to manage plants, one of the best discoveries I have made is self-watering pots. Finding plants that are easy to maintain, like ivy’s, can be a good start too.
>> Creating a space that is to our taste and makes us feel alive is key. It doesn’t have to be trendy or look a certain way all the time. Sometimes I like having books and magazines surrounding me. Other times I want a clutter-free desk. I go with what I feel in the moment.
>> Keeping our environment clean, dust-free, and vacuumed can help us feel clear, vibrant, and light. A fresh space benefits our health and mental well-being too.
6. Writing and journaling is a powerful tool for our goals.
Writing down our goals, fears, and anything that comes to mind is one of my favorite ways to keep focused on my goals and path. There is magic in putting pen to paper. Writing things down also helps us declutter our minds and opens the space for more ideas to pour out.
>> Let the imagination run wild and write down anything and everything that comes to the mind and soul. This is a private place to explore ourselves, our deepest desires, and any inner conflict keeping us from moving forward. It is also a time for healing and expansion.
>> On the contrary, we also need to be specific about certain goals, and through writing out what we want to achieve, we can figure out what we need to do to bring our vision to life. One way is to break down our goals into small, medium, and large goals. For example, we may have a plan to lose a certain amount of weight (big), exercise regularly (medium), and so our small specific goal is to wake up early each morning to walk for 45 minutes.
>> Writing in a journal can also help manage our stress and anxiety as it allows us to express our emotions without worrying about someone judging us. It’s an opportune time to let our truth come forth. Suppressing emotions or denying how we feel can hinder our path. It’s exhausting, to say the least. We may find a sense of relief after pouring our hearts and minds out on the blank pages, leaving us feeling lighter and more energized toward our goals.
7. It’s okay to need help or support.
We don’t have to do everything alone, and it’s more than okay to ask for support or even encouragement. Sometimes I have felt utterly alone in my walk of life, but talking to someone about how I feel makes a world of difference.
It’s essential to connect with other dreamers and doers and seek encouragement from those we trust when we are spiraling. One conversation can be a game-changer.
>> Over the years, I have opted to see a psychologist when I want to talk about deeply personal issues. Unfortunately, although our friends and family may try to listen or have our best interests at heart, they are still human. A good psychologist can have a sound understanding of the brain, mind, and past trauma. Speaking to someone outside my circle has helped me immensely.
>> We also need to speak up and let others know our needs or what is bothering us. Although scary at times, when we communicate what we need and what will help us perform better in our relationships and workplace, it shows respect to ourselves and others. It’s difficult to make positive changes when we don’t verbalize our challenges or what may help us become healthier and more productive.
>> It is wise not to speak too soon or too late. Taking time to figure out what is bothering us can help to settle our emotions before saying or doing anything we may regret. It’s also good to note here that emotions or a tired mind can convince us that things are worse than they are. In these times, think of mud settling in the water—the clarity comes when the emotions settle.
8. We need to take care of our body, mind, and soul.
A tired mind, body, and soul can lead us into directions that steer us from our overall target. Being proactive is vital, but so is rest. Cultivating a balance between doing and being will help us go the distance rather than burning out too soon.
There are multiple facets to taking care of ourselves, and it is best to start small and progressively fine-tune our routines. If we try to do too much all at once, it can become overwhelming.
>> Eating a plant-based diet provides me with nutritional balance. I ensure to eat green and colorful vegetables daily, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Starving myself or missing meals is a big no-no for me. We need a healthy, wholesome way of eating to have energy and vitality for our goals.
>> Walking daily. I think I say this in every single thing I write. For 14 years now, I have walked consistently, and it never fails. It’s one of my favorite routines to connect the mind, body, and soul. It relieves stress and tickles all my senses, leading to creative ideas and solutions for life as a whole.
>> Give less energy to negative talk or drama. It’s easy to get caught up in talking about things over and over when we are in pain, and of course, it is healthy to talk. However, we need to have a balance as it can permeate other areas of our life and bog us down.
>> We need a soul routine which is ultra-personal to us. I meditate, pray, journalize, and listen to music in the mornings. Connecting to our spirit is similar to looking at a compass—our soul is our true north.
>> A healthy sleep routine is often underrated, but it is vital to staying on track in life. A well-rested mind can help us wake up refreshed and ready to work on our goals, be consistent in our efforts, and remain open to inspired action. It is one of the most important aspects of wellness.
I hope this has been of benefit to you. Let me know in the comments how you stay ridiculously focused in a world full of distractions—or what you are currently working on.