When I first saw what Lance had picked out for this month's theme, I actually started laughing. After a week spending every waking hour with my children and spouse on a five state and seven day road trip for Christmas, I had visions of how many repeated conversations we had with our kids because they had ipods in their ears, or were fighting, or basically using selective hearing.
FOCUS is a word I have used often with my three kids.
"PLEASE, focus for a minute" I have said, getting on my hands and knees when my children were smaller to look them in the eye, as they bounce around dancing with their partner named short-attention span. With two of my three now teens that are taller than me, it is a harder feat to accomplish. I can pull up a stool and say it. More often I use the symbol, putting my index and middle finger from my eyes extending out to them….as if saying:
"I'm watching you! FOCUS!"
Sometimes, they use the symbol right back at me, rightly so!
What is my excuse? How come I lose my focus? I have times where I am in my own little world, multi-tasking a chore while chatting on the phone, computer beside me, checking to see if I have an email proclaiming that I have won a complete home make-over, along with a maid, a personal assistant, and a vacation where my family and I fly somewhere instead of being trapped in a van together for 15 hours straight.
Who am I kidding? I loved every minute. BUT, I am committed to simplifying this New Year, and using tunnel vision tricks to bring more clarity to my life. I truly believe that when I lack focus I can tend to lack accountability.
Have you ever caught yourself in a situation where you have forgotten an appointment, procrastinated because you didn't know how to start a project, or put your dreams on hold because lack of focus? How many times when this happened did you find yourself coming up with an excuse? It doesn't matter whether you are telling this excuse to yourself or someone else, it proves that there isn't enough focus.
So, will you join me this New Year? Let's come into FOCUS together. The acronym I created below serves to remind you to live with clarity and intention.
F FUEL. After running several marathons, I have learned that if I do not feed my body healthy food or drink enough water I am sluggish, tired, and hazy. But you do not need to even be an athlete to achieve the benefits of good nutrition. Make a commitment to drink more water this year. Cut out soda. Eat more veggies and fruit. Take a multi-vitamin. Choose one goal that what works for you, and you will find that even one change can produce great results. You will have more focus, be less tired, and feel happier. I guarantee it! Fuel up for focus.
O ORGANIZE. It is hard to find focus when you aren't sure what it is you are supposed to focus on! What are your goals for the year? Organize your thoughts! I am in the process of creating a VISION BOARD for myself that encompass my hopes and dreams for the year. I use the word HARMONY since that is my platform and brand. I am looking to find more harmony through my music, writing, family life, relationships, self-care, and community service. Without this organized vision board, I could easily loose my focus and in turn, my motivation and accountability. Organize your thoughts for greater focus.
C CHANGE. The new year is a good time to reflect upon what hasn't worked in the past. Just writing this article has made me aware both multi-tasking and being attached to a certain outcome do not serve me in any productive way. I will accomplish more, with less stress, when I tackle one task at a time and be willing to change the habit of multi-tasking into a habit of one-thing-at-a-time doing and change to succeed.
"If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results." ~ Jack Dixon
Embrace change, welcome focus!
U UNLOAD. It is impossible to focus in a cluttered area. In the last year I have been slowly downsizing, sorting through items that I don't need, unloading them at a donation center, and creating a relaxing and simple space to compose music and work. The same concept can apply to our minds. If there are burdens that need to be dealt with: anxiety, depression, or the weight of the world on your shoulder, please seek help. Often times these emotional challenges can make you physically ill as well, lessening your desire to achieve the gifts you were meant to bring to the world. Life is too short to live in emotional haze or physical chaos!
Unload mind and space, upload focus!
S SLOW DOWN! The cliché we hear constantly is said constantly for a reason: it is one of the hardest, but most important challenges we can accomplish to help us find our focus. Even though it seems contradictory to slow down when we have so much to do, research shows the results that people who meditate, practice yoga, or take time to enjoy nature and simple pleasures are much more productive. Slowing down will speed up your focus. How cool is that?
No steam or gas drives anything until it is confined. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined." ~ Harry Emerson Fosdick, D.D.
I am implementing more focus with my children now that we are back home from our trip – starting with healthy home cooked meals after not-so-desirable choices when we were on vacation. For families, focus is especially important. Children are bombarded with media and unlimited choices everywhere they turn. With a little effort and a lot of luck, I can find a stool, look my big teenagers in the eye and say FOCUS and they will slow down, take a deep breath, and know what I am talking about.
May FOCUS promote healthy living, success and peace for you in 2012!
by Jen Slayden