Goals (4)

There are plenty of distractions in the modern world. They take away your focus and your energy and can stop you from having the life you want. If you're not hitting your goals, maybe it's time to look at your main distractions and do something about them. 4196851261?profile=RESIZE_710x

Here are the most common distractions that are likely stopping you from living your best life.

  1. Social media

It should not surprise you that the biggest distraction for most people is social media and the hours it eats out of the day. Take a quick look at your Instagram feed or Facebook, and before you know it, you're mindlessly scrolling through what looks like other people's perfect lives.

Take the time to decide how much of your life you want to spend watching what other people are doing. Set some boundaries about when and how long you will spend on social media. Take a look at your "friends" and see if they're people you want to know. 

  1. Smartphone

Smartphones are great tools, but they can quickly become a huge distraction. Look around and see how many people are walking down the street with their eyes glued to their phones. Think about how long you go without checking your phone. Try leaving your phone in your purse or your pocket when you go out for a meal. Leave it at home when you take the dog for a walk.

Another tip is to cull some of the apps on your phone. Work out what you need and delete the rest. And remember, mobile games are one of the biggest time-sucks. Think about how you want to use your time and be strategic about how you use your phone.

  1. Online watching

How much time do you waste watching meaningless YouTube videos or binge-watching box sets? These might feel like simple, relaxing things to do, but if you're not careful, they can drain as much time as social media. 

Keep focused on how you want your life to be and make decisions about how much recreational TV you want to watch.

  1. Negative people

Giving your time away to negative people can be damaging to your success. You can probably name the people at the office or in your life who drain you of energy and who take up a lot of time with their complaining, attention-seeking, and neediness. 

Inventory, the people around you, are they undermining your chances of meeting your goals? If so, you need to set some healthy boundaries and get out of their orbit. Look for positive, high energy people who will support you and cheer you on.

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Most people don’t like obstacles. That makes a certain sort of sense. After all, when you’ve got a goal that you’re trying to accomplish, the last thing you want or need is something standing in your way.  Obstacles seem to make us stand still; they keep us from getting where we want to go. They cause us to lose whatever momentum we’ve built up. In worst-case scenarios, they become the roadblocks standing in the way of allowing us ever to get there at all.

It’s no wonder obstacles look so daunting. You might as well pack up now and go home. Right?

Wrong!

What if obstacles weren’t as bad as you thought? What if the one thing you’re facing right now might hold the solution to the very problem you’re trying to solve? Consider this for a moment: What if what you’re looking at is not so much an obstacle, as an opportunity? That it’s your emotions holding you back, making you think an obstacle is a stopping point, instead of a new beginning?

It’s time to rethink obstacles.

Read on to find nine simple steps that will help you keep your emotions in check as you reach out and embrace obstacles. It’s time to see the opportunities you never imagined were there and to travel new roads you’ve never been down before. 4100059346?profile=RESIZE_710x

  1. Take a Minute

Whatever you’re doing when you hit the obstacle, quit it. When you stop, you give yourself time to consider the options without all the emotions flaring up. You guard yourself against acting impulsively in a way you might come to regret later on. 

To do this, start by taking a deep breath or two. Define the emotions you’re feeling, then wait for them to calm. Knowing whether you’re sad, or angry, or frustrated will help you to find that calm place faster, as you would address each emotion differently. For example, ask yourself what you’re angry at if you are indeed angry. If you’re sad, accept the sorrow as being a natural part of the disappointment of meeting something that keeps you from your goal.

As challenging as it might be, don’t try to rush through the feeling or push it down. The best way to use this setback as fodder for out-of-the-box thinking is to embrace the emotion, no matter what it is. Own it and feel it in your body. Once you feel it’s settled, you’re ready to move on. This process may take an hour, a day, or a week, depending on how major the project and how substantial the complication.

  1. Accept Where You Are

Realize obstacles happen. The more you fight them, the worse they’re going to seem. Like standing in quicksand, the sooner you come to accept the situation, the better it’s going to go for you. It’s the struggle that pulls you down. So, take a minute to tell yourself this is a natural and healthy part of the process. Remember, the emotions you’re feeling are legitimate and real. It’s where you are, right now, at this moment. But the feeling won’t last forever.

  1. Flip the Switch

After acknowledging the emotions of the moment, choose to let them go. It’s time to switch over to the logical side of your brain, where you store wisdom and experiences. That’s where you’re able to process what just happened and consider your options.

Next, take a step back and look at the obstacle from an outside point of view. That means looking at it as if you were a stranger standing on the outside of your life looking in. What would they see right now? Question your assumptions to find a unique solution.

  1. Get Creative

Here’s where a little flexibility is going to go a long way. Start examining the alternatives. Be as creative as possible and don’t discount anything offhand for being ‘too silly.’ Sometimes it’s those silly ideas that are going to get you thinking along a different path entirely. Sure, it’s normal to feel some disappointment at this point. Chances are you had your path all planned out. But when you consider all the new possibilities, it’s easy to get excited about trying something new. Use this energy to fuel you toward the next step.

  1. Embrace the Lesson

Every obstacle holds something from which you can learn. Ask yourself what you gained in facing the roadblock. How are you looking at the world differently? What can you share with those around you about your experience? When you cannot only ask these questions but also answer them, you’re discovering the meaning in the encounter. You haven’t wasted your experience, and even roadblocks can hold a purpose.

  1. Break Things Down

Frequently our problem with obstacles starts with trying to take on too much at once. In moving forward, re-examine the goal you were trying to accomplish. Break down your goal into smaller steps. By focusing on these smaller goals, you’ll find it easier to move ahead. Also, you won’t be quite so overwhelmed by the big picture.

  1. Admit You’re Only Human

Everyone makes mistakes. By permitting yourself to fail, you’ll accept obstacles that sometimes occur due to human error. In some ways, these feel like the worst sorts of obstacles because it’s easy to get caught up in a negative thinking spiral when this happens. You might even start questioning your abilities and wind up wanting to give up on your goal altogether.

Here’s where it becomes crucial to keep things in perspective. By acknowledging you are only human after all, you’re able to admit when you are wrong and to move on. What’s more, you’ll be better able to accept when you make mistakes again in the future, because after all, you will. We all do.

  1. Reconsider the Goal

In the end, it might be the obstacle was connected to what you were trying to accomplish in the first place. It might be the goal either wasn’t well thought out or isn’t what you needed to do in the first place. It might be time to consider the original premise all over again. Is this obstacle trying to tell you something?

Sometimes the obstacle comes because you’d made a shift in what you were trying to do. Have you somehow changed your goal midstream? It might be you need to rethink your plan of attack entirely. When this happens, your obstacle has instead become an opportunity to move in a direction that suits your purposes better.

  1. Don’t Forget to Celebrate!

It might seem odd to be thinking about celebrations when talking about obstacles but consider this: When you celebrate your accomplishments, you embrace the journey you’ve been on, barriers and all. Even if you’ve stalled out completely, you can celebrate the progress you made and the work you put into the project. These are all worth getting excited about, and the emotions here are worth embracing.

Then when the party is over, ask yourself where you want to go from here. Make choosing a new goal part of the celebration. That’s also something to get excited over.

Bonus tip: Ask for Help

As a note, you should never have to do hard things alone. When you’re facing an obstacle, it’s okay to ask for help. Mentors and support systems are integral to the process of working your way through difficulties. The benefit of a mentor is clear: they’ve very likely been in this position before, and have the wisdom and insight to lead you through to the next stage of development. 

Support systems are made up of those friends, co-workers, and relatives who can act as the bulwark to shore you up when you feel like you’re falling flat on your face. This group should only ever be made up of people who support you wholeheartedly. That’s not to say they’re all cheerleaders or ‘yes-men.’ A sound support system is willing to speak up when they see you heading in what they perceive to be the wrong direction. They’re also there to encourage you and to remind you why you’re working toward this goal in the first place.

Finally, don’t discount professional help where it’s needed. If you find you’re having trouble separating your emotions from the process, you might need a little bit of help in working things through. There’s nothing wrong with seeking advice from a counselor or medical professional if you find you’re overwhelmed and unable to proceed.

In the end, by embracing the obstacles you meet in trying to attain your goals, you’re likewise embracing a new way of thinking. You’re adjusting your mindset to one of success instead of failure. You’re accepting there are different ways to do things, and that the things standing in your way are more often new opportunities than a true stopping point. You’re looking at life in a way that allows you to go places you never thought possible before.

The key here is in control. Your emotions shouldn’t be what’s holding your back. Of course, it’s okay to feel what you do when you meet with an obstacle. The key is in not staying there when it’s time to move forward again because you will move forward again if you keep trying.

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Are You Living With Purpose

Let me ask you a question? Are you living with purpose? Or do you ask the winds for direction? There is less resistance going with the wind. But do you feel full-filled living a life with no direction or purpose? You accomplished many good things while following the path of the wind. Yet there is an emptiness in these accomplishments. We are overwhelmed by the media all day long. Think of the press as the wind.

One way to keep the wind at bay is to have a list of things you choose to do each day. Daily planners and daily to-do lists are popular because they keep you living with purpose.  There will always be people and incidents that arise to take you in a new direction. Knowing your life's purpose, coupled with your daily to-do list, will aid you to make the decision to stay on track. 

Your daily list of things to do is necessary and helpful. The danger is we can focus too much on the "what" and lose sight of the "why."  The big picture is the "why." The "what" is the supporting cast. This change of focus will be subtle. Asking yourself, "are you living with purpose" will keep the "why" as the center of your life.

The way to stay focused on the daily tasks that need to be accomplished to live your life's purpose without being overwhelmed is the question.  Every week take some time to reflect on "are you living with purpose."

Have the things you have done this week kept you in the right direction?  What tasks have helped you fulfill the dreams you have for your life? Are any of these tasks just busy work? We all have routines. Are these routines serving us, or are they just keeping us busy? What new things can you try to align you with your "why"?

Going on Retreats is a tool that you want to have in your arsenal. A retreat is removing yourself from your daily life for a day or weekend. You can do this by yourself or with a group of like-minded people. Reflecting on your life's purpose is the only objective of this time. Having a journal, a calendar, and those to-do lists will be helpful in your time of reflection. 

Retreats can be annually, semi-annually, or quarterly.  The more often you take a retreat the quicker you can make changes to stay on track to accomplishing your goal "are you living with purpose".

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

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