It’s a simple phrase I’ve used many times when I hear someone say something like:
‘I just can’t seem to drop that last bit of body fat, but I don’t want to stop enjoying a few beers.’
‘I just feel so frustrated.’
‘I just want to get really big and strong, and drop body fat and decrease my running times.’
‘There’s so much going on at the moment, I just feel a little overwhelmed.’
We always get more of what we focus on.
To quote Napoleon Hill ‘There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose.’ What is it that you want? What do you really, truly want? If you are unable to answer that question, how do you know if what you are doing will get you where you want to be?
Okay Adam, that sounds simple enough but why the emphasis? Well, here’s two ways Focus can help you achieve your goals:
- Choosing what you focus on
- Re-frame if you have a negative focus.
Choosing what you focus on
It still surprises every time I hear someone say they’re doing ‘all they can’ to achieve their dreams and not getting anywhere and in the same breath they enthusiastically announce that they’ve just binge-watched the latest Netflix series the moment it became available.
Don’t get me wrong, watching television is fun, so is going to the cinema, playing videogames and swiping through InstaFaceTwitter (we’ve all done it) every now and then, it just pays to be mindful that time spent doing those things might be time you could be doing something else, maybe something that might help you get closer to your goal?
Whatever you are trying to achieve: to drop 20lbs of body-fat, get your first pull-up, gain 30lbs of muscle, squat twice your bodyweight, run a 4 minute mile, achieve a sub 5-minute Fran or make your first million, you sure as hell better make that your focus it you want the best chance of being able to achieve it. What kind of focus? Well, nobody ever achieved anything spectacular by being ‘interested’ in it, ‘intrigued’ by something. Show me someone who is passionate and you’ll find someone willing to take definitive action to achieve their goals.
If you’re unsatisfied with the progress you’re making ask yourself this – What could I be doing instead, right now, to move myself closer to my goals?
Do you want to lose body fat and find yourself thinking about when you can have your next ‘cheat’ meal?
Are you trying to increase your squat by 20kg but don’t want to eat too much because you don’t want to lose your six-pack?
We always get more of what we focus on.
Trying to gain muscle, drop a dress size, increase your general fitness or get shredded are all perfectly reasonable things to want to do, you’ll just get a lot more mileage the more specific your focus is.
We all know it instinctively, multi-tasking is a bit pants. But in practice, we still try it far too often.
- Decide what you really want to do
- Learn all you can about how to achieve that specific goal
- Seek out people who’ve achieved what you want to achieve and find out what they did
- Take action and stick with it consistently enough to see results.
Re-frame if you have a negative focus
‘I’ve always been fat.’
‘I don’t have enough time to go to the gym, let alone to make healthy meals.’
‘I just can’t seem to gain muscle no matter what I do?’
‘It was all going so well and then…’
It is all too easy to focus on the negatives, being too fat/skinny/short/tall, not having enough time, feeling that it’s not working, encountering setbacks. The truth is, we can choose to see things however we want. We are all unique. We can only make the best of what we have. There are 24 hours in every day, nobody gets any more or less. If it isn’t working and we’re honest with ourselves there is probably something we could be doing better and no matter who we are or what our circumstances, there will always be an opportunity to derail and get off track, a work party, an injury or illness.
Paraphrasing Epictetus ‘We cannot always influence what happens to us in life, however we always have complete control over how we respond to the things that do happen.’
If you’re not making progress as quickly as you think you should (be realistic) see it as a learning opportunity. Are you really doing all you can? Is your training, nutrition, rest and recovery in line with your goals? Be honest with yourself, they are your goals, and if you find gaps, use it as a chance to try some new exercises, to develop a new skill, review and re-vamp your routine, get to sleep earlier or to try out some new recipes.
How we feel about any given situation has a direct impact on how in control and how confident we are in our ability to influence and change the situation. We often react emotionally rather than respond intellectually. Overweight? Choose to see it as temporary, every gram of fat you loose is a gram of fat you are less overweight. Too skinny? Be aware that there’s a huge amount of professional bodybuilders, powerlifters and fitness models who started out skinny and lifted weights to put on size. We all have to start somewhere, choose your poison, gather no moss, keep rolling.
Life is a journey and it begins with a single step and to make the most of it we have to show up, take action, review and adjust and have the determination to rinse and repeat consistently over time.
A simple re-frame can make a world of difference. Granted, it is not always easy to do, particularly in the heat of the moment, but if you can, it’s a game-changer.
Success leaves clues, keep an eye out for them.
We always get more of what we focus on. Choose wisely.