My favorite workouts are the ones where I get totally lost in the zone — and I feel like I could go for hours.
But I have so many more workouts where it’s just the opposite: I’m stressed about my to-do list, obsessing about finances, and inundated with thoughts about how I never have enough time or help to get everything done.
On those days, it’s so much easier to just throw in the towel and quit.
It’s the same thing with eating. Some days I’m on a roll, getting food prepped, making smoothies, happily doing grocery runs, and eating pounds of organic produce. Other days, I’m over it and speed dialing DoorDash.
What’s the difference between these two kinds of days?
Do I have more willpower? Am I more organized? Is my playlist better?
The answer to all of these is no. The difference between the good days and the not-so-good days has nothing to do with circumstances.
The difference has to do with my focus.
We so often overlook the power of focus. We get wrapped up in our personal dramas, and we miss a huge opportunity to use focus to our advantage.
When you’re focused, you can hear your inner voice speak — and if you listen to it, it will actually give you instructions. It will tell you what to notice and what’s most important. It will tell you when to keep going and when to stop.
Internal drama will steal your focus in two seconds flat if you give it your attention. For example:
- You ate too much for lunch and feel “disgusting” — so you spend the rest of the day eating everything in sight.
- You’re a little late for your workout and think, “I never have enough time to work out” — so you skip it altogether.
- You’re stressed out from not getting through your to-do list and think, “How am I supposed to do all of this with no help?” — so you turn on Netflix and binge on potato chips.
I have days like these more often than I’d like to admit.
The worst part about it is that we blame our lack of results on our lack of willpower, time, or help. (Or on our kids.) We chalk it up to us not having what it takes to make changes in our lives — when nothing could be further from the truth.
All it takes it one or two seconds of intentional focus to stop the drama, make a conscious choice, take decisive, positive action.
How to Get and Stay Focused
So how do you get focused when your house looks like a bomb went off, your kids are freaking out, and that to-do list seems to be getting longer every second? And how do you take your power back by focusing when your inner critic is telling you all the wrong things?
Here are 3 ways to do it:
1. Get still. There’s enormous power in stillness, the prerequisite of focus. When you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or like quitting, stop what you’re doing and don’t move. Sit down and stare at a point in the distance. Try to listen in to your inner wisdom to decide what to do next.
Doing things like throwing your hands up in the air, rolling your eyes, or sighing so loudly your neighbors can hear makes that wisdom vanish. Do what you can to be physically still so you can get your focus back.
2. Stop talking. Don’t bring your inner critic to life by repeating what she’s saying out loud. I am so, so guilty of this. I find myself blurting out the most self-destructive crap — I am so over it, I don’t have time, I’m so exhausted, This always happens — and all of it pushes me to single-handedly derail my day.
Venting and complaining do nothing for you. When you feel the urge to give a literal voice to your inner critic, stop yourself from talking. And if you do say something, make sure it’s something positive to turn you in the right direction.
3. Stay with it one more minute. The moment I feel like quitting or giving up, I try to stick with whatever I’m doing one more minute.
If I’m working out and not feeling it, I’ll stay on my bike for one more minute. If I’m straightening up my kitchen — critical if you want to stick with healthy habits — and hear that evil voice telling me that I get no help or respect from anyone, I do one more small task.
Sticking with what you’re about to give up on for just another minute is usually all it takes to refocus and regain momentum. However, if your inner wisdom is telling you that you need a break, then by all means take one!
Focus Gets Real Results
We make things harder than they need to be with our internal drama. And all that drama is created by our inner critic.
Your inner critic is really loud, and your inner wisdom speaks softly. So you have to learn to get focused in order to tune into it.
You’re more powerful than you think you are, and you are not a victim of your circumstances — unless you allow yourself to be. And by getting laser focused, you’ll be able to consistently take the right next step and stay on track, despite your chaotic life.
Setting and achieving goals is actually not that hard if you stop letting your busy day dominate your life and keeping it from crowding out what’s really important.
Get focused, stay focused, and make it easy to get the results you want — weight loss or otherwise.