Focus on Your Destination in the New Year
I recently watched some old episodes of Frasier, including one where Frasier was asked to participate in a charity bike ride. The only problem was that he didn’t know how to ride a bicycle. Luckily, Daphne gave him some lessons, but he still had one major problem.
He kept accidentally steering into things he wanted to avoid, like trash cans and trees.
It reminded me of an important thing to remember if you’re thinking about changes you want to make in your life in the New Year.
Focus on where you want to go, not what you want to avoid.
Don’t Look at What You Want to Avoid
As Frasier found out, the problem with looking at what you want to avoid is that you end up going towards it, and this doesn’t only apply to riding a bike.
This is a big part of the reason diets don’t work. It’s very hard to stop thinking about the foods you’re trying not to have while everyone else is still having them.
Or if you want to get in better shape but you only think about how out of shape you currently are, you’ll likely feel demotivated. You’ll easily be able to talk yourself into not doing anything, and you won’t get in better shape.
Focus on Your End Goal
If you keep your focus on your destination, you’re more likely to get there without being sidetracked by the occasional bump in the road.
From an eating perspective, instead of trying to keep your attention only on certain foods, you’ll do better if you think about the goal of having a healthier relationship with food. Keeping that in mind will help you remember to make choices that will get you there, and it will certainly make you more mindful.
Or if you want to be in better shape, you’ll be more inclined to be active if you imagine yourself taking a brisk walk, or running a couple of miles, or riding your bicycle, or whatever it is you want to be doing. Picturing yourself doing it is a big step towards actually doing it, and once it starts to become a habit, you’ll have some momentum and positive reinforcement to keep you going.
Keep a Clear Image of Your Goal
Remember that when you focus on something, you give it energy and end up moving toward it. It’s best to reserve that attention and energy for your real goal.
And if you keep that image clearly in mind rather than getting distracted by pitfalls, you’re much more likely to get where you want to go.