Wednesday, January 25, 2012

5 Tips for Staying Focused on Your Goals

Day 25 of Your Year to Wellness
Imagine yourself as you'd feel to think, and be

Before we can even talk about staying focused on the goal, we need to have that discussion about how to set the goals. We’ve all been told to set realistic goals and to then to go for them, but that’s basically it. There’s lots of motivational information, great calendar tools and for you young-heads who don’t like to use pencils, there are APPS, but when it comes to defining the goal in the first place, there is not a great deal of good information out there.

For the most part, our goals are set by someone else; the weight loss or insurance industries tell us how we should look, while Drs. Phil and Oz tell us how we must feel. For 25 years, Oprah and before that Wall Street have told us what we should want (I don’t think I need cashmere pajamas, I’m already hot.) While our parents, pastors, priests and imams tell us what to believe.

There is a point in everyone’s life when we must step away from the mainstream to find our own path. We really do need to do some soul searching today to think about what it is we want, for ourselves, our children our family and friends, our work, community our country and our world. Think about this for a moment and when you do you will see that the politics of a Republican are pretty much the same as they are for a Democrat; they vary, no two are alike and they have more in common than they want to believe. Men and women have the same hopes and dreams for their lives and loves and gays and lesbians are just as straight as a heterosexual is queer.  By now you are wondering what this has to do with goal setting but stay with me I’m getting there---we all have goals that have been determined for us and they are pretty much the same as they are for everyone else, but I want you to really dig deep.

Today, take a step back and see what you want for you. I’d like you to think higher than you ever have. What is realistic for you is not realistic for me. Go beyond your real-line and let’s see into the beyond.

The reason we have a hard time staying focused on our goals is because too often they are not ours in the first place. When I moved beyond the goal to lose weight and set a goal to be well, I not only lost more weight than I initially thought was possible, I created a wellness plan for others to follow. I reached the goal and then set another to assist and guide those who yearned for more than physical wellness but who sought to be totally well.

So how do we stay focused?

·         Shut out the noise---I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it; avoid the negativity that turns your eyes from your prize. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped something that works for me because someone walked by and said “Don’t do that it doesn’t work”, or “That’s a myth,” or “That’s crazy.” My life reads like a fairytale. I set out to do things that seem impossible to others but for me they seem like, okay why not. Erase the tape in your head that says you can’t and keep singing. (This little light of mine…)

·         Replace the tape—whenever you remove something negative, you must immediately replace it with something positive and true or the old idea will come right back. When I see my children struggling, I am tempted to believe that they will always struggle, I erase the thought and replace it with the truth that they are already doing better than anyone would have expected for them; that we all struggle sometimes and that everyone has their own path. The moment I hear the truth for them, I see it for myself as well.

·         Practice your outcomes—Before I started the Year to Wellness program, I imagined what I would look like, then I imagined what I would feel like; I imagined it so much that when it happened it took me by surprise. Take a moment each morning to give your acceptance speech for having won the goals of life. Who would you thank, and who would you encourage?

·         Celebrate small milestones—Celebrations are a necessary part of every journey. Too often though, we meet a goal and just keep moving, never stopping to enjoy the moment. Make the time to reward yourself with the joy you need. The first time I was able to go to the movies without eating popcorn was a major hurdle. It may have seemed like a little thing to someone else, but I knew that it was the thing I needed to get over most. That very day before I went home, I stopped to purchase something to mark the occasion. I thought it fitting that I found a pair of earrings with evil eye charms; Nazars are charms worn or hung in a home or work place in cultures around the world for protection from the “evil eye”, or envy of others. I wear mine as a reminder that I need not envy or compare myself to others; that my goals are my own and that I should allow no one to hinder me. (I get to pick my own goals and my own celebrations.)

·         Keep your dreams close to your vest—I believe that it’s important to stay quiet about the amazing goals you are setting, however, I also feel that it is important to share your hopes with those who love and adore you, for they will guard and care for your dreams as if they are your own. These people will pray and think of you throughout the course of their lives and will help you to realize them.

About a month ago, a dear friend shared her heart with me. She told me that she had reached the point in her life where she knew she was ready for love. She had raised and loved her children and their friends fiercely. She’d been an example and teacher to many and had lived a life of love and now she told me, it was time for someone to come and love her. Just one day before, I had heard a similar dream from a close brother friend. When my sister shared her dream, I sat straight up and said “I see my purpose.” I introduced them by phone and let life and love take over--and it has.

Set your own goals and stick to them. If you fall off the horse, or out of the car, or bike or pogo stick, or miniature pony or off an emu---okay you get the point; get right back on. Otherwise, fear will take hold and you will not come to the place we all need and desire; the place where we truly love ourselves and all that is around us.

Be well, Be true to you, Stay your focused.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

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