I got the idea from my Facebook group to write about Focus for the month of February for my Wellness Wednesday post. I posted a question and asked everyone what their focus will be for February, some of the responses I received were “time management,” “being more organized,” and “prioritizing time.” These are all very common struggles for most people in my opinion so I wanted to write about it in hopes that I will be able to provide some insights that will help you along the way. This site defines focus as “staying persistent with the task at hand, to continue to work towards whatever it is you need to do and ensure that you stay concentrated on that one activity.” When you’re focused you’re not multi-tasking and you’re not day dreaming, it’s putting in the work to get something done.” The responses from my Facebook group made me think about the potential common denominator for their responses to the question. Meaning, I think all the responses fall under the same category on some level. And to me that category is focus because implementing these changes in our life requires a great deal of focus. But I also think that we struggle with staying on track with these tasks because we lose momentum on some level, at some point. For example, if you want to be more organized or if you want to prioritize your time, you might get a planner or start a to do list to help you get through your day. But some where down the line you fall off and end up right back right where you started. The planner or to do list was the momentum you had to get you started; not necessarily in the literal sense but momentum was that tool that you used to help you start that journey. Do you follow?
Sometimes we lose momentum because it can be a challenge for us stick with a new habit, and other times we lose momentum because we are not seeing the progress that we’re expecting. For example, if you’ve never been good at managing your time, trying to change things over night or within a week might not be easy because you’re more accustomed to “moving with the wind,” not tracking your time. Similarly, if you’ve never been an organized person but would like to work on changing that, that change won’t happen overnight either. Also, change takes patience and time. Keep in mind slow progress does not equal no progress. Speaking for myself, being organized does not work for me, even though I wish it did. I wrote in my self-care newsletter recently that although I like the idea of having some structure, there’s also something about it that doesn’t work for me and I hate that lol. Because having order is the accountability that I need to stay focused, to make sure I’m on track, and to make sure I’m not forgetting anything. But there is also something about going with the ebb and flow of life and working with what occurs naturally that does it for me. There’s a sense of security I feel with knowing that things are planned out far in advance but sometimes I start to question my decision when I plan things out ahead of time. Meaning, what if what I planned no longer works for me when it’s time to do it? Have you ever felt like this? I think for me, structure is good in theory and is good to have as a back up, but at the end of the day, what works best for me is knowing that my plans may change, and I should just go with that. What I’m starting to learn about myself is that I don’t fall into any one category in life. I’m like the scales of the libra, I fall evenly on both sides to create my own internal balance. I may never fully be a completely structured and a “schedule” person, but I also know that just winging it doesn’t always work for me either. My life works best when I formulate a structure but I make room for that structure to fall apart as it sees fit. I think my structure is a metaphorical safety net. If for some reason I choose to fall, I know it’s there.
With all this in mind, I crafted four steps I think we can all use to help us maintain momentum:
- REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED–it’s about the fundamentals. When you feel like you’re losing sight, remember why you decided to go on this journey in the first place. If it helps, write down the things you think you can accomplish if you stay on track or, do a pros and cons list. I always say writing things down is one way we can keep ourselves accountable with anything we want to accomplish in life.
- ASSESS YOUR CURRENT PROGRESS–do an analysis of where things are since implementing this new change. Your progress may be just enough to encourage you to keep going. Additionally, if you notice that something is not working for you after you’ve done the analysis, consider making some adjustments. That adjustment may very well be the push you need to keep moving.
- THINK ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF THE END RESULT–similar to the first method. What will you accomplish if you stick to this goal? Will you get more done during the day? Will it reduce your stress level? Will it keep you from forgetting things? Will it help you get some more time back at the end of your day? If you’ve answered yes to any or all of these then you have to follow through and keep going.
- FLEX YOUR SELF-DISCIPLINE–no one has control over this except for you so it’s your duty to flex that proverbial muscle. Push yourself outside your comfort zone and fully challenge yourself to stay disciplined by sticking to your plan.
- BONUS: ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER—Consider getting an accountability partner. Someone you can reach out to who will encourage you to stay on track when you feel you’re starting to lose focus.
I think maintaining momentum is a change in progress. We have to keep practicing until we get it right. I believe I read or heard somewhere that it takes 21 days to form a habit (this research contradicts me a bit but don’t let it discourage you lol). With that said, instead of looking at your change as a life long journey, tell yourself that you’re going to try it for 21 days and see what happens. If you’re trying to work on time management for the next 21 days, work on writing out a to do list every day, even if it’s only a few things on your list. This is another tip, don’t overwhelm yourself. Instead of planning out your entire day, maybe you can start out by planning your morning, your afternoon, or your dinner menu. And each day that passes by, add a little more to that list. Another option would be to cut back on something i.e. watch one less hour of tv each night and use that time to accomplish something productive. Go at a pace that works for you until you get where you want to be. Just don’t give up.
Leave me a comment and let me know if you think this is helpful? Also, what is your focus for the month of February? Do you fall under any of the categories that I mentioned earlier in the blog? Do you use any of the methods that I mentioned to help you maintain momentum? If you do anything different please share. I’m still trying to figure it out my focus for the month of February. My word for the year is finances so maybe my focus will be to work on my savings or to do some research on investments.
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