Recently I was talking with a friend of mine about yoga and how it helped one of my students with her lower back issues. It’s an incredible story and I know she suffers with back pain. I was hoping to inspire her. Half way through our conversation she said, “I can’t focus!…that’s the problem”.
It’s a common problem, especially in this day and age, where we are connected 24-7. It’s no surprise there’s practically a whole generation, with ADD or ADHD. It’s crazy. There are seemingly hundreds of things vying for our attention on a daily basis. One Mindfulness expert said our biggest commodity, in this age, is our attention. I agree.
Just like a yoga practice, focus is something that needs to be practiced. In order to do that, you need to be aware when it’s happening, and then be able to implement techniques that help redirect your mind to the present moment. This is the corner stone of the practice of Mindfulness.
In my yoga classes, I always tell my students “if your mind starts to wonder, redirect your attention back to your breath”. This is one technique that helps bring your attention back to the present moment. Not only does it redirect your mind, it also brings in large amounts of oxygen into your body, which helps calm your nervous system. It’s a win-win technique and one that is easy to use no matter where you are or what you are doing.
So next time your mind starts to wondering, first, take a moment to notice it’s happening, then take 5 to 10 deep breath focusing on pulling the breath into the lungs, filling the lungs up like a balloon in your chest cavity. Then feel the lungs deflate until there isn’t another breath left, like a deflate balloon. Stay with the breath, no matter how silly you think the exercise is at first. After a while, with practice, you will start to feel calmer and more centered, which means your focus is strengthening.
There are no quick fixes for anything that truly matters in life, however if you make the decision that you matter, then it’s worth the effort! Take time to practice focus, it will change your life…for the better.
In all honesty the New Year Resolution is no different than all of those other resolutions we make throughout the year. It’s solely defined by the start of a new year, because of that people are more enthusiastic about making it work, new beginnings and all. Gyms and studios are fuller for the first three months of the New Year, with all of those resolutions coming into play. However by March it starts to dwindle down.
One of the reasons this happens, speaking from personal experience, is consistency. That’s the hardest part of sticking to the changes we want to make in our lives. It always starts with a staunch determination, then life happens and next thing we know, we didn’t stick to the commitment we’ve made to ourselves. We begin to feel disappointed in ourselves and like a merry-go-round, we keep going round and round, over the same old ground.
So this year, as I reflect on my own resolutions, I am going to write them down and develop a strategy for being consistent. I know this will be the hardest part especially with three kids, a husband, a house and a dog. However, even if I develop small increments of time to devote to my goals, and I am consistent, long term it will yield better results. It will start becoming a habit in my lifestyle.
Therefore, this year, my number one resolution is to be consistent. It will be the foundation of all my goals. I will not create unrealistic expectations by trying to make too many changes all at once. I am going to pick a few key ones that resonant deep within me. These changes have nothing to do with anyone, except me and my personal growth as a human being.
There are many ideas on the web about developing strategies to be more consistent. I particularly liked this tip: “use reminders in your environment”. I’m going to use this one. I found it on this interesting blog called How to Take Consistent Action: 7 Powerful Tips
Let’s get off the merry-go-round and do the work! Let’s implement ideas to help us be more consistent. Set yourself up to succeed with your resolutions this year. You are worth the effort. And remember, even the smallest changes have big effects over time, especially with your self-esteem.
If you have any ideas that have help you be more consistent, please share it with us here. Your strategy could help someone else achieve their goals. The world is a much better place when individuals feel good about themselves. Happy New Year, make it a good one. <3, G*