Focus | How to stay committed to your goals
I am committed to my goals.
I am going to achieve what I want in my life.
I am focused.
I am going to study 8 hours a day and reach my goals before everyone else.
I am going to practice 12 hours a day to improve my skills.
But, wait, let me check youtube first.
There is no harm in just watching one youtube video, and besides, I need breaks.
There is a strong unknown force within me that is pushing me to check my Gmail.
I have turned off all the notifications on my mobile, but I still check them more often.
Sometimes, I don’t know what I am doing and how I am wasting time everyday.
It is only at bedtime; I realize how much time I have wasted today.
There is no mental clarity.
This article will discuss how we can improve our focus in life and, and most of all, how we can be happy.
You are not your mind
There is a constant voice going in your mind.
90% of our decisions are unconscious. You may think you have taken the decision to watch that cat video, but it is your conditioned mind, not you.
What is the conditioned mind?
The mind that is shaped and molded with your day-to-day experiences is known as the conditioned mind.
If you wake up at 6 am every morning since childhood, you don’t need an alarm clock to wake up at 6 am.
If you play video games everyday, you don’t need encouragement to play video games everyday; you will do it automatically.
The things we do regularly is how our mind is shaped.
Let’s continue with the video game example:
One day you have decided to quit video games because it is eating up your productivity hours.
You have successfully worked for three days without playing video games, but you started playing again without any conscious choice on the fourth day.
Similarly, liking someone, eating something, or finishing your income tax filing are all based on your unconscious decision-making.
The voice is always there in your mind.
It is constantly speaking or sometimes screaming.
You often do things that you don’t want to do.
You often get distracted until you lose the whole day, week, year, or your whole life.
But, if you slow down and try to hear that voice, your consciousness starts to grow.
Your self-awareness starts to build up.
You don’t need to judge or take action against that voice.
You just need to hear it without any bias.
Once you start doing this, you will notice the power of the voice has started to become weaker, and sooner; it does not affect you anymore.
Now you can condition your mind in your own way.
Images and Clips
Sometimes with unconscious voices, there will be images along with video clips.
What I mean by this is, while you are working on your project, suddenly an image of playing games with your friends or a clip from a youtube video plays on your mind.
If you are unaware of your mind, you stop your work and start searching that video.
You just want to watch that video for unknown reasons because one video will not harm you in any way.
Though, we all know how it ends.
The solution is not to stop that voice, images, or the clips that play in your mind.
The solution is to observe the thought without any biased judgment.
You don’t need to suppress the emotions that arise from the images or clips because if you do, the emotions will get even stronger.
It is a waste of mental energy.
Once you start to observe your mind and emotions, the unknown pull from your unconscious mind starts to fade away.
It loses its strength, and you regain your power once again.
The more you practice, the stronger your awareness becomes.
You have only moments to live
Our mind lives in the future or past.
Most people who ‘want to‘ be productive in life, achieve success, smash their goals by hard work and focus, always live in the future.
Again, people who are depressed and lost in spirit mostly dwell on the past.
But, the rare kind, who are already productive everyday, lives on the present, on the moment.
These people are not obsessed with the end result.
They don’t care about a certain ‘to-do list.’
Most people care about the ‘to-do list’ as if it is their job.
Once you do something you love according to a list, you start hating it sooner or later.
Success comes on its own if you start to live in the moment.
If you are reading this article, you already know what you want to do in life.
To achieve a goal, you don’t need to attach yourself to that goal.
Once you enjoy the process, goals will be achieved on their own.
If someone wants to improve their focus, they only need to start living in the moments and forget about the ‘to-do list.’
Once you start living in the moment, you will already know what you want to do at that moment.
This will give you immense joy.
Joy is the source of positive energy you need to achieve your goals.
But, how to live in the moment?
We will discuss it in the later article.
Living in the Future
Once I get the promotions, life will be much happier.
If I have to achieve the goals, I have to do this, then this, then that, and that.
To become a writer, I need to read 50 pages everyday, and only then can I become a writer.
If only she accepts me, I will be so much happier.
Once I visit Paris, I can enjoy life so much.
These are examples of a person living in the future.
You can argue that these are the goals of a person and a person need to have goals.
Of course, a person needs to have goals.
Without goals, we will just travel mindlessly in this vast world.
But, the above examples are not only goals; those are examples of attachment with the goals.
They do certain things in the present, only to achieve those goals.
They are so busy with the results; they forget to enjoy the process.
Again, once we miss a day or two of our practice, we feel guilty and shame for wasting time.
We may not even be aware of shame or guilt within us.
The future image we created about ourselves starts to shake, and this creates fear.
Fear, shame, and guilt are not good for productivity or happiness.
Once your happiness goes down, so does your productivity.
You get distracted off the road, and you start smoking or drinking to cope with the situation.
At least, that is a temporary relief.
We all know, taking a substitute action to make yourself feel better will only delay the problem, not solve it.
But, once you start living in the moment, you don’t care how many pages of books you need to read everyday.
Each page, each paragraph will give you the joy to continue more.
Each meeting with her will give you joy without any acceptance.
Once you enjoy your work, your output will be better on its own.
Promotion will take place on its own.
Living in the past.
Living on the past gives rise to self-pity.
Self-pity is nothing but an escape from reality and responsibility.
It gives rise to negative emotions and hinders your progress in life.
It seems like a relief, but it is just a trap to make your life miserable.
You may have lost thousands of dollars in the shares, and now all you can do is self-pity.
You say to yourself, if only you had a little bit more knowledge about the market, you were unlucky because you didn’t see it at the right time, only if you had read the news, etc.
Self-pity will not solve your problem, nor will it return the money that you lost.
It may feel like if you pity yourself and cry out loud, you will get what you want, but the world doesn’t work that way.
On the contrary, self-pity robs you of all the positive energy you could have to stand up again and make you weak and paralyzed for a long time or forever.
Once a person stops self-pitying, he stops living in the past.
The person who lost money in shares says, okay, I lost, but I learned a lot.
This experience shows me how much more I need to learn.
This is a good thing that happened because now I can focus more on learning.
This kind of thinking immediately fills up the person with positive energy.
He bounces back sooner than he knows.
His focus improves towards his life, and he starts to live in the moment.
Shame and Guilt
Shame and guilt have a strange way of working.
Most of the time, it remains in disguise.
Let me help you to understand with an example.
Roy is a pornography addict, according to him.
Roy figured out that if he wants to be successful, he needs to stop watching porn.
So, Roy quit watching pornography for over a year.
His productivity has also improved, as he thought.
But, one day, he relapsed accidentally.
A bitter feeling of disgust arose in him after the relapse.
Why did he break the streak of one year?
He worked so hard to quit.
His productivity has gone down for few days. But, Roy was determined, so he starts his journey again of not watching porn.
For the first few days, he didn’t feel much productive.
He figured this is because of the relapse.
So, after a week or two, his productivity starts to increase once again.
But, for some reason, he relapsed again.
He concluded, it is his addiction that is not letting him quit.
Perhaps, Roy was right, or perhaps it was something else.
It was shame and guilt that reduces his productivity.
It was shame and guilt that lead to the next relapse and the next and the next.
Shame and guilt are the negative emotions that can rob your joy and make you feel depressed and isolated.
Shame and guilt are not bad; without shame and guilt, the world cannot operate.
There would have no morality.
It is the increased intensity of shame and guilt that ruins our happiness.
There is no need to feel shame or guilty if you miss a day of your productivity, if you start playing video games instead of working, or if you watch pornography that you want to quit.
There is no need to feel shame or guilty if you have wasted your life till now.
Because you are a human, and your mind is conditioned according to the environment.
You are where you are because of your conditioned mind.
You didn’t waste your life purposefully.
It happened unconsciously, and now you can change it.
Because now you can make decisions at every moment.
Practicing living in the moment
The thing about practice it, the more you do, the better you become at the activity.
Once you start practicing living in the moment, the better you become at it.
A. Mindfulness in activities
You are reading this article.
You are here, and the only thing you need to pay attention to is the article.
Once you do this, you feel certain emotions.
You just need to observe it without any biased judgment.
Similarly, when you walk, just pay attention to walking.
How your feet move one after another, and your progress is made.
There is no rush; the is no storm inside you.
If there is any rush or turmoil inside you, try to identify it.
You don’t need to form any opinions about it.
If your mind wanders, when you try to focus on your walking, go with it and see where your mind is wandering.
If you feel certain strong emotions, like a bad smell while walking on the road, pay attention to the emotion.
Once you start doing this, you can identify your emotions when you are productive.
You will feel a certain joy inside you, and you will know that you are here, present in this moment, and you are enjoying it.
You stop worrying about the result or the outcome; you stop caring about the hours and only focus on the moment.
B. Mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation certainly helps in improving your awareness.
Mostly, the beginners start with the breath.
They pay attention to the inhale and exhale of each breath. The way the nostril enlarges when inhaling and how the chest deflates while exhaling.
This improves concentration.
Once your mind wanders in meditation, like going to the market in the evenings or any other thoughts, you pay attention to those thoughts.
Again, those thoughts give rise to certain emotions, like anger, rush, excitement, sadness, or joy.
You start to pay attention to those emotions- how anger feels like, how rush and excitement feel like, how calmness feels like, etc.
The more you practice mindfulness meditation everyday, the more your self-awareness will grow.
To improve your focus, you don’t need to focus more on your future.
It sounds paradoxical, but this is the truth.
You need to focus on now, this moment.
Stop making a ‘to-do list’ because ‘to-do list’ will make you only depress if you miss a certain day.
You are human, and you are definitely going to miss certain days.
There is nothing to feel bad about.
Stop counting days, stop counting events or a probable future.
You already have a present, this moment to live first.
Each moment will decide the next moment.
Once you live this moment, you can deal with the next moment when it arrives.