We expend so much energy focusing on what we don’t have: time to exercise, a healthy diet, a good relationship with our brother. We recycle these thoughts and try to make ourselves feel better or justified in our discontent when that energy could be used to create what we do want. Today I challenge you to focus on what you want more of. Here’s how.
Make a list. Want to get more sleep? More bubble baths and less screen time? To receive more affection from those you love? Our minds are like puppies that we have to exercise. They want to fetch that ball for us and bring it back, but they need direction. Otherwise, they’ll take off for the neighbor’s garbage. Give your mind something to go and fetch and focus on instead of bemoaning what you’re lacking.
I challenge you to set small, achievable intentions. If you want more sleep, agree to turn your lights out 10 minutes earlier than usual for a week. Want your lover/spouse/boss to be more grateful? Sometimes getting what you want will rely heavily on giving it first. Make it your goal to express your gratitude every day in some way.
That which you focus on will increase. When you’ve reached that goal attack another item on your list.
Can’t do it every day? That’s okay. Making the list of WHAT YOU WANT will get you that much closer to having it.
My friend Lauren has used this mantra for years. Instead of focusing on how hard it was to deal with the tantrums and whining of her toddlers (who were just being toddlers), she pinpointed what she did want and encouraged it whole heartedly. She showed appreciation for their cooperation, their gratitude and their resiliency. She spent time talking to them about these qualities and how they positively effect their family. Her boys now have all those qualities and are truly remarkable teens. It works!
My current intention? To have more fun with our two sons. In theory, one of them will be out of the house in 5 years. I’ve got parental nagging down pat, but what do I want more of? Laughter, joking, enjoyment, sharing inner thoughts and connection. Here’s what I can do: spend 10 minutes a day sitting down by them, make a conscious effort to stop what I’m doing when they’re telling me a story, laugh at their jokes, make more of my own jokes and share more of my vulnerability with them. Writing it here will keep me accountable. Please share your own intentions and comments below.