If you are overwhelmed with something in your life, chances are you may be focusing on the wrong thing.
I invite you to step back from your overwhelm for a moment, take a couple of deep (belly) breaths - not the piddly kind where your shoulders go up and it feels like you're making yourself hyperventilate - and focus on the inputs instead of worrying about the outcomes.
Believe it or not, outcomes and results are not terribly good things for you to focus on if you want to be successful. If you want to struggle, they are perfect things to focus on. ;)
What do I mean by this? Let me explain.
When you set a goal, you have thought about the result or outcome you want to attain. That is a good thing. After all, you cannot get where you want to go if you don't know where that is!
However, if you continue to use that end goal, end result, or final outcome as your focus, you will lose motivation, you will lose confidence, and you will quickly lose the struggle and go right back to the old habits that you don't like.
Simple. Your end goal is so far away from where you are right now that the work involved to get from one to the other seems endless. That is why you may start strong or be excited and motivated at the start, but then once you are not getting the results that you are focused on, you give up. The struggle is lost and you don't change.
So how do you stop that cycle of ineffectiveness?
You stop worrying about the outcomes and you focus on the inputs.
Here's an example of how that works.
If you are a quarterback on a football team, and you have the ball on your own five yard line, you obviously know you have to go 95 yards in order to score a touchdown. But if you choose to look down the field and say to yourself, "that's a long way to go...that's a lot of green...not only that, but the entire defense of the other team is trying to stop me while I am trying to move down the field," you are not going to get very far. You certainly don't need the defense to stop your forward progress...you will do a great job of it yourself.
By focusing on "how far you have to go and what is in the way," you might as well just hand the ball to your opponent and forfeit the game. Why are you even playing?
If you change your focus to the inputs, instead of the end-goal, you give yourself a much better chance for a positive outcome. For example, does that quarterback really need to move his team 95 yards? NO. What he needs to do is move his team 10 yards. That's it. If he can move his team 10 yards, he gets more chances to move his team another 10 yards. Since you get a new set of four downs every time you move 10 yards, that is really your goal right now. That's it.
10 yards is a lot more do-able than 95 yards, isn't it?
And, he has four chances to get that 10 yards. If your team succeeds in getting that 10 yards within four downs, they get another four downs to get another 10 yards.
Think about that for a moment. A 25% success rate scores a touchdown every time you have the ball.
Imagine if you began focusing on the smaller inputs. What if you pushed the ultimate end goal to the side and simply focused on your "10 yard goals" instead. Do you think they would feel more do-able? Would you probably achieve more of them? If you did your easier "10 yard goals" consistently, would you arrive at your end-goal?
Of course you would! You would actually get there!
When you focus on the little, daily inputs, you get to experience the little feels and energy and successes that you don't get to experience when you focus only on the results. When you are results focused, you only see disappointment and failure.
Why? Because you are comparing everything you do to something you cannot possibly attain yet. You have made it impossible for you to succeed.
You can apply this to just about anything in your life that you want to do:
- In order to lose 60 pounds, you need to lose 5 pounds first
- In order to write a novel, you have to write a couple of pages first
- In order to save $1,000 in your emergency fund, you need to save $100 first