Saturday, May 9, 2009

Are you focused or are you frustrated?

I can tell I'm starting to feel a lot better; I'm getting restless and fidgety. I've been having that cabin fever feeling the last couple of days - the caged in feeling, anxious to get moving again.

And my brain is kicking in again.

I've actually had the title of this going through my mind for a couple of weeks. Not because I spend every spare moment thinking of witty blog titles. Its because I've noticed the theme everywhere around me, and it's only getting worse.

What brought all this up was a conversation I had with a co-worker a few weeks back. She shared stories of the different hobbies, interest, things they've bounced around in their lives with no real direction or purpose. This is also the co-worker who's restarting Weight Watchers for the 3rd or 4th time in the 18 months I've known her. I made the comment that she sounded a bit frustrated at her lack of focus. She said "Maybe, yeah, but I'm thinking I'm going to do this or that to figure it out," and then changed the topic.

Then today I was listening to an older podcast from my favorite fitness guy, Jonathan Roche, (probably the best trainer and coach you've never heard of) <link> </link> (it's also available on iTunes). He was talking about the last fitness challenge on his group that started out with 6,000 people and ended with barely 1,000, and only about 500 of those people being consistent through the entire challenge.


The same reason you see a ton of ads for diet and weight loss products/services the week before January 1, and why you can find a front door parking spot at the gym on February 1: It's really easy to get focused. It's really hard to STAY focused.

One of my fabu SparkFriends has this great quote on her page: "If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results." I'm not sure where she got it from, but it's spot on. Most people tend to focus on the wrong things, especially when they're starting out: Results.

It's totally understandable, too. Society has been set up in such a way that your worth and self esteem is tied more to the size of your jeans and the number on the scale than the size of your heart, and the greatness of your efforts. The sudden _hyper_focus on weight loss is accompanied by sweeping changes like a strict eating plan and unreasonable amounts of exercise. They don't see progress because they're not sure where they're going or why, but they're bound and determined to get there fast! It's an 'all or nothing' approach to failure instead of a realistic road to success.

Hyper focusing on one thing - diving in head first with out figuring out what your deep seated emotional reason for doing so - and not allowing yourself rest or breaks is based in fear. The fear that, if you take your eyes off the goal for one second you'll lose it. How many times have you pushed yourself to work late into the night because you were 'in the right mindset and didn't want to break it' only to feel miserable for days afterward? It's the fear that you don't have enough faith in yourself or in the dream you're working towards achieving to believe that the enthusiasm, inspiration and motivation will be here waiting for you any time you go looking for it.

Then there's that 3-5% that stay the course. They're the ones that got tired of starting over and over again, and decided to take the simple approach - knowing that simple isn't always easy. They focused their attention on a plan that was bigger than a number, bigger than a pant size. They took the time to figure out why they were doing it and where they were going.

And they did it. Every. Single. Day.

See, it's easy to get focused. It's hard to stay focused. It takes daily effort, and understanding that there may be physical set backs along the way - weight fluctuations, injuries, vacations, discouraging family or friends - but they don't let them be mental setbacks.

It also takes courage. But courage is like a muscle. It gets stronger the more it's flexed.

The more it's flexed, the more you can focus.

The question is: are you ready to stop being frustrated?

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