Focus is a scary word to most people. What can it do for us? How can it help us? Can we program ourselves to focus? Focus, confidence and selfdiscipline all work hand in hand with each other. Learning to focus can help us in many ways. It can help us realise what we really want in life, it can help us make good and informed decisions. It can also help us to accept ourselves just the way we are, without feeling the need to condemn ourselves or put ourselves down in any way, shape or form. Focus can help us gain confidence, power and happiness. Focus can also help us remain grounded and stay on track. Focus can change confusion into absolute knowledge and self-criticism into love for oneself. Always be aware that you ARE able to focus on what you want, and to focus your thoughts on anything at all. Try it now by thinking about the dishes, now change your focus and think about your car. Switch focus again and think about a dog. It really is that easy to focus on whatever you want to focus on. We all need to learn to set aside time to be used on the one thing we want or need to focus on. It’s not a matter of “taking the time” to focus, but more a matter of “making the time”.
If we are willing to make the time, we will focus a lot better on whatever it is you want or need to do. You ask me how I can possibly make time to focus with four demanding children, 3 dogs and a new house? Easy, I can stay up for an extra hour when all the kids are in bed and the house is quiet, and MAKE the time to focus on what I’m doing with absolutely no distractions at all. Oh, that’s right; you work too, so you’re too tired to stay up late. How about getting up half an hour early, before the madness at home begins? Before you go to bed, get everything ready for your early morning “focus time” so that you don’t have to run around looking for it when you’re half awake. Of course, this means you have to have a plan of action ready beforehand. Decide when you are going to make time, and stick to it like glue. Don’t let ANYTHING take you away from that time. Make sure you have everything you need all in one place, a room, or even a corner of a room where you can sit in peace. Unplug the phone, turn off the television, and don’t even listen to quiet background music.
Whatever happens around you will distract you unless you learn how to focus. Sometimes it seems easier to just go along with these distractions than to focus on the end goal. Remember, if you let yourself go along with the distractions, you are losing sight of your goals. Sharpen your vision of what you want or you WILL be at the mercy of your environment. When you want something you have to decide EXACTLY what it is you want. If you don’t know what you want, there’s no way on earth you’re going to be able to focus on it. So you want to pass that driving test that you’ve taken and failed umpteen times, or you want to pass that really important exam in school. You might want to write a book, or build a website, run your own business, be a teacher or any number of different things. The main thing is you have to KNOW that’s what you want, and you have to set your aims high and demand yourself to focus on getting it.
Once you decide what you want, you have to decide WHY you want it. Visualize yourself in that brand new Mercedes or BMW, or in front of that school desk teaching the kids geography. The vision makes you feel good, right? So that’s why you want it, it feels good to do what you want to do, be who you want to be and own what you want to own. Visualization is a major part in being able to focus. If you can actually see yourself in the position you want to be in, then it’s so much easier to focus on the task of getting there. The next thing you have to do is to decide how you’re going to actually get what you want. What are you willing to sacrifice in the quest to get those great exam grades? What can you do without in order to start up your own business? How can you make your family life happier and more peaceful? Sit back and close your eyes, imagining what it will be like to have what you want in life, and think long and hard about what you can give up so that you can get there. Say you want a new sofa, but the only way you can get one is if you quit smoking.
Envision the sofa, with you and your partner cuddling up on it. What colour is it? Is it big and fluffed up, or is it a small ultra-modern sofa? Focus on the sofa and want it badly enough, you WILL stop smoking so you can get it. These are all small things and perfectly attainable with a little bit of focus, but what if you want bigger and better things than that for yourself. First overcome the exams, once that goal is reached go get that driving licence. Next you get a brand spanking new BMW. Keep setting goals; as soon as you reach the first one, move on to the next, staying focused all the time on what it is you want. Reaching that first goal will give you an incredible boost of confidence, which in turn will make it so much easier to get started on the next goal. The more goals you reach, the more confidence you will have in yourself and that will fuel the success of the next goal, and the next one after that, until there are endless possibilities for you. Start off by writing down each and every goal you WANT to reach in your lifetime. Then write a daily plan for the goal you want to reach first.
Write the plan before you go to bed at night, it gives your brain time to take it all in and work with it. It’s amazing what the brain will do when we are sleeping. Also, writing the plan the night before helps free up that time during the next day so that you can purely sit and focus on the task at hand. Make the plan a numbered list and cross each item off as you finish it. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you get through it this way. Once you’ve reached the outcome you want, move on to your next goal following the same pattern as before. If you find your thoughts wandering in your “focus time” take a break, write down your thoughts and put them away somewhere for future reference. If you find there are multiple things you can do to attain your goals, figure out which of them is the one most likely to help you get there quickest. Put the others on hold, they may come in useful when you’re aiming for that next goal. If you lock your focus, and stick with it for as long as you have to, you WILL succeed. If you stick to one thing, one goal and focus on that, it’s virtually impossible to not reap the rewards of your actions.
Before we start, please keep one thing in mind; Confidence and arrogance are two totally different things. If you confuse the two, you will most certainly become a very unhappy person with very few real friends. Arrogance is NOT a “quality” and it won’t help you reach your goals any faster. Confidence in oneself, or the lack thereof is what stops people from getting tightly focused on what they want to achieve. That little voice telling them they can’t do something is their biggest UN-motivator. What can YOU do to gain confidence?
25 Tips Toward Boosting Your Confidence and Self Esteem.
1. Love Yourself:
This can take a bit of practice and looks really funny, but try it, it works. When you wake up, give yourself a great big hug. Do the same when it’s time for sleep. You’ve heard this said a million times before: “How can you expect others to love you if you don’t love yourself?” It’s true. Practice the morning and evening hugs for 2 weeks, maybe 3 weeks if you’re the stubborn type and you’ll see how well it works.
2. Look in the mirror:
Every time you pass a mirror, look into it and flash your biggest and best smile at yourself. It might feel strange at first, but eventually it’ll make you feel brilliant about yourself. Tell yourself “Looking good!” or “Wow, I love me!” or similar phrases often enough to actually start believing it.
3. Do things that make you feel good:
This can be anything from listening to music, trekking in the Andes, doing some volunteer work or even just taking a shower. Anything that gives you a positive feeling about yourself works for this one.
4. Listen to YOU:
Face it. Nobody knows you better than you know yourself, no matter how many people try to tell you differently. So if your body, mind or gut is telling you something, then take notice of it, and don’t worry about what other people may possibly have to say about it.
5. Talk to YOU:
In times of stress, take a time-out break. Wander into your own mind and have a conversation with yourself about anything at all. Tell yourself how lucky you are to be you, and praise yourself for every good and positive thing you can attribute to yourself.
6. Remove negatives:
If anything feels like it’s dragging you down, get rid of it. If it’s clutter, tidy up, if it’s a friend full of negativity explain nicely that you don’t really feel up to talking right now. If it’s your kids acting up, leave the room for a while and so on.
7. Surround with positives:
Surround yourself with things that bring out good feelings in you. Examples could be things such as happy, upbeat friends, a nice new picture, a new car, an old comfy blanket, candles, pictures of your family, your girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse etc.
8. Rumours Die:
Did you hear something about somebody who said something about somebody else? Drop it! Rumours are nasty, horrible things that will only bring you down. Best way to kill a rumour? Ignore it!
9. Total Honesty:
Be totally honest with yourself at all times. If there’s something you don’t like, admit it. If there’s something you don’t want to do “right now” and it isn’t necessary for health and safety reasons then just don’t do it until you feel like it.
Same goes for the positive aspects. If there’s something you want to do, and it’s not hurting anybody, then go ahead and do it. If you start feeling great about yourself for no apparent reason admit it and enjoy the feeling.
Take full responsibility for your own actions. Don’t shove the blame for anything over onto someone or something else. We all make choices in our lives, and once we take responsibility for those choices we tend to choose better for ourselves. Once we start to choose better, we feel better and things start falling into place. On the other hand, don’t take over someone else’s responsibilities just because you feel “you have to”.
If you feel unsafe, unsure or nervous then go inside yourself and pretend you’re a hot-shot lawyer, actor, actress, singer or whatever you need to be. Make believe you’re presenting yourself as that person would until you feel better. Trust me, you WILL feel better, and eventually have no need to be anything but yourself.
12. Keep Trying:
If you’re trying to do something but don’t get it right first time round, then try again, and again, and again, constantly learning from your mistakes until you get it right. When you finally DO get it right, you’ll feel wonderful about it.
13. Credit where credit is due:
If you’ve done something really good, and people compliment you on it, accept the compliments with thanks! Understand that they’re complimenting because they really ARE impressed with what you’ve done. Believe in you and give yourself a pat on the back. (Although physically it would probably be easier to just give yourself a round of applause).
14. Stand Tall:
Standing up straight will ALWAYS make you feel better about yourself than slouching does. Stand with your feet slightly apart, suck in your tummy and behind, broaden your shoulders and straighten your neck. It’s an amazingly quick confidence boost.
15. Say Hello:
Make it a rule to say hi to at least one person you don’t know EVERY day. Give them the smile you flash at yourself in the mirror, the biggest and best one you can find. They’ll smile back automatically, and they’ll walk away with a little extra confidence boost thanks to you. People look their best when they smile, and they also feel better by smiling too! This ultimately means you get a confidence boost too, for making someone else feel good about themselves.
16. Never Say Never….Ever:
If you think something can’t be done, then you’ll end up proving yourself right eventually. So never say never, just keep plugging along until it works for you. If other people are telling you it can’t be done, you’re going to feel such immense satisfaction at actually doing it that your confidence will soar.
17. Get Active:
Don’t sit around the house just doing nothing. Get up, go out, cycling, walking, exercising, anything that might invigorate your brain. A lively brain full of thoughts will help you gain confidence.
18. “Happy Foods”:
Happy foods, such as chocolate, strawberries, lemons, ice-cream etc will increase the serotonin levels in your brain, leading to an increased feeling of happiness. Feeling happy is a natural confidence boost. So go on, enjoy your food! (in moderation, of course).
19. Face Your Fear:
Is there something you are afraid of? Face it full on. Doing something scary and overcoming the fear is a fantastic way to boost your confidence. So go on, jump out of that plane (with a parachute of course), drive that car, speak in front of a large crowd, ask for a promotion, or whatever it is that scares you. You’ll feel absolutely brilliant once it’s done.
Create a goal that you really want to reach. Possibly something like weight loss before a certain time, giving up smoking or having a certain amount of money in the bank within so many months etc. Take baby steps, and use your willpower until you succeed at reaching your goal. It will be really hard, as will power can be very elusive at times, but keep going and don’t give up. Once you have reached that first goal by using your willpower you will have the confidence to create new goals AND reach them.
21. Ask questions:
Any time you find yourself worrying about something you haven’t done, or something you think you should have done, ask yourself positive questions. Instead of thinking “I’m terrible for missing my friend’s birthday” think “What can I do to make my friend feel special?” Or, instead of “Why can’t I ever seem to do things on time?” change it to “What can I change to better manage my time” Creating positive questions will release the negative energies which have a tendency to pull down your self confidence.
Accept that not everything works out the way we plan it. Decide to accept any mistakes and rejections as part of a learning curve that we all need to go through. Without mistakes, you can’t learn from your own experiences. Remember, experience builds confidence, so always learn as much as you can.
Write a list of every single thing you’re good at, anything from clipping the dog’s toenails to putting up a shelf. Take the time to sit and actually think about what you ARE good at and add them all to the list. You’ll besurprised at how many things you end up jotting down, no matter how minor or trivial they may seem at the time. Whenever you have a spare 5 minutes, or if you’re feeling a little low, take the list out of your pocket and read it. This is a great little way to give yourself a nice confidence boost.
24: Help out:
There are lots of ways to help others, and feeling useful and helpful are great ways of building your confidence. Just make sure you do things because you WANT to do them. You could call a good friend who may be down at the moment-even take them out for coffee, you will brighten both your days, or you could possibly help out at an old folks home or similar. Knowing that people appreciate your help will boost your confidence for sure.
25: Show the way:
Think of the one thing you do best of all. Think long and hard about this one. Thought of something? Now, find a discussion group or similar related to that topic and spread your wisdom by answering questions, offering advice or help to anybody needing it. If you can’t find a group, you could even start one yourself. People will look up to you and that will give you all the more reason to feel confident about yourself.
To really be able to focus demands a lot of self-discipline. Remember that your outcome depends on YOU, not on the world around you. If you want something badly enough you WILL do everything in your power to get it. Self-discipline in this context is basically only letting yourself do what you WANT to do at that precise moment in time to be able to reach your goals more quickly. Remember that YOU are the boss of your actions. YOU are the one who is in control. So ultimately YOU decide what and when to do things you need to do to achieve your ultimate success
Your ability to manage your actions is directly related to the level of success and happiness you will experience throughout your life. Managing your actions is commonly known as exercising self-discipline. It’s absolutely not about restricting your lifestyle, or punishing yourself. It’s about being able to work with your thoughts, behaviour and actions in order to reach the goals that you wish to reach. Not having self-discipline is one of the main reasons why we fail at what we want to do, both professionally and personally. Excuse-making often creates lack of self-discipline, so drop all your excuses and start keeping habits that in themselves will create the self-discipline you need. Make routines that you know you are capable of sticking to, and keep them.
How do you attain self-discipline? A few options could be regular exercise, better, healthier eating, even learning to spend less money. It could be something like deciding to learn something new every single day or just getting up an hour earlier than you normally would. Having self-discipline will help you to complete the most boring and mundane of the tasks you are focusing on. Should you find yourself sitting and thinking thoughts like “Oh, I’ll just do this instead” or “I can do that some other time” when you are working on your goals then STOP, take a deep breath and remember your self-discipline.
The end of the story? You can do anything you want to do, be anything you want to be and go where you want to go. All you need is confidence in yourself and the ability to focus. I’ve now given you ideas on how to do that, so go on;