We all have moments in our lives where we feel the desire for change. Whether it’s wanting to lose weight, quit smoking, or start a business, we all have goals we’d like to accomplish to better ourselves. However, many of us who start goals sometimes have a difficult time completing them.
A good example of this in my life was one of the (many) times I joined a gym after feeling the motivation to get in better shape but then ended up quitting less than a month later.
Why does this happen to so many of us? The answer is simple: we lose the motivation for change due to a lack of focus.
No new habits are formed to help cater to our desire for change, so when the going gets tough we just give up and go back to what is most familiar to us.
The secret is to create new, positive habits that can help supercharge our focus and motivate us to take on any challenge we bring ourselves.
Here are 6 spiritual habits that we can use to help sharpen our focus to complete our goals.
This tried and true spiritual practice is so common it’s almost become a cliché among spiritual practitioners.
There’s a reason for this: it just flat out works.
Whenever I meditate, I go to my room, turn off the lights, and sit quietly for 5-10 minutes while focusing on my breathing and not thinking of anything.
If my mind begins to wander, I acknowledge the thought and move back to focusing on my breathing.
I used to be skeptical about meditating, but I’ve found it to truly help my focus and overall performance.
2. Breathing Deeply
A simple but powerful technique that many people don’t utilize, breathing deeply can relieve emotional stress, help detoxify our bodies, and increase blood-flow to the brain.
When we breathe deeply, we are moving oxygen to the lower parts of our lungs which can help our body’s circulation.
I try to breathe deeply through my nose, engaging my diaphragm, and breathing out my mouth throughout the day.
Some people even suggest spending 5-10 minutes each day breathing deeply, and many people accomplish this while meditating.
Spending more time speaking positively over our lives than negatively can have a huge impact on our overall focus and sense of well-being.
After learning about affirmations, I asked myself this question: have I spent more time building myself up with my words, or tearing myself down with my words?
I quickly realized that I spent way too much time tearing myself down with my words which severely crippled my motivation and sense of purpose.
Once I recognized this, I began developing an entirely new habit of affirming myself.
When I screwed up, I accepted the failure, affirmed that I was better than that, and moved on.
It was such a simple thing to do, and yet it was so powerful as it kept me focused.
Another thing I started doing is spending a few minutes each day speaking positive things over my life, including phrases like “I love and accept myself”, “I can and will accomplish my goals”, and “I am a light to the people around me”.
Counseling can also help foster positivity in your life – I would know as I met with a counselor for a few months in my early 20’s and it helped me out tremendously.
A few counseling resources I would recommend:
Positivity helps us stay motivated, so it’s important we form new habits of building ourselves up rather than tearing ourselves down.
The first time I heard about people using visualizations I thought they were crazy.
To me, it sounded like daydreaming and I didn’t see the point of doing it.
However, when I finally gave in and decided to try this practice for myself, I found it to be a strangely successful motivational tool to help me get through hard times.
There’s a lot of junk out there that teaches people things like continuously visualizing a Ferrari in our garage so that one day it can magically appear there, so let me give a perfect example of how this practice can actually be effective in helping people focus.
In his book The Miracle Morning, author Hal Elrod lays out his morning routine which includes visualizing himself accomplishing his goals.
However, he doesn’t stop there: instead of just visualizing himself enjoying the end result, he visualizes himself enjoying the process needed to get to the end result.
For example: while Hal was writing his book The Miracle Morning, during his morning routine he began to visualize himself happily typing away at his keyboard as he wrote sentence after sentence of his book.
When he actually went to write his book, he found himself feeling more motivated and focused since he had already “seen” himself write his book, so he believed he could do it!
Strangely enough, he also felt a deeper sense of enjoyment while writing his book than he did before he began practicing visualizations.
Being thankful shouldn’t be something reserved for the holidays, but should instead be a daily practice.
The simple practice of gratitude can have huge benefits for a person both physically and psychologically including an increase in overall positivity, vitality, sleep, and can even help boost our immune system.
It’s very easy to forget how much we truly have in our lives, even if it’s something as simple as having food on the table or having air in our lungs, so taking the time to acknowledge how thankful we are for what we have can help motivate us to keep moving forward.
I like to think of 10 things in my life that I am thankful for and write them down on a piece of paper.
After I’m finished, I carefully read over each item on my list and say aloud, “I am so thankful for ____ in my life”.
This is a super easy way to help us recognize how blessed we are and motivate us to remain focused on accomplishing our goals.
6. Slow Down
In a busy world, like the one we have today, everyone always seems to be in a hurry.
Whether we’re on our way to work or the gym, we all feel pressed for time.
When asked by someone how we’re doing, the patent answer after “good” always seems to be “I’ve been crazy busy!”
Because of this, the idea of going through life at a slower, more carefully planned pace taking heed to each moment as it passes by can sound insane to us.
The truth is, most people spend more time trying to get somewhere than actually being present where they are now.
Too much time is spent in either the past or the future and too little time is spent in the present.
Our past is over and done with, and our future can only be determined by what we do right now.
I try spending more time being present through every circumstance, whether I’m eating, driving, or being with my family.
Just taking a step back and recognizing each moment as it passes can truly help us focus on what’s most important in our lives.
As the spiritual teacher, Ram Dass says, “Be here now.”