Listen to this episode of the Focus With Marlene Podcast
“Whatever you focus on, your energy will follow…”
Developing a vision is more than just thinking about what you might want to do or to have. It’s also developing a new focus. Your focus determines who you are and who you can become. It makes you unique.
On the front page of my website I have defined my platform with the following:
- On God – let Him lead
- On what you can do – not what you can’t
- On choices and possibilities
- On solutions – not problems
- On principles and values – live them
“If we think we are limited or have no choices, we will experience hopelessness, helplessness, anxiety and fear. But if we focus on God, possibilities and options, our energy will be released and directed toward finding the solutions that are right for us.”
These five important considerations can help you establish a positive focus for your life. This is especially important when recovering from a major loss, as grief often keeps us focused on the loss instead of planning for the future. When we focus on loss, it will be difficult to find solutions and overcome obstacles moving forward.
I have made goals that were never completed, primarily because I had not done the preliminary work necessary. I hadn’t created a timeline or adequately defined what I wanted and what was required to get there.
I hadn’t considered ahead of time the obstacles I might encounter or ways to overcome them.
And I hadn’t put together a basic plan of action.
Without these things, goals become more like exciting new ideas we try out but never get really serious about. It sounded like a good idea in the moment, but we hadn’t explored what was involved in making it an actual working goal.
Before you begin to set goals in earnest, let’s explore a little further what you really want and why. Ask yourself what made the difference between success and failure in the past and why some goals were abandoned while others were not. You want to be successful.
Why, What, and How
Remember to not abandon any ideas, wants or desires you have or may have had. As you go through the following list, consider any of your desires or thoughts a possibility.
Maybe you had thought about getting more education or starting your own business or putting time and energy into creating crafts that others would want to buy. It may not have been possible before, but is it a possibility now? Age is not a factor – finances are not a factor. If it is important enough to you, you will find a way to make it happen.
These three little words, why, what and how, provide questions to help you think through your wants and wishes and possibilities. Keep a notebook handy to write down any and all thoughts as you explore the questions. There might be some overlap in the questions. You may not have answers to all of them. Some are thought-provoking and could become more important later, such as some of the how questions.
- Why do I want to do this or make this a goal?
- Why have I hesitated in the past?
- Why is it important now?
- Why do other things take precedence and seem more important than reaching this goal? Example: Am I willing to become more disciplined and self-regulated?
- What specifically do I want to do, to have, or to attain?
- What keeps me from doing it? (past attempts, failures, lack of commitment, etc.)
- What obstacles, restrictions, setbacks do I face? (financial, age, lack of support, determination, fear, unsure, insecurity, etc.)
- What interferences are there? (Demanding job, family concerns, over-committed in other areas, home to maintain, etc.)
- What would happen if I didn’t make a decision and get started?
- How will I maintain other important and necessary commitments? (job, family, church, rest, important relationships, etc.)
- How will I get through discouraging moments?
- How will I keep myself motivated when I am tired and alternative diversions become more compelling?
- How will I define my goal specifically, so I know exactly how to structure my plan of action?
- How will I know when I have reached my goal and am ready for the next one?
As you explore what you really want and don’t want, what has kept you from succeeding in the past and how you will remain motivated in new goals, this enlarged dimension of who you are will aid you moving forward.
We need validation for the turmoil of thoughts and emotions we experience. But we also need the tools necessary to create a new beginning that is both satisfying and meaningful. My new book, Learning to Live Again in a New World, offers those tools to help work through the problems you might be facing.