How to avoid getting caught up in your feelings?

Around a month or so ago, an idea came to me that I found really useful.

The idea was that situations that emotionally charge us are a reminder to focus on ourselves. Instead of getting caught up in the moment, feeling bad or worrying, take some time to check in with yourself.

Perhaps you were involved in a situation that left you feeling upset. You could ‘go off’ at the other people involved, blame them or get annoyed at yourself.

You could also ask yourself ‘Why is this bothering me?’, ‘What can I do for myself to shift my mood?’ or ‘How can I take responsibility for the part I played in this?’.

Asking these questions assures you’re looking at the situation consciously, taking care of yourself and not focusing on other people.

How to get better at achieving your goals

Happy New Year!

It’s gotten to a point where many people shun new years resolutions (goals, plans, intentions etc.). They assume they won’t last so don’t see the point in bothering.

A common example of a new years resolution is to lose weight.

After indulging in an abundance of rich and unhealthy food over the festive period a large amount of people rush to the gym in January hoping to losing weight. However, I think the reason this tends to fail time and time again is because it actually works a little better when the focus is on the action instead of the outcome.

What if your new years resolution was to create a weekly exercise routine that you enjoy and then stick to it?

As much as it is important to have a clear goal, if you’re more focused on the end result than what is required to achieve it, you’ll probably end up giving up.

We often unknowingly run from doing the work that is required because we’re more focused on thinking about what we want than carrying out the actions to get us there.

Focusing on the action tends to result in habit building. Once these habits are ingrained into your routine they eventually become part of your everyday life which makes reaching the goal much easier.

Anxious

In a recent post I wrote about embracing awkward. Shortly after I realised that what I was referring to was anxiety, specifically social anxiety.

I then got thinking about what being socially anxious looks like. I think when a person becomes aware of their own behaviour, they can end up amplifying it. You’re sitting there doing the thing and instead of catching yourself, stopping and doing something else you just do it more whilst your inner monologue runs wild.

It’s like you’re paralysed unable to do what you know would be helpful. And from the outside you appear awkward like it’s some sort of quirky personality trait which is often easier to accept than anxiety.

Embracing awkward

For those that consider themselves to be awkward and those that are self conscious of how they appear to others, being yourself can be difficult.

However, it turns out that the only way to overcome it is to embrace yourself with open arms.

Awkwardness is always amplified when you focus on it.

On the flipside, if you just focus on being yourself and provide a soft and gentle space where you let go of this idea of everything being perfect, it makes things easier.

It could be stumbling over your words when you approach someone new, your idea being shutdown in a meeting, being rejected, falling over in public or someone not getting your humour.

Nobody wants those things to happen but they’re not as bad as we make them out to be.

We can get so caught up in how we feel about ourselves and wanting to be seen a certain way that we assume things matter so much more than they do.

Your new idea might get shut down and whilst you’re now letting your inner monologue play out and tell you to never contribute again, someone else is thinking it was great idea or wishes that they’d had the confidence to contribute or even just come up with an idea.

This post is titled embracing awkward but you’re probably better off letting go of the labels and instead just embrace being yourself.

Adding new features vs making things better

When changes get made to something it usually involves adding a new feature, improving an existing one or both.

But sometimes the addition of something new isn’t helpful, you’d be better off improving what’s already there. Often adding something new is about innovation and creativity which doesn’t always result in an improved experience for the user or customer.

There can end up being so much focus on the exciting stuff that the basics get pushed aside.

Le’ts say you sell plain t-shirts and the stitching is poor quality to the point where it’s loose. You could improve what is already there by making the stitching better on the next batch or you could add something new like embroidery, a new neckline or a different length.

If you’re focused on adding new things you’ll end up with a poor quality t-shirt with embroidery on it when you could have had a good quality t-shirt that is plain. Once you get the basics right, you’re now in a better position to start adding new features.

Solution oriented

Often in life when we’re going through a difficult time or something unideal happens we end up feeling stuck. We think it’s because our situation is just so awful and terrible. However, often we end up stuck because we aren’t putting enough of our effort and energy into the solution.

For example, lets say you got made redundant. You then spend the following days or weeks talking about how you didn’t deserve it, how X person should have been let go instead of you, that it’s not fair, you’ve been hard done by, it’s ruined your life, constantly dropping your redundancy into conversations and wallowing in self pity.

As much as it’s important to acknowledge a difficult situation, there’s little to no benefit in dwelling.

Instead, you could focus on moving forward and getting a new job. That could involve updating your CV, researching companies to apply at, filling out job applications or thinking about what you want your next career step to be.

A new job might not come come quicker but I think that being pro-active can do wonders for boosting your morale.

Why you’re not as productive as you could be

So often in life we feel like we’re super busy but in reality we aren’t actually getting anything done.

Perhaps you’re the sort of person who always has at least 7 things on the go. You feel like you’re busy but really you’re just overwhelmed. You’re overwhelmed because you’re not allowing your mind to focus.

Instead of finishing one task before you start the next one, you’re doing little bits of each task, flitting from one thing to the next. Then suddenly you find yourself rushing to try and complete everything. More often than not things don’t actually get finished.

Or perhaps you believe in multi-tasking. Things like baking whilst listening to a podcast or making notes at a webinar are fine. The issue arises when you’re baking and trying to make notes whilst listening to something. Or maybe you’re writing, watching a show, playing a game and checking social media.

I think we sometimes underestimate the effect that focusing on one thing at a time can have on our ability to be productive.

In our bid to be productive, feel busy and get lots done we often end up over complicating things.

We’re much better off, slowing down and focusing on one thing at a time

Holding yourself back

I think one of the most common things that holds us back and stops us achieving our goals/aspirations is not focusing on the long term.

You’re so focused on every little thing that you have to do right now that you’re missing the bigger picture.

It might seem like it takes a lot of effort to be the type of person that is committed and disciplined, the type of person that you want to be.

But you have to start small. However, that doesn’t mean you should forget the bigger picture.

It’s really just a case of doing things now that you know will benefit you later.

Instead we often end up making excuses because it turns out what we want might actually require more effort than we’re willing to give.

Remembering the dream

Sometimes the life paths we choose end up getting distorted by distractions and we end up making choices to reach goals that we don’t even really aspire to.

You might find that in order to move forwards, you actually need to go back and figure out what you really wanted in the first place.

Many times we end up sacrificing our aspirations because we’re too focused on other peoples opinions. We’re so focused on what everyone else is doing that we fall into thinking our dreams are not enough or it no longer feels possible.

But I think it’s important to remember the dream that you had. When you take the time to think about what you really want, you can start shifting your focus to what actually matters.

Something always has to give

Life is about balance. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to pay equal attention to all things constantly. Instead you give more attention to different areas of your life when necessary.

And that means that at certain points, some things will have to take a back seat. Perhaps when you’re focusing more on work, you spend less time with friends. Or when you’re focused on saving you spend less time going out for drinks/food. But when you’re focused on improving your health and fitness you spend more time working out and cooking.

Sometimes, after a period of focusing on one thing, you might find yourself feeling guilty for having put other things aside, even though it was for the best.

Something has to give because you can’t give 100% of your effort to every aspect of your life at once.

However, you can’t just totally neglect an aspect of your life, the trick is to balance your time so that you’re not so focused on one thing that everything else falls apart.