I?ve been working through the ups and downs of staying focused for any significant length of time. Most of the wisdom and conversation you find if you start looking for it- well at least what I found- is productivity focused. That?s not a bad thing as I?m finding that my journey through this is affecting every area in my life.
I was working through some of this with a friend a couple weeks ago over lunch, and he told me that being more disciplined and more focused in his day job, and in fitness has made him better in other stuff too. This seems pretty obvious, but I?ve been thinking about it a lot.
I?ve mentioned in previous posts that the discipline needed for losing weight was spilling over into other areas of life, but I?ve been surprised to find that instead of just getting better in other areas subconciously, it is following a similar path of discovery, awareness of deficiency, conviction and action and one additional step. I?ll get to that in a minute.
Here is what it looks like- I don?t find myself necessarily getting better in other areas of life yet, but more aware of deficiency. I trust that this will work out, just like it has with the weight loss/health stuff.
I went to the doctor and he told me I needed to lose weight. That is discovery.
I realized that he was right and that I was slower at everything, was having more trouble with Asthma and soreness, and that my family were susceptible to diabetes and heart problems. There?s awareness. I knew I was overweight long before, but I didn?t realize it was much of a problem.
As this stuff became real, it became clear that something had to change and that it wasn?t acceptable to not change. Conviction.
I started posting about this, made a plan, and made it hard to not do the right thing. Action.
There is another piece too. It is called resolve. Staying Focused. It is hard.
For a long time, I?ve identified myself as someone who is pretty lousy at muli-tasking, but now I think it is more of an excuse. Stay with me here, this is related.
When you start calling out the things that don?t belong in your life, it becomes easier to do. Sort of like working out. The more you exercise a muscle, the more it can handle. I?ve been exercising my ability to get honest with myself. In much the same way that I have discovered what psychological hang-ups caused me to get and stay overweight, I?ve also become aware of things in my life which keep me from staying focused on other things.
Work, Family, Praying, The Bible, Music, Photography, Reading, Technology.
I tend to focus on each of these in smaller, exclusive chunks of time. My wife calls it ?being obsessed?. I don?t like that word- probably because it rings a little too true.
What I don?t do, is really commit to these things as a holistic, important part of my life. It?s pretty lousy if I only spend a couple days, or weeks, all fired-up about one thing, but then drop it and move on to the next thing. If I met someone who did this all the time, I would think he/she was pretty lame.
So, when trying to lose weight, success is determined largely by the long-term resolve and ability to commit to things even without the short-term payoff of ?feeling healthy? because you lost a lot of pounds this day or week. None of those other important things I mentioned earlier are served well by this approach either. If something is truly important, it should be a part of your life with its own space, place and dedication.
That?s the thing I need to keep telling myself about living healthier. It?s hard because committing to things that are truly important is not the easy way. Doing whatever is easiest is the easy way. Less work is the easy way.
Intentional is not easy.