Change Your Mindset and Change Your Life
Coach Lucy Adams encourages an attention shift to decrease negative self-talk, improve performance, and increase successfully achieving your goals.
All day every day we each engage in goal-directed behavior, even if we don’t think of it that way. Going to the refrigerator to get a snack is as much goal-directed behavior as is closing a deal at work to earn a commission.
Most of us are aware of our general goal in a particular situation. We have an idea of what the problem is and what our solution looks like. We know we’re here at point A and that we want to get to point B.
So why do we become so frustrated with ourselves? Why, if we know the outcome we want, do we have such a hard time achieving it? Why do we go to bed at night with regret about how we spent our day, no closer to our goal than when we started the morning?
The answer to those questions lies in where we focus our attention and therefore our energy. Most of us, when struggling to get from point A to point B maintain our focus on the overall desired outcome, point B. We erroneously believe that if we keep our eyes on the prize, we will attain it, and we are so disappointed in ourselves when it doesn’t work out that way. We start to wonder what we’re doing wrong. We criticize ourselves. We feel like failures.
I’ll provide an example: My dog tends to frequent neighbor’s yards when she sees an opportunity. We’ll be outside doing yard work, and I’ll look up to see her four houses down the street digging a hole in someone’s flower bed. In that moment, my goal becomes to retrieve my dog, and I pour my energy into it.
So I begin striding across my yard with one outcome in mind: getting my dog and bringing her home. I keep my focus on my dog. As I begin my journey at point A, my yard, and proceed to point B, the location of my dog, I must cross many obstacles. First, I run into a gate and fuss at myself for not seeing it. Then I trip over a neighbor’s landscape timbers and express more aggravation with myself. I continue on, keeping my mind on getting my dog, and find myself tangled in a hedge of berry bushes, which makes me lash out at myself again for my carelessness. When I finally reach the spot where my dog was digging, because it took me so long to get there, my dog has moved on to another yard. And my barrage of negative self-talk has left me feeling defeated. My focus has now shifted from getting my dog to feeling like an inadequate pet owner.
I want to suggest to you that changing my mindset is the key to accomplishing the wanted outcome. I kept my attention on the goal of retrieving my mischievous dog. The goal was a good one, but I got so focused on it, I was unable to efficiently and effectively navigate the challenges between me and my goal, which caused me to heap blame and criticism upon myself, making me even less likely to achieve my desired outcome. I doubted my ability to do what I’d initially set out to do.
What if, once I determined my goal, I shifted my attention to the obstacles between me and my desired outcome? What if I focused on behaviors that simplified my path, such as opening the gate, stepping over the timbers, and going around the berry bushes?
By changing my mindset, I enable two things to happen that will ultimately improve my chances for success:
1. Negative self-talk transforms into positive self-talk. Instead of criticizing and berating myself as I fumble through barriers, I feel proud of how I overcome them. This leads to empowerment and confidence.
2. Performance improves. Crippling limiting beliefs dissipate, leaving room for belief in the ability to do the behaviors necessary to attain the goal. And not just the goal at hand, but any goal.
What’s your goal? How do you plan to make it happen? What will you do to quieten the self-critic within?
Change your mindset and you will change your life. If you need someone to guide you through the process, hiring a coach is a great place to start.