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  • by Jaclyn Foster

How to Choose Your Focus for 2021

As we roll into February, if you are feeling a bit stuck or lost about how to make this year different than the last, regardless of what’s happening around you, this blog is a must read. I’m going to share five steps you can take today to give yourself focus and link you to your goals.

But before we get into that, a couple weeks back, I heard there was a statement circling social media that read, “2020 went home, put on a wig, and came back as 2021.” It made me giggle but it also made me think about a common response to dark times.

In times of struggle, it can be easy to default to a hope and a waiting for something to change outside of ourselves before we can feel better or make changes in our own lives. It can be easy to want to search for comfort and safety until the storm passes. And right now, it’s easy to feel like there are a lot of storms going on.

The problem with this approach (especially if we know we really do want change!) is we give up our ability to guide our own lives. We let someone, or something dictate when its possible for us to feel better and pursue the things that are significant to us as individuals.

It Takes More than a New Day

I’m totally with you on getting caught in this cycle. I’ve been a relationship where I was miserable and knew I was being cheated on but told myself that I needed to wait for him to break up with me. It felt awful.

It didn’t matter how much I hoped I would feel better each morning. I saw no way to happiness or change until he either “set me free” or treated me better. I didn’t even know at the time I had another option.

We can’t find happiness alone by waking up to a new day alone or by hoping someone or something in our life will be easier to deal with. We must make conscious choices to show up differently to see lasting change.

Side (but important) note! This doesn’t mean showing up as a drill sergeant constantly demanding more or ourselves (which I have totally done as well) - but it does mean getting curious about what or who we are letting guide our life choices.

Committing to a New Approach

Even though our goals and desires are often more than we can accomplish or envision in a day, the only way to realistically approach them is by making daily changes. And it’s not only what we do, but also how we do it that matters. Are we feeling calm, confident, and excited? Or are we continually disheartened and overwhelmed? Our feelings, thoughts and actions connected to our goal can make a difference.

One thing I’ve always enjoyed is writing and for quite a while I wanted to make more time for it. But somehow, something else come up to keep me away. Eating dinner with my boyfriend, taking care of chores, making time for friends. I wasn’t changing any of my day-to-day approach to this desire, so nothing was changing.

I was also telling myself that writing would be hard, and I wasn’t sure I knew what to write or if it would make a difference. Very disempowering thoughts that didn’t really inspire me to want to find the time.

So, I wasn’t acting or thinking in alignment with wanting to write more.

There is a wonderful quote I love to remind myself of from Jim Rohn, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

Committing to goals and designing our life in a way that feels exciting and empowering often involves a multi-angle approach. Looking at what we are doing, how we are doing it, and what we are thinking about ourselves in relationship to that thing we say we want.

Selecting a Word to Direct Your Choices

One way I have learned to align my actions, feelings and thought to what I want is by choosing a word of the year.

Choosing a word of the year is a way to link a long-term vision with how we want to show up in our day-to-day life to align with that goal. It connects us with how we would want to and perhaps, need, to show up in our lives to accomplish something that has significance for us.

If you are feeling in need of focus or inspiration, follow the steps below to find your word of the year and keep that word in the forefront of your mind to guide the way you show up.

1. Do a brain dump of your dreams, goals and visions. Ask yourself:

· What would I like to accomplish in the next 11 – 12 months?

· What did I struggle with in 2020 that I would like to master in 2021?

· What area of my life would I like to show up differently in the next 12 months?

· What did I learn in 2020 that I would like to master on a deeper level this year?

2. Narrow your list down to one major goal. Take a look at your list and choose one goal that would mean the most to you. You will probably want to focus on more than one, but for the purpose of this exercise, trust yourself to choose one focus that would mean the most.

This may be: I’m going to lose 20 pounds. I’m going to work up to running a 10k. I’m going to get my product online and create a marketing plan.

Trust the one that feels right and feels the most significant to you for this year.

3. Reflect on who you would need to be to accomplish this goal. Ask yourself:

· How would I need to show up in my life to accomplish this goal?

· What would I need to embody most be the person that could experience this result?

· Who would I need to be on a day-to-day basis to stay committed to this?

· What qualities would I have to live to show up for my goal?

4. Choose one word as your guiding light linking you to your vision. Through reviewing your list of qualities, choose the one that most pops out at you, the one that you feel would be crucial to step into, helpful to overcome what’s been holding you back, or what you feel most called to BE more of in your life.

5. Use this word to stay on track and continually inspired. The wonderful thing about choosing a word, especially a descriptive word, is you can ask yourself each day a question like:

· What could I do to live with more (confidence, calm, resilience, etc..) today?

· How can I show up today in a way that is (playful, grounded, relaxed, etc.)?

See what comes to mind and experiment with trial and error to embody what this word means to you and how it would help you show up in ways that you would feel happy and proud of. Write it in our journal or maybe put it on a piece of paper and stick it in your pocket each day to have a reminder of it.

Would like some additional support? You are not alone, and change takes time! It’s a practice and often it can greatly benefit to reach out for support of a coach, friend or mentor.

If you are a Whole Health Plan Member, the Medical & Wellness Centers located in Austin, Texas and Glendale, California are available for support. Give us a call.

If you are Whole Health Plan member and have not established care with the Center for your primary care services, call us to make an appointment or learn more about the benefits available to you as a patient of the Center.

You can explore our website to learn more about us as well.

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