Unknowingly, many of us practically guarantee a life that doesn’t feel as good as we’d hoped.
It’s not because of a lack of focus or clarity. Nope. There’s a good chance your goals are crystal clear.
The problem is where you’re focused.
Your focus matters
Are you focusing on moving toward what you want? Or, are you focusing on moving away from what you don’t want?
Because when you are solely focused on moving away from what you don’t want, you nearly guarantee you won’t get what you want.
Of course there are times when moving away from an unwanted situation requires your full attention. Perhaps you’re in a living situation that feels unsafe. Maybe you’re dealing with a health crisis, etc … In these situations, by all means, fully concentrate on moving out of harm’s way.
But, when the crisis is over, that’s when it’s imperative to refocus and concentrate the bulk of your attention on your desired outcome. That’s the step that often gets forgotten.
If you’re honest with yourself, you want something more than to just move away from what you dislike. Right?! For example, you may want to move away from an unhappy relationship. But there’s more to it than that. What’s your endgame?
In order to get what you really want, it’s imperative that you decide on where you want to end up, so you can move in that direction. For instance, in the above “relationship” example, after leaving the current relationship, the desired outcome could vary. It could be:
- No relationship at all, for now
- Just someone different
- Remaining open to seeing more than one person
- Only casual relationships from here on out
- A loving and committed relationship
And those are just a few of the possible outcomes.
Without clarifying the desired outcome, you’re simply wandering away from one thing, but not toward anything else in particular.
It’s what I like to call “reverse focus.” And it can keep you from ever achieving your true goals.
Are you doing this too?
Symptoms of reverse focus
Wondering if you’re experiencing the effects of reverse focus? Ask yourself the following:
- Do you often wonder how you got to this place in your life?
- Do you regularly think, “Is this all there is?”
- Does it sometimes seem like you barely recognize your life, because it just doesn’t feel right?
If you answered yes to any of these, you may be experiencing the effects of reverse focus. You’re not alone. I’ve done it more than once …
One of my reverse focus experiences
Growing up, I knew I wanted more opportunities than my parents had. I feel a little guilty saying this, but I desperately wanted a life that looked and felt different than the life they had created for themselves.
I sensed a college education would move me away from their experience. So I set out to make that happen. And I did. I was the first person in my immediate or extended family to earn a degree.
The only problem was: all my energy was focused on moving away from my parents’ experience. I didn’t invest any effort into determining what I was moving toward.
That translated into difficulty choosing a major, lack of focus on classes, and no real post-graduate plan.
While I am glad I attended the University and I enjoyed the experience, I feel it could have been even richer had I focused on where I was going, versus what I was moving away from.
Moving toward your desires is to live on-purpose.
It’s the way to go for what you want, and greatly increase your chances of getting it.
How this can look while working on weight loss
I see this occasionally with clients who are working toward a goal of losing weight. They can sometimes become so focused on moving away from what they don’t want (extra weight) that they may forget to actively focus on what they do want, which could be feelings of being more energetic, vibrant, confident, etc … When that happens, they don’t take the steps to create what they truly want and the weight loss they achieve can feel less satisfying than they imagined. It’s because deep down they wanted something more than just to move away from the extra weight.
If you feel yourself slipping back into reverse focus, remember:
You’re moving away from one thing. But there are possibly millions of options for which experiences you can move toward. So, in order to get to where you truly want to go, it’s important to narrow it down.
Choose which option feels best for you, or you may end up in a place that you don’t recognize. Laser in on what feels right, and go for it. Make adjustments as you go. (And enjoy the ride!)