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How do we realistically keep our focus on our personal goals and values, at a time when the world seems to be falling apart? 

There is no universally applicable solution to this problem. The truth is that it involves a lot of trial and error.

The way YOU will be able to maintain YOUR focus might be different than the way other people maintain THEIR focus. 

A lot of it depends on the resources you have available and your learning style. 

Even though there are a variety of ways that we can maintain our focus on our personal goals and values even in the midst of the social, cultural, and political hurricane raging around us right now, the really important thing is that we remain committed to not abandoning our persona projects at this time. 

Because you will be tempted. 

There will absolutely be a part of you that tries to convince you that it’s “selfish” to be focused on your personal projects right now. 

There will be part of you that tells you that it’s “too stressful” to be focused on personal projects right now. 

There will be a part of you that tries to use what’s happening out there in the world as an excuse to abandon the tough work of the projects you’d taken on. 

The voices that you’ll hear in your head that tell you those things are lying to you. 

They don’t care about what’s going on in the word out there. 

They just want you to give up. 

Those are the SAME voices that say similar stuff WHENEVER your personal projects get hard or anxiety-provoking. 

You probably recognize those voices. They’re the voices that, when you decide to quit drinking, try to tell you, “you NEED to take a drink at this social function, or else you won’t fit in.” Or sometimes it’s, “you NEED to have a drink, just to relax a little bit so you won’t come off like a weirdo.” 

As if that voice ACTUALLY CARES about you fitting in, or coming off like a weirdo? 

I assure you: it doesn’t. 

Similarly, the voices that are right now trying to get you to abandon your project of quitting smoking, or quitting drinking, or sticking to a diet, or whatever other emotional or behavioral project you’re tackling right now, because of what’s happening out there in the world…they don’t actually care about any of it. 

Those voices will ALWAYS be looking for a reason to get you to have a cigarette, or have a drink, or crash your diet. 

Acknowledging this is the first step to keeping your focus where it needs to be. 

You have to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you WILL have those voices trying to knock you off track— and you have to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that those voices are trying to trick and sabotage you. 

If you start out from that understanding— if you are expecting those voices to pipe up, and if you’re crystal clear on the fact that they add NOTHING productive to your journey— then you can have strategies in place for dealing with them. 

You can be ready to respond to them. 

Usually such responses go something like this: “Nice try. But I’m committed to making this behavioral change.” 

Keeping your focus on your goals during stressful, upsetting times means setting aside time, every single day, to catch your breath and refocus. 

You’re going to want to sit down, at least once a day, and list the reasons why you are committed to making the change you’re making. 

You’re going to want to sit down, at least once a day, and make a list of the things that you have in your life that are HELPFUL to you in making this change. 

Your brain responds to conditioning. 

It may not be easy or natural to stay focused on your goals at times such as this…but you can condition it to do so by engaging in certain rituals— journaling, visualizing, affirmations— over and over and over again. 

It may not be easy to keep our focus on our own personal development projects and goals right now. 

It is possible— but only if we make them a priority. 

And you are worth making your personal projects a priority. 

 

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