These three words and their intrinsic value, will help you focus on the right things and look at situations differently. It is an easy way to start making the changes you want. Everyone wants more meaning in their lives.
You would have probably heard the phrase: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”. These three words will greatly assist you, not only in your reactions, but in all your actions. They require no skill – just focus and work.
How do you ensure you are in the moment and aware of situations, yourself and others? If you are not aware of your thoughts / responses / reactions, it means that it is automated.
That automation is made up of years of experiences (good and also often not-so-good) and almost forms a “blanket” type of approach to unique circumstances and events. Which in turn means that you give it value that is bias.
Let’s say, for example that you’ve received quite a bit of negative feedback in a week. Yet another person critiques something and the chances are good that your response will not come from a place of understanding (no matter what the other persons intent is) but will be more automated towards negativity, hurt and defence. The trick is not to give any situation or event value, it is just what it is. How you THINK about it determines the outcome.
So, do not react, but through awareness, you deliberate and respond. So take a breath, let the thoughts pass (by the way – a thought is not you – it’s just a thought) and choose the right thought pattern. Something that assists with this is Anchoring thoughts. Keep an eye out for our Anchoring Thoughts.
Now that you have chosen your thoughts, through being aware and in the moment, now decide with intent what your next actions will entail. To do so, you have to condition yourself and DECIDE beforehand, to think / respond / act in a certain, chosen way. Intent comes from a conscious decision you made, prior to the event. Know that when that event or situation occurs, that you will deal with it in a very specific way. Once you’ve decided that and you’re aware of when the situation occurs, you’ll have the tenacity and focus to hang onto your decision and to “see it through”.
Here’s a basic example: let’s say, you’ve decided to get more healthy. You’ve decided to have no sugar for a while, in any form. You realise that you have a craving normally in the afternoon. Prior to the time, you’re consciously reminding yourself that you know you’ll have a craving around that time. Now you DECIDE beforehand what your response is going to be. Let’s say, you decide that you’ll have an apple rather. The time comes and you choose an apple rather than a chocolate. You planned it prior and acted on it. That intent pays off very quickly, because everyday day and every time you show that intent, it becomes increasingly easier to do what you’ve put your mind to.
We all know that most of our actions / reactions / responses are automated. Initially it requires focus, but very soon we do it out of habit. If you drive a car for a while, you do not think about reversing out of garage, it just happens. However, when you just started driving, you’d have been so completely focussed on the task, that you’d rethink every detail and action. Or think of tying your shoelaces, or brushing your teeth – it’s all automated. Our brain receives SO much information at any given point that it wants to look for known sequences or patterns, so that it can spend its focus on other information.
So, for you to build the Habit – you have to act Consistently! In essence, you’ve become Aware, you’ve acted with Intent and now, through “doing” it consistently, you’ll build the new habit. It takes focus and time – but simply focus on doing it “the next time again” consistently. If we use the health goal again as an example—If you know you want to move your body a bit, to release endorphins, get a good feel, burn calories, feel stronger and as a start, you just want to go for a 30-minute morning walk. Day One – is the hardest in anything. I’ve become Aware of this goal, my intent is to put out my trainers and outfit in the evening and when I wake in the morning – I put it on.
No matter the excuse or reason not to, I put it on and I go for my 30-minute walk. The first day was hard, but I did it. Tomorrow, I’ll do the same. Before I know it, I am loving it, it’s completely automated, I don’t have to think about it anymore, I just do it! This is how crazy it is. We all already know this and it requires zero skill! Yet, we do not do it? Just give it your focus and work on it!
This principle also forms the basis of Keystone Habits.
Meaning that the improved action or habit will have a compounded, positive effect on other parts of your life, e.g. savings / health / relationships, stress, etc. (habits) without you focussing on them – it happens automatically.
I mentioned the above does not require skill, only focus and work. As a start, try and choose one or two areas in which you want to make some change, or improve certain aspects.
Consciously remind yourself of it through the day. Then at the end of the day, take 5-mins for yourself and make a mental calculation on what worked well, what didn’t and where you want to improve on still.
Start your next morning again, with Awareness.
The first few days are the hardest. Consciously remind yourself of Awareness, Intent and Consistency.
Let’s make today Day One!