New Year: How to Change the Stubborn Issues

In this time of resolutions, reflection, and list-making, we can become understandably skeptical. Often the things we really want to be different just don’t change. We justifiably think that anything we might try now will suffer the same fate as past efforts.

Luckily, it’s not true. You can affect any change you want. Even (and especially) the stubborn issues. The solution is to change your focus.

We all tend to focus on the problem. When we have a persistent unwanted situation it’s a sure bet that our moment-to-moment thoughts contain complaint, anger, or worry about it.

“I hate how much I weigh.” “Why can’t we grow this business?” “I don’t have enough money.” “These people just don’t care or work hard enough.” “I don’t deserve it.” “My boss doesn’t understand.” “Why am I so often alone?”

Our thoughts of complaint, anger, and worry are so habitual that we are often unaware of them. They make up the ground of our existence and we are blind to how they work and our power to change them. You can tell you’re thinking them because you’ll feel bad as you think them.

We stick with our problem-focus because we mistakenly think it will spur us to productive action. Actually, getting stuck on the problem locks the problem in place.

Let us instead focus on what we want. It is natural and helpful to notice what is not working, what we do not want.  To have the changes we want, we must continue past the thoughts of what’s wrong and focus on what we want. This means catching (not squelching, mind you) our moment-to-moment thoughts of worry, anger, and complaint about the problem then flipping them. It means building the habit of regularly describing, imagining, telling stories about, and feeling what we want. It means shifting toward expecting the change we want to happen.

As you shift your focus, you will notice new ideas, options, and actions that will take you where you want to go.

Why this works. Focusing on what’s wrong prevents us from seeing the ideas and options that will help us. Focusing on what’s wrong feels bad and drains our energy. It also pushes away others who might otherwise want to help. Focusing on what we want attracts others, pumps us with energy, feels good, and opens us to helpful ideas, options, and actions.

It is simple to shift our focus toward what we want. It may not be easy because we are so used to focusing on we do not want. It is so worth it, though.


In your corner,


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