The One Mental Skill That Will Help You Achieve Any Goal in 2021

Dec 03, 2020

We all want the next year to be better than the last - with 2020 being an even more special case than most years! As you start thinking about how you want next year to unfold for you, you may already have some goals in mind that you’re wanting to achieve. No matter how small or big these goals are, there is one mental skill you can start strengthening right now to help you make manifesting much easier: the ability to focus and direct your attention.

Your attention is a precious resource. Almost everyone in your life is constantly competing for it! Just think of all the companies that target you with ads as you scroll through your Facebook feed or those TV moderators who beg you to stick around for the next piece of “breaking news.” Business and media understand the power of attention because they know it drives action.

What you choose to give your attention to affects the decisions that shape your life on a daily basis. This includes the actions you take (or don’t take!) towards your goals. When you allow your attention to be consumed by what society wants or by voices of fear and lack, you then have less energy to enjoy the present moment or to work on making your dreams a reality!

Learning how to consciously decide what you pay attention to is the most empowering thing you can do for yourself as you prepare for the year ahead.

WHY FOCUSING ON THE GOOD SEEMS SO HARD

Do you ever wonder why it feels like there is so much wrong in this world...or in your life? Did you consider that perhaps there’s actually more going right than wrong? The thing is that we are so conditioned to pay attention to the bad that we don’t even notice the good - and the media often perpetuates this. 

There are two biological reasons why your attention is so easily captured by all the “bad” things going on - and why it seems like there’s never an end to them!

  1. Your brain has a negativity bias through which it pays more attention to potential threats in your life before noticing potential opportunities. While this survival mechanism is meant to protect you, it also makes you notice what’s missing in your life more often - even while you may already have the resources to start making your dreams a reality.
  2. Your brain channels energy into the things that you focus on most. The more you give your attention to something, the more you tell your brain to register that piece of information as important. It then creates shortcuts so you can access that information - or that feeling - easier next time. When you pay attention to negative or disempowering things, you make it easier for your brain to pay attention to them at the cost of disregarding helpful or positive things!

When you aren’t intentional about what you pay attention to, it will seem as if other people are shaping your brain for you! But don’t worry, you are the one with the power here! Since you can be more conscious about what you pay attention to, you can shape your brain in a way that brings you closer to everything you want in life!

RELEASE FEAR BY TRAINING YOUR ATTENTION

Attention is a limited resource - you can either use it intentionally to consume things that nourish you or you can let it be unconsciously consumed by things that disempower you. When you aren’t intentional with your attention, the most natural path your brain will take is perking up at anything that could be a potential threat. 

This means that all of the negative and fear-based headlines you come across will jump out at you first - even when there are hundreds of inspiring and educational stories for every negative piece of information you stumble upon. 

When you give your attention to all of the things that are “wrong” out there, you disempower yourself. You probably know someone in your life who blames everything in their life on others? It’s all someone else’s fault - the government, their parents, their culture, their upbringing etc. 

They lose a sense of responsibility for their own life, keeping them stuck in a cycle of powerlessness. 

When we allow fear to capture our attention, our instinct may be to start blaming others so that we don’t have to make difficult changes or face our own feelings. But each time we do this, we are telling our brain that we don’t have control over things. This drains our energy and causes us unnecessary suffering in the form of stress, anxiety, or depression.

ALIGN YOUR ATTENTION WITH YOUR INTENTIONS

Learning to place your attention on your intentions - rather than on things you can’t control - is one of the best ways to manifest what you want to see more of in your life. When you know what you’d like to create, you can start rewiring your brain to align with these dreams. 

There’s a part of your brain - the reticular activating system - that acts like a filter to make it easier for you to see more of what you pay most attention to. Pay more attention to your intentions and your brain will make it easier for you to act on them!

If you’re always focused on what’s missing in your life, that filter seeks out other experiences that match these thoughts. But when your focus is on what you most want to bring into your life, you start noticing opportunities to do that. It may almost seem as if the universe is conspiring in your favor, constantly bringing you synchronicities and new ideas!

“Whether it’s your health, wealth, happiness, or any other element of your entire life experience, it is essential to keep in mind the importance of the movement of your attention. You must be obstinate and persistent in not allowing the viewpoints or information of others to alter your inner world. You know what you wish to become and what you would like to manifest for yourself.” – Wayne Dyer

6 WAYS TO BE MORE DELIBERATE WITH YOUR ATTENTION

Here are six ways to be more deliberate about using the mental skill of attention to manifest your dreams:

    1. Start your day with a clear intention
      When you wake up in the morning, decide how your day is going to unfold. Review your goals and priorities. Place your attention on all of the good things that are already present in your life. Recognize that these are the resources that can help you achieve your goals. 
    2. Set a time for your daily media consumption
      Set a certain amount of time every day for checking the news or social media - perhaps a max of 20 or 30 minutes. Once you’ve hit that limit, move on to your other tasks...the ones that actually move you closer towards your goals!
    3. Pay attention to how the media you consume is making you feel
      If you don’t do #2 above and you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, notice whether it’s leaving you feeling empowered or disempowered. If it makes you feel anything other than empowered, informed, or connected, curate your news feed so it only shows you things that uplift or educate you!
    4. Be inspired daily
      Rather than using your precious time and resources to focus your attention on what’s wrong with the world, why not be delighted by what’s right? Be intentional about consuming more inspirational and educational media - whether that’s in the form of books, videos, music, or articles.
    5. Invest your attention in your biggest dreams every day
      You know those dreams that you don’t share with anyone because perhaps you’re scared they’re too “big” or “unrealistic”? If you consistently place your energy on them, you will always be closer to making them reality than if you don’t even try. Set aside a few minutes every day - perhaps as part of your morning routine - to research what it would take to make those dreams a reality. Then take tiny steps whenever you can to put together a more tangible strategy to make it happen!
    6. Train your attention with meditation
      Believe it or not, meditation is a great way to be more productive! It strengthens the skill of attention and focus which is key to getting things done efficiently. When you first learn to meditate, you will inevitably notice how often your own attention strays. Over time as you see this happening, you learn to redirect your attention back to your desired object of attention - whether that be your breath or the words of the guided meditation you’re listening to. When you practice this in meditation, it becomes much easier to keep your focus in daily life.

When you take the time to slow down every day, you will notice your own power to choose where you place your attention. It does not have to be on things that leave you feeling stressed, overwhelmed, afraid, or powerless! Instead you can train your brain to be more focused and less stressed as you become more deliberate about using the great mental skill of attention. 

If you’ve been wanting to bring meditation into your life more consistently, join us for our daily meditation classes. Try it out with our FREE Sunday meditations at 6pm Pacific - this week is all about aligning your attention with your intentions. Sign up here!

Have friends or loved ones who are also passionate about feeling peaceful, calm, AND achieving their dreams? Why not give them a gift to help them make getting there easier? Give the gift of presence by helping them start their meditation journey today with our meditation starter kit! 

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