Thank you for reading this Operation Melt blog update.
After starting as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform to help inspire, motivate and equip you to achieve your biggest personal and professional goals and live your best life.
Let’s work together to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.
My amuse bouche for you today is a light “dad joke” to entertain your mind before we get down to business. Like any other amuse bouche, you may hate it, but it is worth every penny that you paid for it, right?
Did you know that Yoda had a last name?
It was Layheehoo.
Goal Success by Choice
Do you have dreams that you are trying to make come true? Do you have a goal that you are trying to crush? Success doesn’t happen by chance. You don’t have to get lucky or win the lottery to live the life of your dreams.
You just have to choose to be successful. If you make the right daily choices, adopt good habits and behaviors, and approach life with the right mindset, you can make your dreams come true.
Goal Success by Choice helps you make the choices that will move you closer to your goals and keep you from holding yourself back.
I hope this post helps you get a little closer to crushing your goals.
A Moment of Silence
If your mind is scattered, it is quite powerless. Distraction here and there opens the way for counterproductive emotions, leading to many kinds of trouble.Dalai Lama XIV
It was early on a work-from-home Tuesday morning. I had just logged in to check my work email and knew that I had a deadline to have some slides done by noon for an important meeting. When I checked my emails, I had a couple that required an immediate response. I had the news on in the background, and there was a story that grabbed my attention. My attention was focused on the tv while responding to emails and trying to meet my deadline.
That’s when it started; lots of thoughts started racing through my head. What are we going to do for dinner tonight? When am I going to be able to take a break to exercise today? Oh, I will need to shower before my afternoon meeting where I have to be on camera! I haven’t had breakfast yet; what can I grab that is quick and healthy? What did that new story just say?
I felt like I was in a busy restaurant surrounded by many voices, making it difficult to focus on my own conversation. But, in my case, all of the voices were my own. My brain was so scattered at that moment that I couldn’t focus on anything.
My Moment of Silence
I needed a moment of silence. I needed a way to silence my thoughts and focus on the task at hand. I had to stop getting sidetracked by all of the other things going on in my head.
I took action, turned off the news and walked away from the computer. I sat down in a comfortable chair and closed my eyes. I set a timer for fifteen minutes, so I didn’t have to pay attention to the time or my phone. Then I turned my attention to my breathing. I focused on my breath flowing in and out of my lungs. When other thoughts would pop into my head, I simply redirected my attention back to my breathing.
My moment of silence worked. I quieted the barrage of random thoughts during the silence, and they didn’t come rushing back when it was over. My heart rate slowed, and my body relaxed. Then, when the silence was over, I was focused on my work and met my deadline.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had just meditated. It worked so well that this became the start of a daily meditation practice that I have been following almost consistently for a few months now.
The Other Pandemic
Many of us are experiencing a global pandemic, and I am not talking about COVID. The other pandemic plaguing us today is a pandemic of distraction. We hardly have a minute when we aren’t facing some external source of distraction: bottomless streaming media, social networks, ubiquitous digital devices with app notifications, and twenty-four-hour cable news, to name a few.
This constant state of distraction has a significant impact. It is the number one cause of vehicle accidents and costs companies an average of $650B each year. The pressure of continuous distractions and multitasking leads to a drop in IQ and a false sense of productivity. One study conducted on the impacts of distractions found that when people multitask, their IQ drops to the level of an eight-year-old child.
Even worse, distraction creates a snowball effect and drives our brains to become addicted. Many distractions such as checking social media and responding to notifications give a sense of instant gratification. This rewards our brains for getting distracted and causes our brains to crave more.
Finally, lack of concentration and constant distraction creates increased stress for our brains and our bodies. According to the National Institutes of Health (and many other studies), long-term stress leads to many other serious health problems. Stress has been proven to contribute to increased heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and numerous mental illnesses.
This means that having tools to help silence our brains and tame the distraction is critical for our success and productivity, is essential to our health.
Creating Your Moment of Silence
Do you want to safeguard your IQ, protect your mental health and live longer? It is time to take some steps towards your moment of silence.
Like many other areas of life, trusting your brain to autopilot is the enemy of achieving your goals (see Discipline Not Default). This means that finding your moment of silence requires some deliberate choices and a few proactive strategies. Finding the combination of steps that are right for your moment of silence can help you quiet your brain, focus on what is important and live in the moment.
Take Care of Your Body
If you want to give your brain a fighting chance at fighting distractions, you need to start by taking care of your body. Taking care of your body means focusing on your four core physiological needs: hydration, nutrition, exercise and sleep. Ensuring that you are balancing these areas of self-care, you can prepare your body to manage your brain.
If you don’t take proper care of your body, your brain won’t have the support it needs. This means your brain will not have the ammunition that it needs to defend against distraction.
Once your body is adequately prepared to support your brain’s self-defense, the next step is to know when your brain needs an intervention. This means being aware of what is happening in your brain and knowing when distraction, lack of focus, and broken concentration is taking hold. Pay close attention to your thoughts, are they focused on what you need to be focused on right now? Or, is your brain channel surfing when you need it to be at its peak performance?
Don’t trust your brain to its own devices when it comes to distraction. Be aware of the thoughts bouncing around in your head and whether they are serving your goal.
“I’m busy” has become the official slogan of many American’s today. Unfortunately, being busy doesn’t give your brain the space that it needs to operate at its best. If you want to boost your concentration, it is time to give your brain some breaks to process what has happened and prepare for what will happen. You need some whitespace.
Whitespace is a concept that is borrowed from the world of design. It is the empty space in a document (or webpage) between text and graphics. Sometimes this space is also referred to as negative space. By adequately leveraging whitespace in a design, the reader can more effectively process and digest the content.
Our brains also need whitespace in other areas, especially in our calendars. Leaving free space between appointments and other commitments gives your brain the chance to catch up. It is definitely not easy to create this free space for transitions, but it is worth it to help reduce the distractions.
One of the most effective steps that you can take to curtail distractions is to give yourself some quiet time. Simply taking some time to sit in silence, you give your brain time to press pause and cool down for a few minutes. This quiet time costs you nothing and can be your secret weapon to boost your focus.
Pressing pause to give yourself some quiet time can take many forms. Meditation is an effective tool for quiet time, but you don’t have to start this formal. Spending twenty minutes per day doing yoga can also work as a tool to grant your brain the quiet time it needs. Simply sitting in silence for a bit of time each day can help you sweep the distractions from your brain.
No matter how busy your schedule, finding even five minutes of quiet time each day will pay dividends in your quest to silence the distractions.
Don’t Go It Alone
Have you tried everything and, despite your best efforts, still can’t seem to eliminate the distractions and focus on what is important to you? It may be time to take a partner in your quest to slay the distraction dragons. Seeking out a qualified therapist, counselor, or other professional to help you could be your shortcut to a happier life.
Do you feel like your brain is in a million places at the same time? Is this preventing you from focusing on what is most important? This constant state of distraction doesn’t just impact your productivity, it is also hazardous to your health. Prolonged distraction and stress can have long-lasting impacts on your body. By taking a few practical steps to silence the distractions, you can take control and show your brain who’s the boss.
Now that you know how to focus your brain on achieving your goals, it is time to achieve something big. I want to help you cross those goals off your list and celebrate some wins.
Did You Like What You Read?
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