Clearing Your Path

life coaching Nov 28, 2020

To be completely transparent I am writing this just after having binge watched The Queen's Gambit (which was excellent btw), and I'm writing about clearing distractions and obstacles so that you can get down to business and meet your goals. Funny, right? Maybe I haven't totally mastered the subject. But meet me where I am, and I'll meet you where you are, deal? 

It is the Saturday after Thanksgiving in the middle of a pandemic, and we are basically in lockdown again. So a day of laziness was kind of called for. Allowing yourself to take a moment to do those things is not the problem. Allowing those moments to overtake your life, is. 

After a short errand I walked back into the house and saw my unmade bed with the remote control and the TV was still silently streaming Netflix previews. It all looked so tempting, but I really wanted to get some work done and anyway, the series was over so I couldn't hang out with Beth and the gang anymore even if I wanted to. I thought about grabbing my laptop and crawling under the covers. The whole scene was very inviting. 

Then I thought again. I grabbed the remote and turned the tv off. I made my bed, and then went to my desk to sit down and work. I am going to give myself and my goals at least an hour of uninterrupted time today. Listen, I'm not a workaholic and I'm not unrealistic. I don't think you need to hustle or work seven days of the week in order to make something happen. But I do think there are ways to set yourself up to fail, and even more importantly there are ways that you can set yourself up for success.

Once you have a plan of action for your goals set, you need to be sure and rid yourself of any obstacles or distractions that you can anticipate getting in your way. Because NOT doing so is really self sabotage. Here are five helpful tips to help you foresee what might get in your way. It's like in sales when you want to know what the objections are going to be up front, so you are ready to overcome them when the time comes. 

  1. Clear Your Mind  

We have so much coming at us these days, from all sides. The noise in our heads is constant, whether the source is external or internal, and it can make it almost impossible to focus. The key is to turn the noise off before diving into your task. Once you have turned off all external noise (tv, phone, etc.), then take just a couple of minutes to turn off the internal noise as well. Only two minutes. You can do something as simple as closing your eyes and focusing on your breath for two minutes, or you can do a visualization around whatever task you are about to perform. Walk yourself through the completion of that task and allow yourself to feel the joy of completing it. You will find that once you are finished you are ready and excited to dive in.

  1. Clear Your Space

Everyone knows that you can't focus amidst chaos. Very simply, clear off your desk. If you don't have a desk then clear off your dining room table before you sit down and work. If working out is your goal then be sure that you have enough space for whatever it is that you will be doing. I am always impressed with my husband's ability to workout in our entry hall. I'm not sure why he chose that spot but it is all he needs. We put in a small shelving unit to hold the equipment he usess and he is all set. Create a space for yourself that allows you to focus and if possible that inspires you to do so.

  1. Be Prepared

Make sure that you have what you need (and not what you don't) in order to get started. A great example of this is when your goal is to lose weight and make healthier choices. It is going to be VERY hard to do that with a bag of your favorite snack in the pantry. Get rid of it! Get rid of everything within reach that tempts you. It's tricky when you have other people in your house, especially kids, that like to have snacks around. One thing I try to do is buy things that they like but that don't tempt me (spicy Cheetos!). Also trying to find healthy snacks that they can get  excited about helps. For mine it's things like dried mango or seaweed. 

  1. Anticipate Interruptions

Think through your work time. If I'm about to sit down, what could possibly distract me in the next couple of hours. If there are other people home with you, let them know what you are up to. A simple "Hey, I'm going to be working (or working out) for the next hour so please pretend I'm not here!" For kids maybe have some snacks or activities ready for them if you think they might need something during that time. If you think it's your phone that might derail you, turn it off if possible, or at least turn notifications off.  Same with your computer. Close all irrelevant tabs. Close social media and email unless you are using it for the task at hand.

  1. Find a Way

Another type of obstacle we face is thinking that we need something in order to get started. I am guilty of this one. Maybe I'll see a new diet or exercise plan and I'll think that I need to buy that in order to get in shape. My husband (yes, same guy who works out in the entryway) makes fun of me for that. "You don't NEED to buy anything! Just do it!" That is true. As an ex dancer I have more than enough know how to create my own exercise routine, and there are tons of free workout options on YouTube if I need the help or extra inspiration. Since the beginning of quarantine I started doing Orangetheory's daily workout videos on YouTube. They are free and all the coaches are excellent. I'm sure the in person experience is even better, but sometimes you just have to work with what you have. If you wait to have the money to do this, or wait for the pandemic to be over to do that, then nothing will ever get done. So if there is anything you need (a new desk, computer, comfortable chair, workout equipment) absolutely work towards getting whatever that is so that you can step up your game, but find a way to make things happen before then, from wherever you are.

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