You often hear people say things like “I’m trying to lose weight” or “I want to stop smoking”. The problem with these statements is that they practically doom you to failure from the start. Instead of focusing on what you don’t want, focus on what you really want.
Why you should focus on what you really want
1. Your brain does not recognise negatives
When you say “I want to stop smoking”, the only mental image that your brain has is “smoking”. The other words have no visual images associated with them. Therefore the more often you make this statement, the more times your brain sees the image of you smoking. You are literally programming your brain to make you smoke more!
I used to have a weakness for cheesecakes. Every time I stepped into a cafe or restaurant for a meal, I would tell myself “No cheesecake today!” Since the only word that had a meaning to my brain was “cheesecake”, my eyes would involuntarily wander over to the dessert counter to see what cheesecakes were available. The sight of delicious cheesecake was, of course, irresistible.
2. Shift your focus away from what you don’t want
What finally stopped me craving cheesecake was telling myself that tiramisu tasted as good and was slightly healthier. When I stopped focusing on cheesecake and started thinking about tiramisu, my cravings for cheesecake subsided. Of course, I then started eating a lot of tiramisu!
Once you realise that shifting focus works, the next step becomes simple. From tiramisu, I changed focus to salads. Every time I started thinking about what to eat for lunch, images of fresh green salads popped into my mind. I could almost taste the crunchy leaves and bacon bits in my mouth.
3. Form mental images of what you really want
Visualisation is the master key to getting what you want. If you want a lean body, find an image of your ideal body and put this where you’ll see it often. If you want a car, find a picture of your dream car. If you want to write a book, design your book cover with your name as the author and print this out.
Your mind thinks in pictures. The more often it sees those pictures, the more it will think that this is your reality. Your subconscious mind is extremely powerful, like a large ship that is steered by the tiny rudder which is your conscious mind. Once your conscious mind gives the subconscious mind a direction to move towards, the whole ship will turn slowly but surely.
4. Visualise what you want everyday
It’s not enough to do a visualisation exercise once. You need to do this daily to convince your mind that the reality you want is as real as the ‘real’ world your mind sees everyday. When you think about something so often that it becomes real to you, then the likelihood of it materialising in your reality is much higher.
When I wanted a lean body, I started to see myself as I was at 18. In my mind, I could feel my clothes getting loose. It took a few months but eventually the reality caught up. The same was true of my finances. When I started to visualise the figures I wanted to see in my financial spreadsheet, the real figures started to appear after a few years.
5. Be absolutely certain
You must see the reality you want as if it was 100% true. There is no room for doubt or uncertainty because you will confuse your brain. When you look down the road to your life one year from now or five years from now, the picture you see must be what you want.
The lifestyle I have today is the result of imagining my ideal day over five years ago when I was spending too many hours at work with not enough time for my family or myself. There was no doubt in my mind that I would someday have control over my time.
6. Let time do its work
Sometimes you will see results relatively quickly, in a few days or weeks. Sometimes takes years, especially if the difference between what you want and what you currently have is significant. Be patient. Even if you turn the rudder of your subconscious today in the right direction, a big ship takes time to turn. And once it’s headed where you want it to go, the journey itself takes time.
How to focus on what you really want
So many of us are so easily distracted. We don’t focus consistently and so don’t get the results we relly want. To get better at focus, read Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less. For a more action-oriented approach, get The Full Focus Planner and start using it.