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Focus on What You Can Do

Not everything is in our control,


we can choose to focus on the changes we can make.

A few weeks ago, I was talking with my friend and coaching colleague Hilarie Gaylin. As she listened to me share a frustration, she wisely and gently offered a reminder to consider focusing my attention on what I did want and what I could do. She observed me caught in a loop of focusing on what was not working. I got that little twinge of discomfort. You know it, right? It’s that moment you realize the other person has offered wisdom, and it would be beneficial to listen and to work on changing something.

This insightful moment has followed me into several mindset changes lately. I realized how much we battle ourselves when we want to make a change. Somehow, we extend compassion to others, but with ourselves we hold ourselves to a higher standard. So, I’ve been working on small shifts. How can I take away some of that internal arguing, that tug of war? I’m trying to focus my time and attention on what I do want, and what I can do.

Here are a few examples:

  • I want to eat less chocolate during the day. So, I fill up multiple water bottles and keep them near my desk. Instead of saying, “Holly, you’ve really got to cut back on the chocolate,” I offer, “Holly, can you work on drinking 4 bottles of water today?"

  • I want to stay off my phone and make my way through a professional development book. So, I set a goal of reading 10 pages a day. Instead of saying, “You’ve got to cut down on your screen time,” I offer, “Holly, when do you have 15 minutes today to sit and read?”

Am I still eating chocolate? Yes. Am I still on my phone? Yes. And, I’m also getting things done that are important to me, with so much less of an internal battle. That energy is now going towards accomplishing something I want. I find my motivation increasing as a result. Some days, I only read 10 pages, and some days I read more. The difference is that instead of losing energy in a battle with myself, I’m making positive changes and taking action in a much more gentle way.

What one thing might you be willing to try this with? Please email me and let me know how it goes!

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