Tag Archives: focus

This Year’s Magic Word… Focus

Hi Y’all! I’m back writing after taking two weeks off, although I did write one blog post about a local restaurant that irked me; hey, when you’re irked, write about it.

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Star Wars, 1/1/16 w/2nd family

For those of you who missed it (which I don’t know how you could have), when I wrote my last post of 2015, I said that I was going to rest, then plan how I was going to proceed in working on my business and career in 2016. You know what? Things don’t quite work out that way just because you say them.
Continue reading This Year’s Magic Word… Focus

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The First Story Of The Year Is About… Dessert!

Welcome to the first post of 2014. I know it’s going to seem strange having the first post come one day after the last post of 2013, and yet I felt I had to create this particular article because, even though it doesn’t have anything to do with blogging or writing or SEO or anything else regarding social media, it does have a little bit to do with the article I wrote about focus some days ago. Truthfully this is a story, a true story that probably took less than 10 minutes of my life, but I thought it was a tale worth telling because you either identify with me, laugh at me, or sit there scratching your head wondering why the heck I wrote it to begin with. With that as the preamble let’s begin.

Rice Krispies Treats

As I was leaving Barnes & Noble, where I had gone to buy the DVD of Despicable Me 2, I decided that I wanted some fudge. I wanted fudge because the last video I watched before I left home was one of my online friends Tomeka Haywood making some homemade fudge. Part of me thought about trying that, and another part of me said it would be better if I could just buy some.

One of the problems I have is that, oddly enough, where I live you can’t just find fudge anywhere. Sure, there are a couple of the large candy companies that have fudge, but in my mind that stuff never quite qualifies as fudge. If it was a Saturday I would go to what we call the Farmers Market around here, but it’s Wednesday, New Year’s Day. I decided to check out my favorite grocery store, Wegmans, to see if maybe they had some fudge.

Truth be told, I knew they wouldn’t have fudge because it’s not something they normally carry. However, somewhere in the recesses of my mind I thought that maybe because it was a holiday they would have some on hand. They didn’t, but it wasn’t going to be a wasted trip because I needed more soda anyway.

As I got close to the soda area, I noticed Rice Krispies were on sale, and I thought about making some rice krispy treats. I really love these things, and they’re very easy to make, but I usually don’t have enough discretion to know how to space them out over the course of a couple of days. As a matter of fact, if I start in the morning you can pretty much be sure they’re going to be gone by the end of the day. I decided to wait for a couple of minutes and go get the soda, walk around to see what else there might be, and if I found nothing else then I might go back and get it.

As I walked around, at some point I found myself near the cookies. I took a quick look and found that they had coconut chocolate chip cookies from Keebler. I don’t eat a lot of these cookies, but it sparked a memory in my mind of how much I used to always love making a big cup of hot chocolate, and then taking my bag of cookies and seeing how many of them I could dunk and eat in one sitting. I love the flavor drastically, and you can imagine the smell of the hot chocolate and coconut cookie together, and my mouth was salivating again.

Now I had a mental dilemma. I think I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I have sugar cravings, and they were very strong at this moment. I knew that I needed some time to think about things, so I went into the frozen section where they have a bench, sat down on the bench and started to think. I had planned on calling one of two people, neither one of which was my wife, but the deep recesses of my mind said that would be pretty stupid.

Why did this take so much thought? Because I knew that either direction I went was going to cause some grief to my body. There is no secret that I’m diabetic, but I’m thinking the load of sugar that either one of these would’ve pumped into my body would probably bother anyone my age, or within 20 years of my age. Yet my mind didn’t really care for a while. And often, when I shop by myself, I just grabbed the first thing that comes to my mind, come home and eat it, and then feel both guilty and occasionally sick. I’m not one of those people who only eats two or three cookies and then puts it away, I eat as many as I want to until my body says please stop.

My wife thinks I’m crazy and that this shouldn’t be a big deal, but I’m pretty much of the opinion that anybody who goes through any kind of addiction and is trying not to do something probably goes through the same process, only probably not as long as I did. Knowing that one of the focus points for this year is to be more cautious with my health, I thought through the ramifications of the decision I was trying to make against what I felt was my immediate need for satisfaction. It sounds funny comparing suites to drugs or alcohol or cigarettes, but in my mind the decision I made was going to be very important.

The funny thing about time, when you have enough so that you can think things through quite often you will end up making a better decision than you were ready to make. I decided that I did not want to spend New Year’s Day feeling sick, so I immediately through out the coconut chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate idea. I then decided that even though I would be starting the treats later than early morning, the process of making them and then eating them while having to clean more things in the kitchen wasn’t quite as appealing as it had initially been. So, instead of either one of those two things, I decided to buy a bag of M&M’s. True, it’s still chocolate, but it doesn’t come close to the hurt I would put on myself with the other two options, and I’m not one to sit and eat an entire bag of that in one sitting.

chocolate cake

After I made my decision, my mind felt light and free. I went to the candy section and picked up the bag of M&Ms I wanted, this time the milk chocolate instead of the peanut butter. As I go to put it in my basket, my eyes got wide as I realized that I had picked up a 6 inch chocolate fudge cake and put it in my basket at some point; I wonder when the heck I did that? 😀 This means I would’ve had a lot of dessert and felt like I had to eat it all before I left town again on Sunday.

Here’s the rub. I’m of the opinion that if one of my goals wasn’t focus for 2014, as well as a goal of trying to be healthier, I would have bought one of those things without a moment’s notice, including the cake, brought it home and ate it without a second thought until I didn’t feel well. That wouldn’t have brought me any type of benefit, although my taste buds would’ve probably loved me.

The decisions we make and the reasons behind the decisions we make can be interesting. In a way, I could make this a topic about blogging because so many people start blogging without thinking all that much about what their intentions are for their blog. Heck, I certainly did it with this blog back in 2007. And our buddy Jeevan is starting his new blog today called Daring Blogger, and he seems focused on what his goals are as he tells us in the first post which I just linked to.

I hope you enjoyed this story, and in a weird way hope you learned something from it, not about me but about yourselves. One of the best things about stories is that often we can see something of ourselves in a story, and stories are sometimes enough to help us decide to make even the smallest of changes.

To close this post I’m going to add a video below that I created talking about how little changes can bring great growth in so many ways; I didn’t know I was going to do this, but I think it’s a good time to unveil it here on the blog. To everyone, let’s have a great 2014, and I hope to have good stuff for you throughout the year.
 


 

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It’s All About Focus – Goal Setting For 2014

A couple of days ago I did a video about my goals for 2014, which is embedded below. In essence, I talked about 7 goals I have for the new year, and there’s one in particular I want to address in this article because I think it’s probably the most important one for me and for all of you; yes, I said that.

Nina Matthews via Compfight

I haven’t written all that often about the term “focus” on this blog. I’ve certainly addressed it a few times on my business blog, mainly because that blog talks about leadership and behavior more often, thus it’s a good thing to address over there. So, in a slightly different vein, here are a couple of links to that blog to articles on “focus” that I think connect to this topic very well:

6 Ways Focus Can Help You

Lack Of Focus Will Mess You Up

The reason I think focus is going to be my biggest goal this year is because I’ve noticed as I’ve reached my middle 50’s that I really don’t focus on things as well as I used to. I’m not sure if it’s age or diabetes or diabetes medication or lack of sleep but focus is lacking across the board. I have found that when I write things down that I actually get more things done, and that’s good. However, I don’t write things down enough and that’s bad.

What will focus do for me, and for you? Focus allows us to complete things we start. Actually, focus allows us to evaluate those things to see if we should even do them. I don’t know how many blogs I’ve read where the writer talks about a project they started, got to a certain point and realized that their heart wasn’t in it any longer, or that they realized they might not get out of it what they had hoped for.

In my case, I started the SEO part of my business in 2007 with the working goal of building websites, optimizing them to that they would rank well and give business owners a chance to compete with others in their industry. Six years later I realize that I really don’t like sitting down and creating websites all that much now, that more people love templates and want something simple that they can change on their own, and they all want “pretty”, which won’t get most of them any traffic at all but it’s hard to convince them of that.

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Lali Masriera via Compfight

Instead, I’ve changed the focus of that blog to talking more about SEO and social media interactions and website evaluation. And yet, though the focus of that site has changed, I haven’t fully embraced it, probably because the health care side of my business still drives the overwhelming majority of my income, and even though SEO and the like is way more fun, including blogging, when all is said and done the bills have to be paid and there’s stuff I want and need to buy. I talk about some of that in the video.

As I talk about my goals in the video, including focus, I also ask people if they set goals, if they’re willing to share any of the big goals, if they want help in reaching and focusing on their goals, and a whole lot of other stuff. I missed talking about the 6th year anniversary of this blog, which was on December 12th, because I was still out of town on my consulting assignment and I wasn’t focused on the milestone; sigh… I’m also realizing now that after this one I’m 20 posts away from 1,500, another milestone that, this time around, I want to make sure I don’t forget.

Meanwhile, I want to share this with you. I’ve never talked about it on this blog, but I have shared it a few times on my business blog. This link leads you to a PDF called the Reserve Index. It’s a self evaluation of where you are now and where you want to be, and there are 100 points to see where you are on the list and to determine where you might want to be. I’ve done it periodically and I’ve scored as high as 26 and as low as 7; no, those aren’t great scores.

If you’re honest you’ll see there are some things you’ll never do because you don’t want to, but a lot of things you probably do want but aren’t really working towards. I’m going to do it again within the next couple of days and use that to help me focus on things over the course of the year. And I mention something in the video that I think would be well worth your time, effort and dollars as well, and I’m getting no money from it. lol

With all of that said it’s time to let this post go to the video, and I hope that some of you watch it. If not, I hope some of you got enough from this post to comment on it; let’s find out.
 


 

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How To Focus Better – A Review

I get free stuff all the time, both through regular mail and email. I received this manual titled “How To Focus Better” by Hulbert Lee and debated where the best place might be to post a review on it. I also debated how to review it. In the end, I’m going to play it straight forward, which usually is what I do anyway.

Hulbert Lee Focus

It’s a very short manual, which is why I’m calling it that instead of a book. At 44 pages, which includes the cover page and table of contents, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting, but it looked good. And when I read the first part of it, which was talking about what focus was and talking about the brain, I started to believe I wasn’t going to like anything about it.

Then it started getting better. The overall truth about the manual is that if you’ve ever spent any time reading books on how to live a better life, then you’ll have seen a lot of this, with some variations on the theme. Within chapter titles like Energy, Clarity and Accuracy, Lee gives short and peppy advice on what you can do to move towards these things. Taking energy as an example, advice like get more sleep and exercise more is something you’ve heard before, and he gives you ideas on how to try to achieve these things.

The last part of the manual has more to do with changing your mind to try to achieve some of the things you want in life, things that might help you focus on your goals. Something that I found interesting is when he talked about identifying your values and the possibility of having to shift your values if you’re concentrating on the wrong thing. For instance, instead of dreaming about buying a new car change your value to something like wanting to achieve success, being more patient, or even focusing on what you need to do to move in a positive direction.

My overall impression is that some of you might have read this stuff before, but it’s a good manual to have because it’s short and punchy. Once you get past the very early part of the book everything else is kind of uplifting and will get you going if you need a boost.

It’s easy to refer back to if you ever need to do such a thing, which you probably will. I say this because I actually read this back in February after he sent it to me and I’m just getting around to writing the review, which might make it seem like my focus wasn’t that good. However, as I think about where I am right now, I can honestly say that I put a few of these things into practice and many things in my life have improved since then. So, maybe in its own way it got through to me without knowing it.

Check out the link above, which will take you to his site where you can get this manual. I think it’s worth your time to check it out.
 

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