I was working on another blog post that isn’t quite ready – so this morning, I was thinking about it being mid-January, and already, I’ve not stuck with a few changes I was hoping to make… I immediately started to feel bad about myself. Then I read this quote in an article I was reading…
Where your attention goes – your energy flows.
Have you heard of this phrase? It is so true.
When I hear this, I think of the Cognitive Triangle – which shows how our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interrelated. This is used in various behavioral therapies but can easily be used to make changes we desire.
As you can see – there is not one place to begin in this cycle. I think of it as another chicken or egg quandary we face.
It’s essential to understand this cycle and how we get caught in it because once we slow down the process, we can make the changes we want in our lives and make them stick too. Ultimately we can cause our energy to flow in the direction we want it to – and you know how it feels when we are in the flow. Life seems easier, clear, and more positive.
The way I see it, you can enter the cycle at any point. So, for example, you may think a thought – which then elicits some feelings you have around it – which then influences something you do (a behavior or choice you make). Or, for some of us, our behavior triggers our thoughts which then cause some feelings to arise, which then trigger that same behavior.
We can change the cycle at any point in it. First, we must slow the cycle to understand what is happening. Then, once we know what is triggering us and start the cycle, we can intentionally shift our focus which will change the energy that takes us into the process – thus allowing us the ability to change the outcome.
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” Albert Einstein
When we want to make a change in our lives –if we don’t shift our focus – and make sure our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors align with it – our desire (or goal or intention) is not enough for the change to occur.
I can’t tell you how often this comes up when coaching. It’s great to be clear about our goals or intentions, but that is not enough. If your “attention” isn’t in that flow – your energy (and your thought cycle) won’t easily support those goals and intentions. Too often, we have underlying beliefs (thoughts) that don’t support the new goal, no matter how much we want it. So it’s no surprise that we sabotage our efforts and stay stuck in the same behavior patterns – and sadly, the change is not within our reach.
A great example of this is New Year’s Resolutions.
There are many studies out there, but I recently saw that only 9% — Yup – only 9% — of us are successfully keeping our new year’s resolutions. In addition, a whopping 23% of us quit in the first week.
Most likely, we are all in this category. But, if you are, don’t beat yourself up about this. There is something you can do about it!
When we learn to shift our attention toward the things we want (or better yet, already have ) in our lives, we can more easily make space to create new thoughts – feelings – behaviors, etc., that are necessary to make any changes in our life.
I remember I saw a bumper sticker once that said, “Make SHIFTS happen.” (It made me smile when I saw that then and it’s making me smile as I type this too.)
So how do we make shifts happen? (I just smiled again…)
Take a few breaths – and imagine the outcome you want. How would you feel if this were true? What decisions and behaviors might you make if this were true? Then imagine yourself acting in that way right now. How would the whole thing play out?
If you are visual like me – you can map out the new triangle of thoughts, beliefs, and actions based on this new point of view. This may be what you need to bring the change you want to make into focus.
So, what is your focus right now? What direction is your energy flowing? If it’s not going where you want it to – hop on that triangle and make a change! : )
Be you, my friends.