Feeling distracted? Not able to concentrate? Not able to get anything done?
You are not alone, every 6 people out of 10 feel the same.
Why is it that one moment we can be completely motivated to do things and the next moment we realize we’ve jumped ship and abandoned anything remotely connected to productivity?
This can be with regards to work, school, personal wellness, avoidance-distraction patterns which can be a consuming problem for many of us. Many neuroscientists, psychologists, and behavioural researchers would say that avoidance-distraction and procrastination are normal human tendencies and have much to do with the threat detection mechanism of the amygdala, part of what is referred to as the prehistoric brain.
Although it is normal, our best intentions can get high-jacked if we leave the workings of our prehistoric brain unexamined, especially with the fast-paced world we live in.
In order to achieve goals and wire ourselves with new habits, we have to leave our comfort zone. This can sometimes be perceived by our brains as a threat. This particular detection of an impending threat can catapult us into mindless activities that quickly take us off track. The good news is, once we have an awareness of the way we work, we can practice self-observation and redirection.
Here are four simple ways to break through subconscious patterns of avoidance and distraction.
1. Compassionate Observation
In order to change, one should be able to notice and identify the patterns. When it comes to patterns of avoidance and distraction, avoid beating yourself up about it. Instead, commit to compassionate self-observation. Take up the habit of daily journaling along with self-observation. Compassionate observation is key.
2. Remember your WHY
Although they are malleable, subconscious mental patterns are hard-wired. It takes true diligence to change them. The first step is to set the goals., then the next step would be establishing why is it that this goal or action is important to you? Get clear and concise with your why. Write it down and keep it close by. If you don’t feel compelled by your why, your goals may be off-target with what you are aiming to achieve.
3. Support the future YOU
Ask yourself questions, understand where and how this is going to help you 10 years from now. We, humans, are addicted to immediate gratification. Instilling the habit of pausing and reflecting on how your actions today will affect your physical and mental well-being down the road can have a profound effect on your daily habits.
4. Set Attainable and Concrete Steps
Setting goals for yourself is a great way to reach them, but setting attainable goals is the right way to go about it. Create a chart of attainable, concrete steps toward your goal. (This can be journaled or put up as posters in your room for motivation) In the vortex of avoidance and distraction, feelings of hopelessness consume your mind when focused on the road ahead.
Create concrete, actionable steps to move you closer to the goal or task at hand. What small action can you manage today? You don’t have to get there all at once.
From all of the above points, one should also realise that what you are aiming for to overcome is subconscious. It takes mindful awareness, patience, and time to reveal what is hidden and to create new habits. This awareness is at the heart of all transformation.
Remind yourself that every single day is new and that it’s never too late to begin again. Don’t let yourself forget that.