Most mornings, when I enter my office, the first thing I do once settled at my desk is crank up the song Feeling Good, by Michael Buble. Not only am I a huge fan of crooner music, but I'm a proponent of feeling the best you can in any given moment.
It's been said that the underlying reason we really want anything in life is because it will make us feel better.
While this might be the deepest reason we move toward our goals and dreams, I think there are other layers of desire that continue to add momentum to the journey.
Years ago, when I originally started this Awaken your Purpose Mastery Course, this week was all about motivation.
I had written about how motivation is defined as the direction and intensity of one's effort. I mean, this was a subject I taught a lot about in sports psychology at Chico State. Even cleaning out my office this week, I noticed manila folders full of lesson plans to increase intrinsic motivation--the desire to take action just because the inner gratification to do so is a reward in and of itself.
However, motivation still seems like a word that involves effort to me. It seems like it's a constant battle to overcome some laziness, poor habits, or inner demons in order to get to that place where you really want to be.
You might be a wordsmith, too, and disagree with me, and that's okay.
For the sake of today's focus, I would prefer to continue with this theme of momentum. This word seams to resonate more with me now, and it's actually similar to motivation in a few ways.
Momentum also involves direction, which includes where you want to go, what you want your experience to be like when you get there, and the relationships you want to build along the way.
Essentially, that direction is our intention.
Our intentions are continually being revised as we go through life experience. We know what like, and we know what we don't like. The goal is to use the things we would rather avoid as a catalyst to point us more clearly toward that which we prefer.
Then, we place our focus there.
That was last weeks topic: attention.
Attention is the skill of observing, and it does take practice to continually look at the variety of life and be able to shift our awareness back to where you want to be heading... back to where you want to go, and what makes you feel good.
And feeling good leads to having more energy, building more momentum in the direction of your dreams.
Some of the easiest ways to increase the skill of attention include:
- focusing on your breathing,
- noting how much energy you have throughout the day,
- noticing the emotions that arise in various interactions with others,
- closing your eyes and using your other senses to perceive your surroundings,
- making a list of things you appreciate, and
- walking in nature, and noticing the details of it all
Today, I'd like to share another tool that I use to help increase my observation skills.
It starts with the simple question, "Why?"
Some of my fondest memories in the past few years include hanging out with my nieces and nephews. They are creative, giggly, and super smart.
Now, if you've spent any time around curious kids, they continually ask "why?"
Even if you give them an answer, they just ask "why?" again.
It's a fun game they thoroughly enjoy, taking you down the rabbit hole of "whys" until you finally admit that you have no idea... or you choose the pivoting tactic to shift their attention elsewhere.
I think Simon Sinek is a genius in his book, Start with Why, because he uses the clarity that comes from asking this question to add value and purpose to the business sphere of life. His 20-minute TED talk is worth watching if you haven't already, and it's still inspiring to hear again even if you have!
Today, I'd like to look at what is adding fuel, or momentum, to your journey by asking the question "why?"
You can download this activity here, or follow the steps below:
Step 1: Find out Why
Go through the questions from Week 1 of this Course, where you set the stage for your entire year.
As you approach your answer to each question, ask yourself “Why do I want this?”
For example, let’s look at the question from the Physical Wellness Section: How can I attend to my physical health over the next 60 days?
One of my answers was to add more yoga to my weekly routine. I'd then ask, “Why do I want this?”
The new answer could be that I want to get more flexible.
Why do I want to be more flexible?
It’s because I want to feel more free in my body, and I want to be able to get down on the floor to play with my nieces and nephews until I'm old and gray. Or, it could just be that I want to embrace my youthfulness for as long as possible.
The goal is to be as honest with what answers come to mind. You can list one answer to the question of “why?" or you can list several. The goal is to find the best-feeling answers as possible. As we really know, the underlying desire is a feel good anyway.
Step 2: Reflect on what you've learned
Hopefully, based on your answers to Step 1, you learned something new about yourself. Maybe your motives became clearer, or perhaps, you discovered that many of your goals have the similar reasons for existing. In any case, when you really know why you’re doing an activity, or reaching for an end goal, it’s easier to stay on track. It's easier to keep the positive momentum going.
By focusing on these emotional roots, I'm not saying you will necessarily manifest your goals without any unexpected challenges. In fact, sometimes those intermittent difficulties can add more clarity to your dreams, or give you a more refined skill set to meet the momentum of the dream itself.
The real aim in this step is to move up the vibrational, or emotional, scale so that you feel good each step along the way. It also helps to acknowledge various learning lessons as you progress. Hopefully, this helps you maximize each moment and utilize that power for the next.
Step 3: Focus on the feeling
What can you focus on today that can boost your energy? What can you do today to have fun? How can you evoke the feeling of being happy, light, or joyful? (any of the items in Steps 1 and 2 can help guide you along the way)
This takes those big-picture ideas and brings them into a tangible place where you can do something now.
As I mentioned before, dreams don't always have clear stepping stones to have them manifest.
Sometimes there is trust involved, and the only real thing you can do is take one step right now in that direction.
So, why not feel good as you do so??