Focus on what you want and make it a habit

Hope and Happiness

I knew a young middle-aged man I’ll call George, who had a drinking and driving problem, like quite a few others I’ve met in my recovery mentoring work. 

George stayed way too late at the pub and had far too much to drink. However, the road home was straight and flat with no traffic at that time of night, so he decided to drive. There were no houses on that stretch and only one tree. 

As he drove home he kept reminding himself that if he does go off the road, he must not run into that tree. You know the rest: he lost control and crashed into the only tree on his route. George wanted to get home safely but he had focused on what he didn’t want … and got it.

You’ve been there; I’ve been there. When I think about not eating the chocolate in the cupboard, I am more likely to indulge than if I focus on the tasks of productive and healthy living.

If you have to take regular medication, you are much more likely to remember it if you focus on building it into your daily routine, rather than on trying not to forget it. What you focus on get planted in your subconscious.

If you find yourself focusing on what you don’t want, whether it be lack of money, loss of friends, illness, getting too fat or your adult children taking big risks, don’t be too hard on yourself. You are bombarded daily with negative media stories and advice telling you what not to do and what disasters may follow if you ignore the advice. 

The basic form of the advice is this: don’t (eat, breathe, drink, go, do) or you’ll (get cancer, asthma, ulcers, go to jail, become a drunk). A somewhat earlier version of focusing on the negative appeared with the “thou shalt nots” in the Ten Commandments.

You are probably like most other people in that you want to be a good person and live a good life. Unfortunately, if you focus on all the negatives, that is, all the things you don’t want or shouldn’t do, life becomes very constricted. You may be seen by others as a good person, but you know deep down you couldn’t possibly follow all of the edicts about what you shouldn’t do. You know clearly what you don’t want, but what you do want remains elusive and never seems to materialize.

I invite you to reflect on how much attention you pay to what you don’t want or shouldn’t do. Then for each of those things reflect on its opposite, what you do want or could do. 

Make this a habit. It can be very freeing and life enhancing. It’s a recipe for living a more expanded life and leaving a more appreciated emotional legacy.

  

 

You can reach Registered Psychologist Dr. Neill Neill for an appointment at 250-752-8684 or through his website www.neillneill.com.

 

Just Posted

Third delivery of building units for 222 Corfield in Parksville arrives April 26

Vehicles should expect intermittent, single-lane alternating traffic

City of Parksville to look into cost, process of beach cleanup

Cleanup would include removing rotten logs, adding sand

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

RCMP ask Parksville Qualicum Beach businesses for help battling thieves

‘With your assistance forensic evidence could be located for prosecution’

Early morning break-in at Parksville Dairy Queen

Oceanside RCMP said incident occurred at 1:50 a.m. on April 17

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

B.C. senior sentenced for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Most Read