Keep Your Life On Track by Giving Yourself a Little Space

Copyright 2006 Cari Vollmer

My daughter’s 4th grade basketball team has a problem. Their problem isn’t a lack of desire to win the game, or even a lack of talent. Actually, they’re GUNG HO to do whatever it takes to score. So, what’s the problem? When they get the ball, they often find themselves in a big huddle with the other team. Before they know what hit them, they find themselves in cramped quarters, unable to think clearly, pass the ball, set up a play, or take a shot.

And so it goes for many of us. We dream of a life that feels better than the one we have, so we set goals to get us where we want to go. Our desire for a better life leads the way. And then it happens. Life gets in the way. Other people, events and situations seem to pop out of nowhere – challenging us, questioning us and leading us to doubt our best intentions. Before we know it, we can’t think straight or hear our own thoughts. We lose our desire. We may even forget we once had a goal we cared about.

For example: Perhaps you’ve tried to lose weight in the past. You set a goal to lose 10 pounds. Your goal makes you feel in control of your life and that makes you feel great. You exercise more, eat less and your jeans start feeling a little looser, until….you go to that wedding! Or, you get invited to a party. Or, your friends ask you to lunch, where low-fat, low-carb isn’t on the menu. Suddenly, there is very little space between you, your goal to lose weight and the outside world. And before you know it, the outside world dictates your next move and that leads you to eat the cake you’re desperately trying to stay away from.

What’s the solution? How can you stay on track, no matter what the outside world dishes out?

In the case of my daughter’s team, they’re learning to spread out. By putting more space between each other and the other team, they create an environment in which they can succeed. This one simple strategy gives them the space they need to think clearly, set up their play and take the shot.

You can create the space you need to succeed too, with these 5 tips.

1. Set GOALS that EXCITE you and then take action. Setting goals that excite you give you the energy boost and focus you need to see them through to the end. Don’t even think of taking action on a goal that feels ho-hum. When you find a goal that excites you, then, and only then, take action.

2. Every so often, PAUSE and get a view of what’s going on around you. Starting out GUNG HO is great, but don’t forget to pause every so often to regain your perspective. Pay attention to what’s going on in the world around you. By doing so, you’ll notice upcoming challenges that could derail your best intentions.

3. Re-CENTER yourself. Re-centering yourself requires a re-balancing of where you are in relationship to what’s happening in the world around you. Re-centering allows you to notice what’s happening, as an observer, before you become a participant in something that doesn’t serve your higher purpose.

4. CHOOSE your next best move. When you react to the world around you, you’ve thrown your ability to choose right out the window. By taking the steps above you’ll give yourself more time to think, plan and take action on the next best move you can take to keep yourself on track.

5. REPEAT 1-4, as needed. Have you heard the term “zig zag” your way to success? Said in a different way, the road to success is never a straight line. You will encounter obstacles along the way. But as they say in sports, the best defense is a great offense, so repeat steps 1-4 often.

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