Make 2020 the Year You Notice

December 27, 2019

Do you ever feel like the days are long but the years are short? Does is seem like someone pushed fast-forward and you forgot to pay attention to the things that really mattered? Do you feel constantly distracted and pulled in too many directions?

I want you to imagine a stress-free moment for yourself.  A moment of stillness and quiet. There’s nothing you need to do; you can simply be. What’s the first thing you do? Pull out your phone to distract yourself? 

Nearly everywhere you go, you can find something to look at to distract yourself from the life in front of you.  Screens that distract you from the emotions you’re avoiding and the people standing right in front of you. Instead of thinking for yourself or doing a little research to formulate a better opinion, you can read the words shared by someone else and tap a button to support.  Instead of cultivating gratitude for the life you have, you can open an app and easily find reasons your life is not good enough. This is just how it is, right? We’re all distracted now. This world we’ve created is filled with disconnection and we all have to deal with it. The only way to change anything is to put the phones down and free ourselves from technology. 

That, my friend, is an victim mintality. Distraction is a choice. 

It’s easier to think there’s nothing you could do to change the circumstances unfolding around you than it is to understand the power you have over your own life. It’s easier to believe life is happening to you and your choices have nothing to do with it. It’s easy to be so distracted by the things competing for your attention that you don’t realize you’re the one in control of your story.

Distraction is easy. Focus is difficult. 

I’ll be real with you – sitting down to write this blog is not easy. I genuinely enjoy sharing my work with you and (hopefully) inspiring you to create a better day, but the act of writing is not easy. It’s a creative process that requires focus. Shaping these words into a blog worth reading takes time and some gentle criticism. There are so many times during this process that I’d like to pick up my phone and scroll social or go to the kitchen and find something to snack on. Suddenly, as I’m stuck in a paragraph, I think of all the people I should contact to set up coffee and realize this would be a great time to do a deep clean of the kitchen or really study the next chapter of Dare to Lead then PRAISE JESUS I just got a text about my plans for the weekend… 

Creating is not comfortable. It’s difficult, but the result is worth it. After doing all this work, writing words and deleting them, after it’s all done the result is so very worth it. That’s what focus does – it moves the needle a little at a time until the finish line is one step away. The problem is when distractions become so powerful and seductive that they are perceived as legitimate reasons to give up. 

The new year, the new decade, is fast approaching. I guarantee that the new year will only produce more reasons to be distracted. Each year brings new reasons to push priorities farther down the to-do list and sink into the easy. The Birthday parties are coming, changes at work, assignments at school, graduation parties, new seasons, weddings, babies, loss, heartbreak, and moments of joy.. it will all happen in 2020 just like it did in 2019. The workweek will still be Monday – Friday and the school year is still going to operate like it did last year. 

You can’t act surprised. You cannot use life events as a reason to be distracted. YOU KNOW IT’S COMING. This is how time works. Welcome to life! Therefore – it’s time to plan for what you really want and start paying attention to the reasons you’re choosing distractions (believe it or not, you can plan for the painful surprises, too). You have to be so honest with yourself that you identify the habits that always derail you and prepare for them. When you pay attention, you can make changes. 

Be prepared for a radical transformation when you dig into the practice of paying attention. Master the ability to observe your thought patterns and you’ll be able to shift into any mindset you so choose. Learn to communicate effectively with yourself and the most important people in your life and you’ll begin to see your relationships grow or slowly fall away. Quit relying on your phone for immediate distraction and you’ll discover more time and greater overall well-being.  

This isn’t a blog about transforming your life or doing a complete overhaul of your habits. It’s simply a challenge to start paying attention. Distraction rooted in a desire to remain comfortable will turn into complacency, if you’re not careful. Instead of sitting down at a restaurant and staring at the television, google some silly questions to ask your meal-mate. Instead of watching Netflix all day, pull out a game from childhood and reminisce with a friend. Instead of getting into the exact same argument you always do with your partner, think about where you’re anger or fear is really coming from and lean into the vulnerability. Notice the little things so you can create big changes.

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