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Lifestyle

How You Can Improve Anything If You Focus on It

Most individuals can easily think of something they feel like they could improve on or a part of their life that they’re not satisfied with. To change your circumstances, improve your performance, or achieve your goals, you need to focus on that area of your life. Additionally, it takes extended focus and effort to see measurable improvement in that particular area of your lie. Sometimes, you have to start small, but with a sustained effort, you can achieve your goals.

focus Focus and Weight Loss


An Australian woman named Karen Gatt made headlines when she lost half of her body weight—dropping from 140 kg to 70kg—through patience, persistence, and the simple tactic of pushing to improve.

When she started her weight loss journey, she did not have the confidence to go to the gym or even to walk in public, so she began walking around the clothesline in her garden. She started with five minutes and added a minute a day until she reached 30 minutes.

Once she lost enough weight to feel more confident, she started doing more traditional workouts, until she successfully lost half her body weight. Gatt is a great example of how starting small can achieve great results if you are patient and diligent. 1

Some individuals don’t succeed in their weight loss attempts because they are too hard on themselves. If they were dieting and over-indulged at one meal, they allow that one cheat to turn into a cheat day, and undo their previous efforts. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Those who stop treating weight loss as “the pursuit of perfection,” and simply try to make consistently good choices will have more success in the long term. Eating a chocolate bar is not a failure if you take that chocolate bar as a part of your whole day or week's worth of healthy food choices. Take the morality out of your diet and lifestyle choices, and focus on the big picture instead.

Focus and Sports focus


You may have heard about the 10,000-hour rule, which was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his 2008 book, Outliers . The rule of thumb is that if you put 10,000 hours into practicing something, then you will master it.

Additionally, there are studies that show how deliberate practice for sustained periods of time can help to achieve elite performance in a given activity. 2 While the rule has since been called into question, and even Gladwell himself admits that natural ability plays a role as well, this idea still has value in terms of its instructions about focus and perseverance. 3

To become good at a sport, a person needs to practice it consistently. To want to do that, the sport needs to be fun. Studies show that in the field of youth sports, the secret to keeping participation levels high is to ensure that the activity is fun. 4 If a sport is fun, and a person engages in it regularly, it becomes possible for them to succeed.

Take the example of Barbara Katter, a 30-year-old bank manager who became a world champion martial artist. Katter has a successful career as a business manager, but still focused on Brazilian jiu-jitsu as well, training several times a day, six days a week.

Because she trained so much and spent her time in training focusing on competition and the skills required to perform well, she managed to reach the level of an international competitor, despite being older than the average competitor in the sport. 5

However, it’s important to remember that when you start a sport, if you aim to be as good as a top class competitor, then you will lose motivation quickly because that goal feels out of reach. Instead, if you think about whether you of today would beat you from a month ago, it becomes easier to stay motivated.

With some sports, such as running and weightlifting, looking at personal bests is an easy thing to do to stay motivated. With less objectively measured sports, such as dancing or martial arts, it is harder to track performance, but videotaping your training can be useful.

focus Focus and Cognitive Health


As individuals get older, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it's harder to learn. This isn't necessarily the case, however. The old idea that the brain is fixed after a certain age may actually be incorrect.

In fact, Dr. Norman Doidge, a psychiatrist and researcher, wrote a book called The Brain That Changes Itself which explores the idea of neuroplasticity, and has some incredible examples of adult stroke victims that re-learned basic skills, and even individuals with neurological conditions who manage to overcome those issues and learn how to walk again.

The brain is more adaptable than individuals give it credit for, and with focus and repetition, it can achieve incredible feats. 6

Focus and Improving Relationships focus


Are you getting the most that you can out of your relationships? If not, what is it that you feel could be improved? All too often, people think that they would be happier in their relationships if their partner changed. This is not necessarily the best approach. After all, you cannot control what someone else does, but you can change how you act and how you feel.

Researchers at the University of Auckland found that relationships can be complex interactions. Furthermore, the researchers found that individuals were happier, and reported better relationship quality if they felt that their partners were engaging in self-regulation. 7

Focusing on improving yourself is useful, and it is one of the only things that anyone really does have control over. Getting your partner to work on improving themselves is important too. And with this mutual improvement, it’s possible to improve the relationship overall.

Conclusion


Self-improvement is something that anyone can achieve through focus. And though there is a range of different strategies proposed for self-improvement, the overarching idea is always roughly the same. Think about what you want to change, how you could best get there, and break it down into manageable steps. Find ways to keep yourself focused on the long-term goal without losing motivation because the goal is too far out of reach.

Photo Credits: VGstockstudio/shutterstock.com, BlurryMe/shutterstock.com, AlejandroJ.deParga/shutterstock.com, Bobex-73/shutterstock.com

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