Nov 082021
 

by Linda-Ann Stewart

"Your ability to focus is the most important success skill you can ever develop." Brian Tracy

“Your ability to focus is the most important success skill you can ever develop.” Brian Tracy

In today’s world, it’s hard to stay focused. It seems that every minute, there’s something to divert your attention. You probably check your email several times a day. Every time there’s a notification from your phone, you have to see what it is. That’s in addition to interruptions from co-workers, family and friends. After a distraction, studies show it takes at least fifteen to twenty minutes to get focused again.

Also, your mind can focus on only one thing at a time. Each time you shift your attention from one thing to another, you’re “task switching” and it burns up extra mental energy. When the entire day is filled with these intrusions, you end the day feeling drained and exhausted, with very little to show for it.

Benefits of Focus

However, when you’re more focused, you feel more in charge of your world, get in the flow and get more done. You also have less stress and overwhelm, because your mind has one thing to do at a time. In addition, you have more clarity, so you make better decisions, as well as being more efficient, effective, and productive.  

Therefore, to achieve your goals and dreams, your ability to focus is vital. Fortunately, it’s a skill that you can cultivate and develop. The more you focus, the more you’re able to focus. It’s just like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes.

How to Create the Habit of Focus

You can’t be focused all the time, because the unexpected does happen on occasion. But you can set aside time each day to pay attention to your most important tasks. Schedule time into your day to focus on important projects. Here are some ways you can get started and cultivate your ability to focus.

Motivate yourself to focus. Decide how having increased focus benefits you, and remind yourself of that incentive when you set aside time for it. As you build your motivation, and act on it, focusing becomes a habit. Jim Rohn said, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Once you establish the habit of focusing, your mind will automatically know what to do when you want to do it.

Use visualization. Choose one task that will move you towards your vision or goal. What is it you want to focus on and achieve in this period? Before you get to work on it, take a couple of minutes to visualize yourself performing your task and accomplishing what you want. This increases your motivation, and primes your subconscious to start solving any issues you might encounter. You’re rehearsing your actions, which then makes them easier to execute.

Eliminate distractions. Find a way to minimize the effects of whatever can intrude on your focus time. For instance, research shows that if your phone is in the same room as you’re in, your mind is always tuned to it. Even turning your phone off doesn’t work. Therefore, put your phone in another room, where you can’t see it or hear it. Turn off your email. Close your door.

Minimize multi-tasking. Constant multi-tasking trains your mind to hinder your focus. However, you don’t have to completely avoid multi-tasking. When you’re performing automatic behaviors, such as doing dishes, watching television doesn’t drain you. Or you can pay bills and listen to a podcast. But when you do activities that need you to think, multi-tasking uses up mental bandwidth and exhausts your energy. Your mind is always seeking something new, and when you multi-task, you jump from one attention getting novelty to another. Multi-tasking triggers the reward centers of the brain, therefore gives you an incentive to repeat the process, which makes multi-tasking addictive.

Strengthen your focus muscle. Set aside time to focus on one task without distractions. Start off with as much time as you can before you need a break. You may need to begin with only ten or fifteen minutes. Each week, increase the time. Aim to have a sixty to ninety-minute stretch of focusing on one topic or chore before you take a break. When you take your break, do something that rests your mind for several minutes, such as going for a walk, getting a drink, or something to eat. This gives your mind time to replenish its energy and get ready for your next work period.

Being able to focus is an inherent talent that we all have. But it’s not an skill that is exercised much, so most people have gotten out of practice with it. With the above tactics, you can cultivate your natural ability, strengthen it, and develop it into a habit that will support your success.

Affirmation:
I have a natural ability to focus and pay attention to what’s important to me. It’s a skill that I can develop and grow through practice. The Universe flows Its energy through my focus, supporting my endeavors and smoothing my path to maximize success.

Watch the accompanying video, Guided Meditation to Focus and Accomplish More.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. To achieve a 90-day goal more easily, sign up for her FREE comprehensive Strategic Vision blueprint at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/setyourcourse.html. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.
Nov 012021
 

Reduce Stress and Improve Your Life With Positive Self Talk

Self-talk is the way your inner voice makes sense of the world around you and the way you communicate with your inner self. Self-talk influences your experience of stress, positively or negatively. You can stop yourself from using negative self-talk and use your mind to boost your productivity and self-esteem and relieve stress. Use these 7 ways to take charge and change your negative self-talk to something more constructive.

Most Productive People: 6 Things They Do Every Day

This article is based on six tips from Tim Ferriss, author of the international bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek. It describes the science behind why the tips work, and insight from the most productive people around. And much of it has to do with being calmer, more focused and happier.

17 Ways You Can Develop New Habits and Improve Your Life

Trying new things makes you healthier, happier, and more creative. It also builds new neural pathways in your brain. It’s possible to adapt to new ideas and habits if you’re open to the possibilities and willing to try new activities.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Sparks of Insight

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Aug 262021
 
Sparks of Insight

Whenever you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, practice being in the now. Don’t worry about the future, just deal with the one thing you have to do in this minute. Studies show that people who practice mindfulness have more mental, physical and emotional resources. When your mind is constantly darting around, trying to solve problems while you’re working on a project, it’s exhausting and counter-productive. Being in the moment can give your busy mind a rest and allow you to focus all your energies on what you have to do right now. When you’re done with that, you can go on to the next thing. Studies show that this can also improve your mood, memory and well-being.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

How to Approach Change

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Aug 182021
 

Most people don’t like change. It triggers our fight-or-flight response and we resist it. This prevents us from being able to move forward or make good decisions. There’s one way you can shift from being a victim into taking control. This opens the door to new opportunities for you.

Transcript:

Most people don’t like to have change thrust on them. Change triggers our fight or flight response, because we feel like we’re going to lose something we value by moving forward. And sometimes, that’s true. And sometimes, that thing we value isn’t working for as well as it could.

When we’re in fight or flight, we resist the change, trying to keep our old, familiar ways. All of this prevents us from thinking clearly, and making good decisions that are for our benefit.

I’m Linda-Ann Stewart, a vision strategist coach. In over 30 years as a hypnotherapist, I’ve helped scores of people embrace change. I’d like to suggest a way to help you get out of the fight or flight response, become proactive and respond better to change. In other words, a better way to approach change.

Look for any positives that could come from the change. This may seem too simplistic or airy-fairy, but it’s effective. When you shift your attitude and reframe how you approach a situation, the outcome of the situation changes. You open doors for your subconscious mind to seek out, and find, opportunities for you. It may be a cliché, but look for the silver lining.

By adjusting your attitude to accepting the change and looking for advantages, you stop being a victim or feeling helpless. Instead of being in a boat being tossed about by the waves, you’ve set your sails to use the winds of change. Once you’ve taken control of your attitude, you can then make wise decisions and take positive action.

If this has been helpful, please like this video and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more tips to reach your goals and improve your life.

Thank you for watching. What positive can you find in the change you are  dealing with?

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

If you’d like to achieve your goals with confidence and ease in 4 powerful steps, register for a FREE training video and accompanying action planning guide, Set Your Course to Success.

Trending Articles of the Week

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Aug 092021
 

Be kind to yourself: How self-compassion can improve your resiliency

Self-compassion means accepting yourself as the imperfect person that you are. It means being kinder to yourself and, as a result, being kinder and more compassionate toward others. Learn 3 key concepts to promote self-compassion and follow the instructions on how to practice a loving kindness meditation.

The Voice Inside Your Head Is Playing with You

With every situation you encounter, you interpret it through your beliefs. Often, an inner  negative voice tears you down and sabotages your efforts. However, you can learn to replace that pessimistic self-talk with  more upbeat thoughts. Use these 4 steps to recognize and counter the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

What Is Optimism?

Optimists are those who expect good things to happen, where pessimists instead predict unfavorable outcomes. Optimistic attitudes are linked to a number of benefits. There are things you can do to cultivate an optimistic attitude. Even if you’re a pessimist, you can change the way you think about situations and learn how to become an optimist.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

How to Cope with the Inevitability of Change

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Aug 052021
 
Zigzag change

by Linda-Ann Stewart

The world is changing all the time. Sometimes, it sedately plods along, but other times, change explodes and disrupts the status quo in a major way. When this happens, it’s normal to resist change, especially because it’s imposed on you.

Whether your choice or not, change is threatening and scary. Nothing will ever be exactly the same as it was. You don’t know what you may lose, and no one likes to leave their comfort zone or feel out of control. But there are times when massive change happens whether you like it or not.

How Change Affects You

For instance, a deadly pandemic creates a major upheaval in everyone’s life. As a result, you could have to find another job, or you need to move to a new location, or a loved one may become chronically ill. Unwelcome and unexpected change brings uncertainty, which leads to stress and ultimately to anxiety.  

The Universe often nudges you out of your comfort zone with unwelcome conditions. If you don’t take the hint, it pushes more forcefully. The Universe wants you to keep expanding and evolving, and you can’t do that by staying in your old habits. You’ll have to let go of what no longer serves you to flow with the Universe and adjust to the new situation.

When change is sudden and affects your personal life, your normal response is to go into shock. Shock gives you time to process the reality of what’s happened. When you begin to emerge from the numbness, you may get anxious because you don’t know what to do. Or you do know what to do, and it’s overwhelming.

How to Handle the Uncertainty

When you find ways to handle the uncertainty, you feel more in control. Here are four steps you can do to take charge of your life.

1. Accept the change. The more you resist or deny the change, the less energy, resourcefulness or time you have to adjust to it. If you can’t accept the change yet, acknowledge that it has affected you. This is your first step to coping with it and moving forward.

2. Grieve the loss. For every change, something has to be left behind. There can also be opportunities, but often they come later in the process. At this point, if you have a sense of loss of what you valued, allow yourself the space to mourn. Only after grieving can you seek how to extract some good from the situation.   

3. Deal with the anxiety. What can you do in the moment to reduce your anxiety? Maybe it’s to learn a new skill, do some research, or go to a caregiving support group. Or maybe all you can do in the moment is take some deep breaths to ground yourself.

4. Make a plan. No matter how small the steps might be, or even one tiny step, make a plan. This will bring you a sense of control, lower your stress, and allow you to think more clearly. When you take one step, figure out what the next two might be, and take them. Keep doing this until you build up momentum.

When you become proactive, you take charge and begin to adjust to the change that’s affecting your life. As you chart your course through the troubled waters, you can find a way to survive and thrive with the changes that have happened.

Affirmation:

I acknowledge that change has altered the course of my life. The Universe will guide me in my direction and give me definite insight into what to do next. I take the actions I know to take, and the next step now appears. Everything is in Divine Order and works out in my best interests.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. To achieve a 90-day goal more easily, sign up for her FREE comprehensive Strategic Vision blueprint at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/setyourcourse.html. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.

Book Review: Bex Beltran’s Journals

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Aug 042021
 

Bex Beltran’s Journals

I love journals that you write in. Research has shown that writing by hand is more effective than typewriting or using a keyboard. Using a pen or pencil engages the mind more, allows more inner communication, processes information better and remembers the material better.

Bex Beltran has created a line of journals to cover all sorts of issues, from intuition to lists, manifestation to a crystal journal. Some are for business and business development, like the networking followup, client record, or social media content creator. And others are for personal use, like one for goal setting, reviewing accomplishments, or self-care for a highly sensitive person.

I especially love that some have questions to inspire you, for insight or help you overcome blocks. In a way, some could also be called workbooks. At this writing, there are almost ninety of them, and she continues to add more. I’m sure there’s one that you’ll find valuable. I’ve linked to the page that lists them, so you can browse through these amazing, inexpensive journals.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

3 Steps to Being More Focused and Effective

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Jun 112021
 

It’s all too easy to get distracted or not pay attention to what you’re doing. When you do, you make mistakes and miss details that you need. Learning how to be more focused is important if you want to achieve your goals. Learn 3 simple steps to being more mindful that will improve your productivity and your life.

Transcript:

I’m Linda-Ann Stewart, a vision strategist coach for small business and entrepreneurs, and would like to share a tip on how you can become more focused, mindful and get more out of your life.

Last week, I was cooking a chicken dish that had an accompanying sauce. I minced some garlic for the chicken, and then another couple of large cloves for the sauce. I got distracted while I was cooking, and accidentally threw the garlic for the sauce in with the chicken, in addition to what was already there. Wow, was that a lot of garlic! It was almost overpowering. I thought I’d ruined the dish.

Have you ever been thinking of something else, and then made a mistake, like I did? Or been distracted when you’re talking with a friend or colleague and miss something important they said? This comes from your attention being diverted elsewhere and not being aware of what’s going on in the present.

In our fast-paced world, it’s hard to pay attention to what’s going on in the moment. But being able to focus on what you’re doing, or listening fully,  will mean that you are more efficient, more effective and will have better relationships, both personally and professionally.

There’s a simple way to bring your attention to the present, and stay mindful about what’s going on.

Your mindset tip has 3 steps to it:

  1. Become aware of what you’re doing, such as having a conversation or preparing a meal.
  2. Take a long, slow deep breath to slow your mind down and get focused on your priority.
  3. Decide what your intention is, and then act. It may be taking an action, or it may be listening fully.

This shifts your energy from being scattered and distracted to being focused and intentional. If I’d just followed my own advice last week, I wouldn’t have had a meal that I came close to ruining. As you practice these steps, notice how much more you accomplish and how much better you feel.

To achieve your goals with confidence and ease in 4 powerful steps, watch my FREE training video, Set Your Course to Success. Register for the video and accompanying action planning guide at www.SetYourCourseGuide.com.

Thank you for watching. Remember, become aware, breathe, and then act. Take care.

Read the accompanying article, How to Take Back Control When Stress Overwhelms You.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

How to Take Back Control When Stress Overwhelms You

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Jun 032021
 

by Linda-Ann Stewart

Stress and Overwhelm

Life can sometimes unexpectedly speed up and come at you fast. Suddenly, you have a cluster of challenging events to deal with. It could be a major health issue with the upheaval of all the medical appointments to schedule around. Or it could be several expensive home repairs at an inconvenient time (is there ever a convenient time for expensive repairs?). Or you may be trying to juggle extra work with family demands.

Any kind of turmoil like this can cause stress and feelings of overwhelm. You feel like life has spun out of control and you have no stability. Your mind narrows its focus and you start reacting from old habits that may not be helpful in the present situation. This also creates static with your connection to the Universe. It makes it harder to access your intuition and Divine Guidance. With your attention focused on immediate concerns, you can’t notice potential solutions.

Take Back Control

While it’s important to have your vision in mind, in times of overwhelm, your vision can be beyond your ability to consider. You have to find some equilibrium first. To get back into balance, there are some things to do, and not do.

Don’t multi-task. This just makes the situation worse. When you multi-task, you’re quickly switching your attention from one task to another, and that increases the stress hormones. You may feel like you’re being productive, but you don’t accomplish much, which just increases your feelings of frustration.

Slow down. Give yourself time to think and assess the situation. Ask yourself, “What are my options?” This allows you to stop reacting and being impulsive, and instead encourages you to make better choices and decisions. 

Focus on one thing at a time. You’ll be able to reclaim a sense of control. Wash the dishes. Do the laundry. Make that call you’ve been procrastinating. Once you’ve done one task, move on to the next. Stay mindful about what you want to accomplish and take it one tiny step at a time.

It’s all about being mindful, and creating an island of calm in the present, while re-establishing your connection to the Universe. Once you’ve taken charge and lowered your stress level, your mind can think more clearly. You won’t feel as pressured and can open your mind to handle a bit more. By re-establishing a sense of stability, you’ll have more resources at your disposal and be able to expand your horizons once again.

Affirmation:

I’m always connected with the Universe, and being guided and directed. When life gets hectic, I quiet my mind, slow down and assess what my best option might be. I focus on my next step, allowing my mind to become organized and clear. Peace and serenity flow through me and all things work out in the best way possible for my highest good.

Watch the accompanying video, 3 Steps to Being More Focused and Effective.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. To achieve a 90-day goal more easily, sign up for her FREE comprehensive Strategic Vision blueprint at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/setyourcourse.html. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.

How You Improve Your Life by Being Mindful

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May 072021
 

by Linda-Ann Stewart

Mindfully smelling a flower

Several years ago, I’d arranged to meet a friend for lunch. She visited our area infrequently on business, and when she did, we tried to get together to catch up. The week she was in the area, I had a full schedule of clients. But I’d set aside over an hour to spend with her and looked forward to our conversation.

Shortly after she arrived, she got a call on her cell phone from another friend. Instead of telling the person she’d call them back, she chatted with them for most of the hour. She ended the call shortly before I had to get back to my office. Once she realized that she’d wasted our time together, she was contrite. Disappointed that I had to leave, she tried to convince me to stay. I couldn’t reschedule my clients on such short notice, and had to leave.

Instead of being in the present, she’d automatically answered the phone, and remained on the call without considering the consequences. Have you ever done that, or had it done to you? How often are you absent in the moment, simply reacting or taking an action without thinking it through?

Mindfulness vs. Habits

It’s been estimated that 95% of the time we act out of habit, like my friend did. Her phone rang; she answered it on autopilot, and stayed on the call. Instead of being mindful, she was mindless in that moment. Habits are useful. They can help our minds problem solve and assess information. But they’re not helpful when they take over your decision making process.

Situations like this crop up all the time. Instead of working on your project, you answer each call, text or email as it comes in. The notification triggers you to deal with the immediate distraction, rather than staying focused on your task, which is more important. Or you accept that piece of cake you’re offered without considering your diet. Paying attention to what you’re doing, and want to be doing, helps you accomplish more of your priorities.

Benefits of Mindfulness

You can’t be mindful all the time. Letting your mind wander occasionally opens you to creativity and innovation. But to fulfill your potential, there needs to be a balance between dreaming and being consciously aware of what you’re doing and thinking.

Choosing to be more mentally present in your life has numerous benefits. Your relationships improve, you make fewer mistakes, are less stressed, make better decisions, have more constructive habits, improved communication, reach goals more quickly, and are more efficient, effective and productive.

Practice Being Present

To use mindfulness to improve your life, practice the following steps:

  1. Be in the present. Let go of the past, and ignore the future for a while. You can address the future a bit later. For the moment, pay attention to what’s going on right now. Who are you with, and what are they saying? What do you need to be doing? This will allow you to be more effective in your life.
  2. Accept what is. We all have expectations of how we want life to be. But that attitude is counter-productive. Instead of resisting reality, wanting a situation to be different and resenting that it’s not that way, accept the facts. Only then can you begin to rationally deal with the situation and find a better outcome.
  3. Respond intentionally. It’s natural to want to react when you’re stressed and lash out when you’re upset. But it will only cause more harm. Don’t let stress trigger you into going on autopilot or let anger control you. When you’re distressed, be aware of your thoughts and feelings about what’s going on. Whether you’re stressed or angry, when you have to choose a course of action, consider your options and and decide the best way to respond.
  4. Focus on your steps. It’s important to plan for the future, but also important to focus on the current steps you need to take to get there. Keep in mind why your goal is important to you. But instead of being overwhelmed by how far you have to go to achieve your goal, just work on the next step.

You can only impact this moment. The past is over, and the future is yet to be. When you are mindful about the present, then you’re making wise decisions and taking actions that will bring you a much better today and tomorrow.

Affirmation:

I practice being present in my life. The Universe guides and directs my attention and actions. When I accept the reality of the moment, I can decide how to handle it for my Highest Good. I choose my responses wisely, by consciously considering my options and taking action on the one that is best for the situation. Each moment builds on the one before, and by being mindful, I create a wonderful future.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. To achieve a 90-day goal more easily, sign up for her FREE comprehensive Strategic Vision blueprint at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/setyourcourse.html. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.