January 04, 2011
"Whatever We Pay Attention To Is What Will Grow"
The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
The title of this column, “whatever we pay attention to is what will grow,” is something that I have written about before, but I thought it would be helpful to discuss it again in light of something that many of us are doing this time of year--making New Year’s resolutions. Thinking about what we want to pay more attention to in our lives is a great way to approach making a resolution for positive change. Ideally a resolution is simply our commitment to pay more attention to some important aspect of our life.
At any given time we each have areas of our life with which we are more or less satisfied. The chances are pretty good that the areas where we experience high satisfaction are the areas where we have been focussing our attention. The opposite of this is also true. If we are less satisfied with some area of our life, whether it be our work, a relationship, our weight, our diet, our finances, our spiritual life, it is most likely because we have not been focussing our attention on that area. This can easily become a self-fulfilling cycle because we tend to like to focus our attention on the areas of our lives that are going well, and we tend to not want to focus much attention on the areas with which we are less satisfied. A person who hasn’t exercised in years will find it hard to pay more attention to that area of their life. A couple that hasn’t communicated well for a long time, will find it hard to pay attention to that area of their life. A person who neglects keeping a budget and making good financial decisions will strongly resist paying attention to that area of their life. We are all capable of minimizing and denying those areas of our lives that are not going so well.
We have a self-assessment tool that we use in our Living Compass program. After a person completes that self-assessment it will given them a good snapshot of the areas of their life that they have been paying attention to, and the areas to which they might want to pay more attention. If you would like to take the free assessment, you can do so any time at our website www.LivingCompass.org. Simply click on the tab at the tab that says, “Complete The Living Compass Assessment.” This is a great tool to assist you focussing any resolutions you might want to make for yourself.
What area of wellness in your life do you want to pay more attention to this year? Is it your physical wellness? Your spiritual wellness? Your emotional or relational wellness? Or maybe your financial wellness? Choose an area and simply begin by observing your current habits and behaviors in this area of your life. My resolutions (so far) for this year are to pay more attention to my work/life balance, the amount of exercise I get, and to my organizational skills (if you could see my desk right now, you’d understand the latter). I haven’t yet made any decisions regarding any specific changes in these areas. Those may follow. For now I am choosing to be more mindful about these three ares of my life and confident that this in itself will naturally lead to positive changes.
The biggest reason for failure to keep New Year’s resolutions is that people usually try to make changes that either too big or too fast. I invite you to try a different approach this year. Begin with awareness and self-reflection. Begin by paying more attention, and in time you will notice that whatever you pay attention to is what will grow.