What are you doing today to create an environment to help you reach your goals?

“When a flower doesn’t bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” – Alexander Den Jeijer

My son Rock made me an unforgettable Christmas present this past year. Completely from scratch, he built a beautiful garden. This was no easy feat. He first had to clear out a space in the backyard that was heavily laden with years of old rotted wood, rocks, and tile.

He then dug to the depth of 1 foot down and supplemented the soil to make sure it was a rich environment for flowers and vegetables to thrive.

The final step in this arduous process was a trip to Home Depot to pick out what he wanted to plant. On one side, he planted an array of beautifully colored flowers. On the other side, he planted tomatoes and broccoli. He worked relentlessly and passionately; it truly was a labor of love.

The garden was growing beautifully until late January. In January he received a Christmas gift from me; the only thing he wanted that year; a puppy.  This puppy brought him the greatest joy and me the deepest angst.

Garden Destroyed

My heart sank one morning when I looked out the window and saw the new puppy gallivanting through the yard with flowers and soil in her mouth.  I ran outside only to confirm what I had feared: the picturesque flowers had all been dug up and trampled on.

The once beautiful garden was now trodden soil. Only two things remained standing; the broccoli and the rose bush. The puppy was only outside alone about 5 minutes; 5 minutes too long.

What are you doing to protect your environment?

The number 1 mistake I made, which I had full control over, was to not protect the environment of my garden.  This was 100% on me to do. I underestimated the capabilities of a 10-pound puppy and paid a high price for it; all the work, the seeding, the effort and the beauty of the garden was destroyed in a few short minutes.

Don’t be like me; don’t discount the power you have in protecting your environment.

“If we do not create and control our environment, our environment creates and controls us.” – Marshall Goldsmith

It’s Not About Willpower

Most people have it wrong when it comes to goal achieving. They believe that if they muster up more discipline, determination, and willpower they will increase their chances of attaining success.

Although discipline and determination are great qualities to have, willpower is limited and if you are depending on willpower alone to help you attain your goals, you are setting yourself up for failure. Willpower is a finite resource.

So what can you do to combat this dilemma? You can create an environment that will help you reach your goals. It’s not enough to create an environment to flourish; you must also learn how to protect your environment from the outside forces that can uproot your success.

How Can You Protect Your Environment?

An environment is defined as the circumstances, objects or conditions by which one is surrounded.

We will focus on 3 environments of your life that you can protect:

  • Your Mind
  • Your Home
  • Your Time

Principles to creating a thriving environment in these 3 areas of your life

1. The Garden of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have; what are you doing to enhance the environment of your mind? Are you a worrier, allowing negative thoughts to run rampant? What negative mindsets are you allowing to influence your thoughts?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, it’s time to take control over the one thing you can control; the garden of your mind.

Factor in Mindfulness: Learn How to Live in the Present

Mindfulness is a buzz word that has different meanings to distinctive people or groups. Some tie mindfulness to the ancient Buddhist principle of enlightenment. In a corporate context, mindfulness is described as a technique to improve performance. In psychotherapy, mindfulness is used to help people heal and experience less anxiety.

My favorite definition of mindfulness answers the question,

“What is your mind full of?”

If your mind full of defeating, worrisome, toxic thoughts, the solution for this is simple – learn to live in the present. This may seem difficult at first but don’t get discouraged. If you make this a daily habit, it becomes second nature and you automatically respond in the present with less anxiety and toxicity.

Think of exercising your mind in much the same way as you exercise your body.

Mindfulness Workout:

  • Take 2-3 minutes a few times a day to quiet your mind
  • Practice simple deep breathing exercises and visually focus on your breath
  • Connect to as many of your 5 senses as you can

Increase Your Awareness

  • During the day, take note of when your mind is starting to race
  • Be still and push the pause button in your mind
  • Practice tempo breathing
  • Bring your thoughts back to the present

Once you make mindfulness a daily habit and learn to live in the present, you start changing the neuroplasticity of your brain. It then becomes easier and easier to silence those racing thoughts and be more at peace.

2. The Garden of Your Home

What are you tolerating in your home environment? Do you have piles of clutter, leaky faucets, and disorganized chaos everywhere you look? Studies show that clutter is a significant source of stress in our lives. According to Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter,

“Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces and ourselves. Messy homes and workspaces leave us feeling anxious, and overwhelmed.”

Since you start and end your day at home, your home should be a sanctuary; a place of peace and comfort. Ideally, it should be a place where you get energy, have fun and relax.

So how do you create a home environment that is serene and energy giving instead of one that’s disorganized and causes you to be stressed and overwhelmed?

Stop Tolerating Things in Your Home

Tolerations are things you put up with that clutter your perception, distract you and drain your energy like a generator slowly losing its voltage.

What are the tolerations in your home costing you? Having tolerations negatively impact your life. They zap your energy and contribute to procrastination. When you stop tolerating things, you free up time and energy to devote to a higher quality of life.

Let’s look at some instrumental ways you can eliminate tolerations in your home. What in your home is causing you stress?

  • Take inventory of each room and make a list of the things that bother you.
  • Take a weekend and devote 1 day to rid yourself of the things that are draining your energy; it will be an investment of time well spent.
  • One by one get rid of each toleration on your list; even if it takes a few weekends.
  • Organize the things on your list into the following categories: things you keep, things you give away (recycle) and things you throw away.

After you have done this, it becomes so much easier to stay on top of things so they don’t become overwhelming again. Experts say that factoring in 15 minutes at the end of the day to pick up and organize helps keep clutter from regrowing.

“Where there’s clutter in your home there will be clutter in you either physically, mentally, or emotionally.” – Tisha Morris

Create Energy and Beauty

Once you’ve cleaned up the clutter, how can you make your home inviting? Experts recommend the following tips to make your home a sanctuary:

  • Create a place where you can relax
  • Allow natural light in
  • Purchase indoor plants to improve the air quality of your home
  • Choose to listen to music to either energize you or help you relax
  • Use scents that foster the energy you want: candles, essential oils, diffusers

Making your home a sanctuary and having a place to unwind and feel replenished will positively affect every area of your life.

3. The Garden of Your Time

A resource that is non-renewable; one that we never get back is time. How can you protect this valuable resource? The answer is simple; create reserves in your life.  A reserve is having more than what you need. Creating reserves in every area of your life takes you out of survival mode.

Creating Reserves

Learn how to master your time so it doesn’t master you. What are your time vampires? Are you bombarded by constant distractions all pulling for your time and attention?

Let’s look at two areas that you can build reserves in that will shave hours off of your week:

  • Controlling the demons of distractions
  • Learning how to not overcommit to people or things

Control Distractions

Research confirms heavy multitaskers, which in reality are task-switchers, are considered to be worse at sorting out relevant information from irrelevant details. Their cognitive processes are impaired. Brains are less effective and efficient. In addition to that, did you know that once you are distracted from a task, it takes an average of about 25 minutes for you to return to your original task? That’s a serious and staggering statistic.  Think about it,

How many 25 minute increments do you waste task-switching in a day, in a week, in a year?

We live in a world where there are weapons of mass distractions so what can you do to stop derailing your mental processes and take back control of your time?

  • Devote your attention to only one task for blocks of time without switching tasks
  • Utilize the Pomodoro Technique to keep track of your time
  • Don’t be a slave to your inbox. Schedule specific times in your day to answer your emails
  • Factor in micro breaks into your workday to practice mindfulness

Understanding and taking control of your distractions will not only free up precious time; it will also give you more of a sense of accomplishment, reduce your stress levels, and increase your confidence.

Stop Overcommitting to Things

Most people live in survival mode and are impacted and shaped by their surroundings rather than intentionally creating an optimal, flourishing, environment. If you want to free up more time in your day, get into a zone and be more productive, you must be ultra-selective to what you commit to doing.

Many people think they have a time problem; believing that there are never enough hours in their day. The truth is often they have an over commitment problem; they don’t know how to say no.

You must ask yourself the question, are you in charge of your time or are you continually distracted and bombarded by the agenda of others? Once again, press the pause button and ask yourself

  • Why am I committing to this?
  • Is this going to take me away from my family or cost me valuable time I don’t have?
  • Is committing to this going to add stress to my life?

Successful and highly productive people manage their calendars and know how to say no to people and things.

Finding Flow

Most people live in a reactive state. They are governed by an environment they allow to control them.  When you commit to taking back your own power, you increase your energy reserves and are in charge of your personal decisions and actions.  This creates the much sought after flow state we all desire to have in our lives.

When you learn how to protect your environment and eliminate the things that aren’t helping you achieve your goals, everything in life gets easier.

You will become more productive

You will experience less stress

You will feel more confident in all your endeavors

 

 

Digging Deeper: Are You Ready to Find Clarity and Focus?

Take Transform University’s Life Clarity Assessment to discover your unique blueprint for change so you can embrace courage and walk confidently into a life of greater purpose, meaning, and fulfillment.

Rita Hudgens
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Rita Hudgens

Leadership and Personal Development Coach at Transform University
Rita is a Performance Improvement Coach. Her mission is simple; she helps entrepreneurs, achievers, and leaders make positive changes in their behavior. She empowers her clients so they are more in control of their present which in turn gives them a greater sense of self-confidence. She creates a safe environment for them and builds on their values, passions and strengths so that they can achieve their personal and professional goals.

Rita helps her clients:
• Embrace their true potential
• Change their limiting beliefs/thoughts
• Create Purpose
• Live Empowered, Confident, and Successful Lives
Rita Hudgens
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