2011 Goal Series – The Mind

By Scott Westerman
“Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit.” – B.K.S. Iyengar

THE ESSENCE: We become what we think about.

Our very existence is predicated on balance. Each of us require just the right mixture of oxygen, fuel, mental stimulation and spiritual energy to function effectively. If one foundation is out of balance the rest of the structure is at risk.

So when we think about the objectives we set for ourselves, it’s important to address each of the three concentric circles that nurture our being: The Mind, The Body and the Spirit.

For this exercise, we’ll define the mind as our objective intellect. It’s the computer we program with thoughts and behaviors that directly impact everything from our health to our happiness, from our relationships to our career progression. Every stimulus, what we hear, what we see, what happens to us, and who we interact with influences the mind, ultimately guiding us toward productive, or unproductive outcomes.

So prioritizing activities that enrich and expand your mind are an important part of the goal setting process. Here are a few thought-starters for 2011.

Do an intellectual inventory – Where do your strengths lie? Are you most comfortable in the verbal realm? Do you write well? Are you more analytical or more creative? Understanding your gifts and opportunities can help you

Continue to expand your knowledge in your areas of passion – This is the easy one. We love playing in our favorite sandbox. But sometimes the day-to-day keeps us from adding to our toolbox. Systematically devour books, seminars, classes and conferences in your area of expertise.

Focus on improving the things you don’t currently do well – I had a horrible geometry teacher in high school who torpedoed my interest in building my numeric skill set. It wasn’t until I started flying that I discovered the joys hidden among the radii and vectors that pointed my airplane in the right direction. Which part of your brain gets the least attention? How can you take small steps this year to exercise it?

Avoid negative stimuli – Getting to where we want to be is tough enough without distractions. So try to filter what you let into your brain. Much of what Hollywood sells us today contains graphic violence and darkness. There’s enough of that in the real world so stay away from it on the screen. Seek books, web content and programming that gives you energy avoid the stuff that depletes it. The same goes for your relationships. Spend more time with people who can teach and inspire you and de-empahsize unproductive relationships.

Think positive – This chestnut has been around so long that it has become a cliche. But it’s still worthwhile. A few of us are naturally wired for this, but most of us have to work at it. Begin with the assumption that there are positive solutions to every problem. Seek the rainbow behind every cloud. For some, this may be harder to do because our experience or our brain chemistry gets in the way. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge depression and get help.

Forgive yourself for your mistakes – We’re all human and that means we’re certain to screw up. The greatest discoveries are all built on a mountain of failure. And even the most self actualized individuals will inadvertently hurt someone else’s feelings. Resolve to use each mistake as the learning experience it’s meant to be.

Finally, as you look ahead to the New Year, ponder this wonderful, anonymous quotation:

“Whatever you hold in your mind will tend to occur in your life. If you continue to believe as you have always believed, you will continue to act as you have always acted. If you continue to act as you have always acted, you will continue to get what you have always gotten. If you want different results in your life or your work, all you have to do is change your mind.”