Typically everything in moderation is my motto and practice, but unfortunately not when it comes to paying attention. Too often, my left-brained nature takes over and details overwhelm. I end up paying attention to way too much and miss what’s important. Later, I cannot remember or regret what was missed while multitasking. And the holiday season builds this multitasking to unhealthy levels.
Paying attention and minimizing multitasking matters-a lot. A misspelled name, a deadline missed, a deviation from directions all seem innocent but can have lasting impact. One missed letter while spelling a name means the difference in someone’s identity; a missed deadline means not taking advantage of an opportunity, and missed directions with medication can impact its effectiveness. Simple examples from my week highlight how paying attention matters.
As we continue our #HolidayWellnessHabits series, let’s not lose sight of the importance of our Attention, especially to details in our holiday wellness habits. We’ve reviewed Habits and Hope, Obedience to Overcome procrastination, assessed our Loves and Lapses, Inserted the Intelligence of God and Decided to be Diligent. Now, it’s time to pay Attention-especially to details that matter for us and our loved ones.
As I educate and encourage on memory wellness, a recurring theme repeatedly flies back like a boomerang. Pay attention. We cannot learn or remember anything well if we don’t pay attention in the first place.
Applying this to our #HolidayWellnessHabits is a no-brainer. If we want to really create and/or change our habits, we must pay attention to what we’re doing AND not doing, not only for ourselves but also those around us. Our choices create ripple effects.
If we want to create a holiday habit of eating healthier and not gain excess holiday pounds, we must pay attention to our eating and exercise habits. If we want to spend more meaningful time with loved ones, we must pay attention to what interrupts or pulls our attention away.
In today’s world, our attention span has shrunk to mere seconds. It’s difficult in this fast paced world to focus on any one thing for too long. But creating and enforcing new holiday habits means we need to fight this daily. The impact can be powerful.
Think of the joy given to an elderly friend or loved one by spending uninterrupted time with them. Think of the memories created with our children by celebrating the season through their eyes. Think of the love shared by giving a thoughtful gift because we paid attention to what mattered.
Let’s pay attention to the details of what matters this holiday season. Not so much the details the world tells us are important, but what God tells us is important.
The apostle Paul reminds us of this in his letter to the Philippians 4:8
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
As a continually recovering multitasker, here’s what keeps me (mostly) on track when trying to pay attention and fix my thoughts as directed in the verse (bonus-these strategies can apply to most anything in life):
- Identify the Important. This continually varies, but let’s identify what’s important daily for our overall wellness in soul, mind and body. This is even more meaningful when we encourage the same in family and friends.
- Prioritize Needs First, Wants Second. I need healthy protein and carbs; I want dark chocolate. I need to exercise my mind and body; I want sit on the couch. When we prioritize needs first, wants diminish by solely focusing our attention on what’s needed and how to make it a reality.
- Focus on One Thing at a Time. Take that first priority and focus only on that until it’s completed or something more urgent beckons. It’s scientifically proven, unitasking allows us to complete tasks more efficiently and effectively.
- Finish the First Thing. Complete one thing, or if that isn’t possible, work to a good stopping point- a set goal, a natural break in the sequence etc.
- Repeat. When finished with the first, move onto the next prioritized need. Feel free to sprinkle in a healthy identified want occasionally to create some enjoyment and balance along the way!
The holiday season and all its distractions try to deflect our thoughts off of our Savior and onto the things of this world.
Let’s not allow this to happen.
Instead, let’s fix our thoughts on what’s excellent, pay attention to details that matter and create holiday habits that reflect these choices. Let’s create meaningful ripples not only this season but for years to come by cultivating our #HolidayWellnessHabit of paying attention!