If You Absolutely Had To Find A Way, Right Now, To Increase Your Attention Span, Would You Have A Clue How To Begin?

If you are like everyone else, your attention span has gotten shorter over the years. Some writers say it has shrunk to that of a goldfish. I don’t know if that is true. And I don’t really care. I'm not going to worry about what has been. I’m more interested in what to do now that we see it as a problem.

What matters most is being able to focus when we need to. That is a skill we can master.

To begin, the human attention span is like a muscle. And like a muscle, if you don’t use it, you lose it. But, on the other hand, if it is like a muscle, you can exercise it and strengthen it to the point where you can amaze people…even yourself.

The Two Actions You Can Take To Increase Your Attention Span

To better our attention span, two actions must be taken: 1)  Changing our present mindset and 2) Getting out of our comfort zone.

I know, I know, not the easiest two actions to take. But they are necessary. While they are not easy to do, they are simple to deal with.

There is a difference between simple and easy. For instance, something can be simple but take a lot of time and effort. In other words, it is not complicated and at the same time, not easy.

While something might be simple, you still must apply yourself over and over, with repetition. Or you will not get the results.

Repetition is the mother of skill. This is how we can create new habits. What if one of those new habits is increasing our attention span? Wouldn’t that be valuable? And rewarding?! It can be done.

We Have To Begin With Changing Our Mindset

The definition of mindset is: "A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations."

I underlined fixed and predetermines because those are the two attributes that can hold us back from repairing our attention span. We can’t keep doing what we’ve been doing and expect things to change. So we need to change our mental attitude.

Let’s say we spend too much time watching short YouTube.com videos. It can become addictive. I know. I was allowing this habit to keep me from writing articles from my website like I knew I should.

My attitude was, “I’ll get to it after I watch a couple videos.” That needed to change because it became an hour later and before I knew it, in many cases, I had watched over an hour. I was distracted watching videos. Output suffered.

Writing articles is not as easy. as watching videos. So when I thought about writing an article, I made the easy mistake allowing videos to distract.

First there was the feeling that writing this article might be difficult. And then Bam! Emotions and habits took over. And, sure enough, I took the easy path. I said yes to the distraction. (That doesn't happen any more.)

What I should have done is kept my attention on what needed to be done. On writing that article. What a person focuses on is where energy flows.

So what was the change I made to my mindset? First, my mindset needed to have a new path created. A path that would challenge the belief that it is okay to go in an entirely different direction.

I had to realize at the right moment that just because something is difficult is not reason enough to get distracted from what needed to be done.

Second, I needed to focus my mind on what was important to me. Focusing your mind is a choice. If I wanted results, focusing is foundational. And the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Some things are major and some things are minor. Focusing on the major and ignoring the minor makes all the difference in the world.

I also needed to remain aware of those times when my mindset resorted back to taking the path of least resistance. That happened, of course, because I had acted according to an old habit.

That old habit was a part of my comfort zone. That is the second part of the definition of mindset.

Initially, it felt uneasy to ignore the call to the path of least resistance and to then stay on task with what was important to me. But I continued to work on it, to get better at it.

That is a major part of having a growth mindset. A growth mindset means you know you can and will change when the need arises.

Time passes for everyone. I’m going to be 72 years old pretty soon. I’m here to tell you, time goes by fast. I wish someone would have said when I was young, you need to develop the ability to focus on a major goal. That never happened. I hope that is a lesson you take advantage of dear reader.

If you have a growth mindset, you are careful with your attention span because you know the direction you want to go. If your direction isn’t right, you must change your focus so you can change your direction. And...direction leads to destination.

Exercising Your Attention Span

So earlier, I said that your attention span can be like a muscle which when exercised, gets stronger. We want out attention span to do the same thing. To grow so we can follow through on our goals.

How do we exercise our attention span? One way to start is through the use a timer. Say there is something you need to work on. Turn your timer on and get to work. To begin, stop when you normally would. This is to develop a baseline.

Your goal now is to spend more time doing what you need to do. It doesn’t matter how little the longer time becomes. Focus on your goal. Doing this, you begin to lay down more pathways in your brain showing you that it is indeed possible to go longer than you did the last time.

Does this process feel uncomfortable? Good. That means you are outside your comfort zone and that is where all the growth is. You’ve started the process. Now repeat. Over and over again, building your attention span muscle. The rewards will be worth it.

Other Tools You Can Use To Help You Exercise Your Attention Span:

Keep working at it. I know it feels uncomfortable now being outside your comfort zone. But you can stretch your comfort zone. In fact, throughout life, it is essential to do so. Matter of fact, if you exercise your attention span enough, you will develop new habits that will take you a long way towards the life you want to live.

Make growing your attention span an important value you want to pursue in your quest to achieve your potential. I promise you that if you don’t do so, you will find your life full of unfinished promises with the deep regrets that go with them. Don’t let that be you.

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