• Daniel Bowman PhD

Dr. Bowman's Research about Focusing on What Matters to You

I have had 11 research studies published in scientific journals as well as a scientific book (Innovations in Clinical Practice), and the program I developed to help people focus on what truly matters to them, called SET, has been shown to be effective in several studies conducted by me and my colleagues (for example: see: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10503309512331331256 & https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12213033 ). The program I developed to help people focus on what truly matters to them has also been shown to be effective in six studies by scientists in Europe and Africa (for example see: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2483843/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19913781 ).

This program I developed to get people to focus on what truly matters to them is one you can try out yourself. The program guides you to take thirty minutes a week for four weeks to think about and write down the things that truly matter to you. For example, maybe you determine it's the well being of your family and that you are productive in your work and a few other things that truly matter to you. Each week, after determining what truly matters to you, you are to create a plan to develop your priorities. For example, if being productive at work and your family's well being matter to you, you can write down daily or weekly goals that relate to these areas, such as writing encouraging notes to coworkers and family members. I like to write down two goals every day that relate to my priorities (one of my priorities is your well being and one of the two goals I wrote down for today was to write this blog for you).

Once you have determined what truly matters to you, spend five or ten minutes a day, every day for thirty days, writing down everything that is bothering you. For example, maybe you didn't follow your weight loss plan today or a stranger was rude to you. You then compare what's bothering you to what truly matters to you and if they don't relate, you acknowledge what's bothering you is irrelevant (cross it out and write irrelevant beside it) and move on with your life. Perhaps that stranger being rude doesn't really matter, so you just cross that off your list of problems, write irrelevant beside it, and focus on what truly matters to you. However, if what's bothering you relates to what matters, you brainstorm, seek guidance outside of yourself (friends, family, the internet, etc.) and develop, write down and execute a plan to change and fix what is bothering you. There are very few things you can't fix or change, but if you truly can't change something (like the death of a loved one), you must accept it, and like the serenity prayer encourages, focus on what you can change.

The numerous studies that have evaluated the program I developed have all show that when people take a month to determine what truly matters to them and take action steps to address their priorities and problems, while ignoring things that do not matter to them, they feel better, and one study found that the gains they made in feeling better after just a month of this program, held up for two years!!! So take some time to determine what really matters to you, forget about the things that don't, and put all your effort into developing your priorities. This will make you happier and help you to perform at your best.