Many of us set goals with a lot of excitement initially only to find that staying motivated and focused on them is a lot more challenging.
On average, less than 5% of the population sets goals. The other 95% think they have set goals for themselves but when analysed, we will discover that they have set intentions or outlined preferences instead of actually setting meaningful goals.
Goals give us direction and purpose in life. Those who don’t have goals that truly inspire and motivate them will often find themselves drifting through life and letting life happen to them instead of choosing to create the life they want.
Our ability to stay focused and committed to our goals will ultimately determine whether we achieve them or not.
When I first learned the concept of setting goals, I was initially setting “choices” for myself, which were statements or declarations of outcomes I wanted or states of being I wanted to experience. Sometimes those outcomes weren’t tangible or quantifiable, which made it challenging to measure how I was tracking. Being someone who is process oriented, not surprisingly, I found it difficult to stay on track or make any significant progress.
Once I switched to setting goals, that were outcome-focused, and followed a system to achieve them, I became a lot more consistent with achieving my goals. My ability to apply ideas that helped me stay more focused on my goals made a huge difference as I started to create better results in different areas of my life.
Here are seven things that will make us stay more focused on our goals and help overcome any roadblocks we may encounter. While these ideas may appear simple or even obvious, what we must ask ourselves is whether we are intentionally applying these ideas or not.
- Reconnect to why your goals are important to you. This is perhaps the most important thing that will determine whether we achieve our goals or not. If we don’t have a strong “why,” we will abandon our goals when things get difficult. Our reason for wanting to achieve our goals is critically important especially after the initial excitement has worn off. We must be emotionally connected to our goals and have the belief that we will achieve our goals.
- Have someone who will hold you accountable. Sharing our goals with someone who we trust and know will support us no matter how difficult things get is a powerful motivator. Sometimes, we can have different people, like mentors or coaches, who we can rely upon for the different goals we have set. The key is to have people who won’t buy into our excuses hold us accountable and challenge us to come up with solutions to any challenges we face.
- Review your goals regularly. First, we have to ensure our goals are written down. Then we must have a regular and formal process for assessing how we are tracking. Why this is important is because just setting a goal is not enough. In order to determine whether we’re making progress or falling behind, we must review what’s working and what’s not working. The quicker we know what’s not working, the sooner we can make adjustments to get back on track.
- Eliminate unnecessary distractions. Our ability to stay focused today comes down to our ability to eliminate external noise and distractions. We have so many things that scream for our attention, whether that is online, on our mobile devices or in daily conversations with people. We have to be vigilant and stay disciplined despite how interesting these distractions may be.
- Clarify your priorities. We should always ask ourselves whether we are consistently doing our highest value work or not. If we are not clear on what our highest priorities are, then we will easily get distracted, as mentioned above. We must form the habit of focusing only on what’s most important to us.
- Take consistent action. The difference between serious goals achievers and those who dabble with goals comes down to taking the right actions, consistently. Doing something once, only to discover it didn’t work then not doing something else, is not the recipe for goal achievement. When something doesn’t work out, that is valuable feedback that new actions must be taken.
- Set progressive targets or milestones. In project planning, an important strategy that will ensure a project stays on track is to have milestones on the way to the overall objective. When those milestones are met, it means the project or goal is on track. If milestones are not met, it means we have to make changes. Achieving smaller targets on the way to the actual goal can be extremely motivating especially if we have set up rewards for ourselves.
When we’re able to develop the ability to stay more focused on our goals, we greatly increase our chances of success. If we set a goal and do not actively apply the ideas mentioned above, we will find that it will actually take longer to achieve our goal, and we even run the risk of not achieving it at all. That will result in a lot of wasted effort without any significant reward. It’s up to us to apply these ideas to stay more focused on our goals.
Question: What is something else we can do to stay focused on our goals?
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