5 Simple ways to stay focused on your goals
Do you struggle with reaching your goals? The reality is that most people do struggle. When you set goals for yourself, you undoubtedly have the very best of intentions. You want to succeed with your goals and reap the many benefits that come with making successful and important changes in your life. However, there is something that you may fail to account for in your goal planning i.e. life itself. Just when you are ready to take the necessary actions and make those vital changes; life gets in the way and you are unable to remain focused on your goals. If you cannot remain focused on your goals, you will lose momentum and fail to make the progress you desire. This soon leads to a loss of confidence and motivation.
You may blame distractions such as work, family, or technology and say that’s the reason why you have a hard time concentrating on your goals. However, these things will always be part of your life. If you are not achieving your goals and objectives, it is not good enough to blame outside factors. When you do so, you are actually giving away your personal power and denying that your success lie within your hands. What you need to do is find a way to manage these outside factors which allows you to stay focused on your goals and, maintain a healthy and balanced life.
Despite your best intentions and efforts, it can be challenging to stay on track! A study at the University of Hertfordshire revealed that nearly 50% of people make a New Year’s resolution that includes a meaningful goal, but over 78% of people will fail to maintain their focus and achieve that goal. For this reason, when setting your goals, you must acknowledge that focus could be an issue and, make plans which will make focusing on your key goals a whole lot easier.
Strategies to stay focused on your goals
The good news is that there are a few simple measures that you can take to help you stay focused on your goals. By implementing these steps from the outset, you will be more focused, more motivated and more determined. You will soon see that you are making progress towards your goals and so, you will be more likely to stick with it and see it through to completion.
- Narrow your list
Goals are great but if you have too many of them, you will soon see that one goal is distracting you from working on another. Instead of trying to focus on too many goals, narrow it down to 1-3 major goals for any given period of time. Even on a daily basis, you should have 1-3 goals which you are trying to achieve. These goals should tie into your medium and long-term goals so that each day will see you make progress. This ensures that you aren’t spreading yourself too thin and, as a result, losing your motivation.
When you are setting goals, you will find that you come up with a large number of goals. Identify the most important goals that you need to work on and put them on a separate list. Don’t discard the remaining goals. Instead, place them on a ‘Someday, maybe’ list. Knowing that these items have been captured for future reference will help you to stay focused on your key goals. You can regularly review this list and seem if any of the items on it need to be elevated to ‘Goal’ status. Strangely, you will find that over time, you manage to complete some of the items on your ‘Someday, maybe’ list, without any conscious effort to do so.
- Break down each of your major goals
How do you eat an elephant? The answer – one bite at a time. The same strategy is critical for achieving your goals. Large goals can be very overwhelming. This causes you to lose confidence and motivation.
You’ll feel less overwhelmed when you break up a large goal into a series of smaller steps, each with specific, achievable tasks. Instead of focusing on the large goal, you focus on the smaller tasks which you need to complete. It will be less daunting and, with each small task completed, you will receive a confidence boost as you realise that you are one step closer to your goal. This makes reaching your ultimate goal that much easier.
As you accomplish each step, maintain your momentum and enthusiasm for achieving your goal by celebrating your success.
- Have accountability partners
As long as the goal is not too personal or confidential in nature; telling people whom you trust about your goal will make you more accountable. You value friends and loved ones and you value the respect that comes with their friendship. When you inform them of changes that you wish to make, you want to be seen to honour your word. Ideally, these people will encourage you when obstacles arise and celebrate your successes with you along the way. This support will help you to stay focused on your goals.
When you have an accountability partner, you’re no longer on your own in your journey. You’re less likely to allow yourself to lose focus and become distracted when you have someone who’s encouraging you.
- Record, measure and document your process
When you set a goal, one of the first things that you should do is decide how you will measure your progress. It is imperative that you know how you are progressing. As you take action, you can measure your progress and see whether you are making the desired progress or, whether you need to take corrective action.
Start a journal and write about your experience as you pursue your goal. Writing down your thoughts is a great way to maintain your motivation to the end. Your thoughts and feeling can provide you with excellent feedback on your progress and, if you ever have to attempt the same or a similar goal again, you will be able to review your notes to help you create the best plan.
- Create either a physical or virtual goal board
To help you stay focused on your goals, you can create a visual reminder of why you created a particular goal in the first place. Take a poster board, bulletin board, or electronic platform (e.g. Pinterest), and fill it with pictures and other images that help you maintain your enthusiasm and focus. Your brain thinks in terms of images so, if you choose the right pictures, it will serve as both an enjoyable and effective method to stay focused on your goals.
In effect, it gets your subconscious mind “on board” with your plan to reach your goal. You want your entire psyche working with you to achieve your goal.
If you struggle to set and achieve effective goals, check out the Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting.
It takes hard work and consistent effort to achieve major goals. The harsh reality is that most people will fail to achieve their goal. These failures will rarely be due to a lack of knowledge or skills. It is far more likely that in a hectic world, they struggle to stay focused on their goals. If you do not want to be one of these people, you must find a way to stay focused on your goals. When you set goals, you feel energised and confident but this quickly fades away when you fail to stay focused on your goals. You can maintain your passion and motivation to make your dreams come true with these simple, focus-maintaining strategies. If you implement these strategies from the beginning, you will stay focused on your goals and increase the likelihood of successfully achieving those goals.