Having goals is a good thing. Goals provide direction and meaning to life. They are essential to self-improvement and finding our purpose, but it’s not always easy to stay focused on our goals. Why?
Humans are complex, ever-changing creatures. We think, feel, and are a little different every day. Our focus is prone to wandering, and this busy digital era doesn’t help with that. But when our attention is pulled in so many different directions, our goals get pushed aside. Fortunately, there are ways to remedy this issue.
If you’ve been struggling to stay focused on your goals, here are our five ways to keep your eye on the ball.
1. Envision the Bigger Picture
Life’s ups and downs bring daily distractions, but most of the things we are distracted by don’t affect us long. In fact, many of the things that occupy so much space in our minds on any given day end up being fleeting. Even so, trivialities keep us fixed in the present moment, and while being present is often a good thing, it can lead us to forget our goals. Your goals are waiting in the future, but you’re bound to the present by little things that won’t ultimately matter.
When you feel yourself struggling to stay focused on your goals, you might need to do some projection.
Make a habit of looking at the bigger picture and imagining life as it will be once each goal is achieved. This will be a reminder to keep your eyes on the prize and take action every day toward it. Create a vision board that will function as a visual representation of your goals and keep them fresh in your mind.
2. Shift Your Perception
Our emotions can be likened to a river. They shift and change endlessly and transform when we face obstacles. Sometimes we just wake up feeling below par and sometimes we’re on top of the world. It helps to remember that our outlook colors our attitude and motivation. Feelings are incredibly convincing, and you can make them work for you or let them work against you. Your perception of whether you think you can reach your goals or not will ultimately determine whether you actually can.
You are in control of how you perceive your life, even when it doesn’t feel like it! If you are ever fighting to make any progress toward your goals, try reframing your negative thoughts. Rather than letting them spiral down and out of control when you’re having a bad day, recognize them for what they are, and work around them if you are able.
3. Remember Why You Set Goals in the First Place
When doubts creep in, give yourself a pep talk. If ever your goals start disappearing from view, think about why you set them. What were you thinking? What were you trying to achieve or improve? Has anything changed since then? If so, is your obstacle now simply a matter of perception?
Most likely, you’re the only thing holding yourself back. Find your motivation. Get your mojo back.
Sometimes revisiting the state you were in when you set a goal is the best way to stay focused on that goal. You just might need a reset. Take a trip down memory lane to the time you first imagined a goal and remember why it was important to you then and why it should be important to you now. The feelings you felt and the intentions you had when setting your goal motivated you once and they can motivate you again. Your vision board could come in handy for this exercise.
4. Aim High but Be Realistic
Whatever you can believe, you can achieve. You’ve heard this time and time again. And for the most part, this is true. The only way to find out what you’re capable of is to try it, and we often surprise ourselves.
But your goals must be clear, actionable, and realistic too. If they’re not, they’ll stay in your head forever and never make it into reality. That’s why it’s important to find a balance between shooting for the stars and being realistic.
Don’t try to run before you can walk. Work on achieving your goals one step at a time. Staying focused on and reaching a goal is often a test of endurance, not speed. You will quickly lose hope and confidence if you burn out or come up short too often. The goals you set should be thoroughly fleshed out, born of integrity, made in your best interest, and within your physical capabilities. Then, with enough effort and persistence, you’ll be able to reach every single one.
5. Invest Resources In Your Goals
Your goals deserve and require your time, energy, and money. The more you invest in a goal—especially during planning—, the more likely you are to stick with it and see it all the way through. The time and energy you spend won’t feel like a waste when you reach a goal you’ve worked so hard toward. Tasting success will give you the push you need to tackle the next goal. When you reach one, you’ll say, “What’s next?”
Some goals require leaps of faith to meet, some small, intentional daily steps. Some require time, some money, some energy; many, all three. No matter how big or small your goal, give it everything you’ve got. Don’t do anything halfway. Let your actions reflect the value of the things you’ve set out to achieve. With enough determination and by staying focused on your goals, everything you’ve ever wanted is within reach. So what are you waiting for?