Being focused is the number one way to get where you want to go, but sometimes this can be a real challenge to maintain. Distraction, discouragement, and delays (along with other obstacles) tend to get in the way and before you know it the focus you had dissolves into nothing.
So this article is all about getting focused and STAYING focused, even when life does its best to throw you off track.
First of all, what is your focus?
What is your number one priority right now?
You’ve probably heard this everywhere, but one of the essential keys of being focused is knowing what your focus is. That means writing down your goals, intentions, or dreams, and having a specific plan to make them happen.
Do you have an overarching theme such as a one year goal, or even a five year goal?
This is a great thing to have as it helps you remember the bigger picture of how you are choosing to direct your life. This is especially important to remember when you’re caught up in smaller goals that get you there, but perhaps aren’t as attractive or glorious.
What is your primary purpose for the big picture of your life?
If you don’t know, take some time to think about it. If you haven’t written it down, do so. If you wrote it down a while ago, do it again. Repetition is key and so is bringing that vision into the physical realm by writing, journaling, and saying it out loud.
Do you have short term goals that are actionable?
Short term goals get you from point A to point B. They enable you to tackle a big goal that would otherwise be overwhelming by breaking it up into baby steps or bite sized pieces.
So, what’s your plan to get you where you want to go? What small steps can you take so you actually see yourself making progress, and therefore feel gratitude and accomplishment for each small success.
Example: My overarching vision is to be happy, healthy and wealthy (while helping make the world a better place), so specific goals for this might be:
I will smile and laugh when I make mistakes or when I feel myself get frustrated. I will be a positive influence on the world around me by setting my intention every single morning, and living that intention throughout my day.
I will take time to be in nature at least two times per week.
I will work out three times per week and do yoga six times per week, even if it is just a short practice.
I will work 6 solid hours per day to grow my business. I will make 10-20 phone calls each day to my team, customers, and people who could benefit from what I offer.
I will post at least one blog post each week that promotes my book and offers value to my readers so that they are more likely to consider choosing my products when they want services that my business can provide.
In this example, you can see the difference between vision (happiness, health and wealth) and goals (specific, measurable events). Having both is important, because goals on their own can get dry, but when you have a vision to support your goals, then you will remain inspired.
Know your WHY.
The most important element in follow-through is having emotion behind whatever it is that you’re doing. In order to do that, you need to know WHY you want what you want.
In the example above, I’m using the vision of being happy, healthy, and wealthy. Well, why do I want that?
- Being happy makes me feel free. It feels good personally and makes me a lot more fun to be around. I have a positive influence on the world when I’m happy, so me being happy not only feels good but also makes the world a better place – something I’m very passionate about.
- Being healthy is important to me because I’m not happy when I don’t feel well. I want to be able to enjoy the things I love to do like hiking and playing in crazy pretzel yoga poses. And I just plain want to feel good in my body. So being healthy is important to me. It also makes me a living example and hopefully inspires others to be healthy as well.
- Being wealthy is important to me because wealth = freedom (only when you let it). Let me explain that. You can be rich and still totally stressed out, or poor and totally happy. However, for me being wealthy gives me the freedom to do the things I want to do such as travel, donate to the SPCA and World Wildlife Fund and other causes that do such important work to help people, animals, and the earth. Being wealthy gives me the freedom to feel like I can take time off work to become a mother. It empowers so many choices that I would otherwise not be able to make comfortably, and allows me to live the lifestyle of my dreams.
What’s your why? Go deep with it. The more you tap into the emotions behind what you want, the more focused you’ll be!
Once you know your focus, how do you stay on track?
Here’s a list of great ways to stay on focus:
- Write down your primary goal on your To-Do list every day. Take steps EVERY DAY toward your goal(s).
- Speak your intention out loud, every day.
- Remember your WHY every time you get discouraged.
- Set a timer (every hour perhaps) and every time it goes off look at your focus for the day. Are you on track? If so, great. If not, jump back into the groove.
- Play music that motivates and inspires you. If possible, theme it with your focus.
- Get rid of (or hide) the TV. Joseph McClendon III (Tony Robbins personal coach) calls the television an “Electronic Income Reducer.” It is also one of the biggest distractions for people. If it isn’t enriching your life and is taking time away from your focus, ditch it. Turn it off, drape a sarong or tapestry over it, and turn it into a plant stand except for rare occasions when you want to watch a movie (or actually use it for a purpose).
- Write yourself love-notes or inspiring post-its and put them in places that keep you on track. Some ideas: the fridge, the bathroom mirror, the TV remote, your computer, your wallet and your car.
- Post your goals and progress on Facebook to help yourself stay accountable and inspire others… Just don’t get sucked in. A few minutes is all it takes, you don’t need to spend hours on Facebook… That would definitely count as a distraction. 🙂
- Take breaks to stretch, go for a walk, or otherwise re-charge and get your body moving during your work day. If your focus is work oriented, be sure to balance it with self-care. You’ll be more likely to actually get things done while you’re working.
- Read personal development books and publications such as Success Magazine.
- Hang out with people who have a similar focus and are taking action to make it happen!
So, do you have some ideas to help you get focused and stay focused? I hope so. Write ’em down, eh?
Now go take action on your focus, eh?
(If you have ideas that aren’t in this article, please leave a comment below and add to the value here by sharing your own approach!)