Anyone can come up with a goal, but not everyone has the ability to achieve it. For that to happen, you need to take action first. Goals are not like dreams or prayers. You cannot just close your eyes and wish for it to happen. You have to do something.
But of course, it does not end there. Certainly, taking the first step toward reaching your goal is the most crucial but it is not the only thing you have to do. There are a lot more steps to take and work hard on, and for that you need to be focused.
You need to learn how to ignore distraction. Perhaps in a perfect world, no person would have to be subjected to distraction when trying to accomplish a goal. But this is reality, and distraction comes in all shapes and sizes.
Sometimes, distraction comes from within. This is the worst obstacle of all because how do you ignore something that lives inside your mind or heart? This is when motivation kicks in. As the old adage goes, when the going gets tough, the going gets tougher.
1. Goals are like a destination that you have to reach.
2. Taking action is what gives you direction toward your goal.
3. Staying focused ensures that you are always on the right path.
4. And lastly, motivation is what makes sure that you will do anything and everything to reach the end of the path, arrive at your destination, and achieve your goal.
This is a never ending and rather flexible cycle. At times, you will need to motivate yourself in order to take action. Other times, you need to take action to stay focused. In any case, which goes first does not matter so do not be surprised if you find yourself jumping from one tip to another. What matters is that you are taking all the positive steps toward reaching your goal.
So if you are ready to finally make your goal come true, then here goes!
Tips for Staying Determined!
Tip Number 1: Make a checklist.
Checklists show you where you are, how much you have progressed, and what still needs to be done in order to achieve your goal.
Even if you suddenly fall sick and have to leave the office for a week, the moment you get back your all-important checklist will be enough to bring you up to speed.
Tip Number 2: Set a schedule.
The quickest way to reaching your goal is to create a schedule for it – and stick to it. How many hours each day can you truly set aside for reaching your goal? What part of the day is the best time to work on reaching your goal?
A schedule also means having a specific place for you to do your work. Choose something that will benefit the kind of work that you are doing and the kind of person you are. Will something peaceful and quiet work more for you or do you prefer to be working outdoors and surrounded by sounds of nature?
Tip Number 3: Make it a habit.
It is not enough, of course, to simply make a schedule. After all, creating one is easy – it is the “doing” part that is difficult. To make it easier for you to keep to your schedule, you have to turn it into a habit. Treat it as an integral part of your day that you absolutely cannot miss.
Your body does not automatically search for caffeine in the morning just because it wants to. It was trained to do so by repetitive action, strengthened by your own desire for a delicious cup of coffee. Your mind also does not look for its daily fix of quiz shows in the evenings for no reason. It was trained to do so as well.
So why can’t you train yourself to make your goal achievement schedule a part of your daily routine as well?
Tip Number 4: No excuses!
It is critical that you do not allow yourself any excuses. If you do, then the excuses will never stop. Your body has a “giving-in” muscle and every time you give in, it gets more powerful. Before you know it, that muscle has been flexed so much that it is impossible to ignore.
Tip Number 5: If you really have to, then it is okay to negotiate the terms – but do keep your word.
There are times when no matter how hard you try, you just cannot find the energy to do the work. Or perhaps you are too occupied or excited by something else that your focus on achieving your goal is absolutely ruined.
At times like this, there really is no other option left but to “negotiate” the terms of your schedule. If you are supposed to work four hours today yet you can only work three, then work an extra hour tomorrow or the day after.
It is important to specify the date for your negotiated term and of course to keep your word to yourself. This, however, is one thing that you absolutely must not make a habit of!
Tip Number 6: Eliminate distraction.
Distraction is your focus’ greatest enemy. Like temptation, it is insidious and will find all sorts of ways to mess with your concentration. Before you even start working, you should start by eliminating all possible sources of distraction.
Distraction can also be internal. These are those niggling doubts and worries that do nothing to help you reach your goal. You need to practice pushing them to the back of your mind. Keep practicing and they soon won’t be a bother at all!
Tip Number 7: Log out from all social networking and social messaging systems as well as Internet forums.
You may say that you find lots of great information and are able to stay connected with your network or market by keeping yourself online, but surely your personal life or business can exist for a few hours without being on the Twitter and Facebook radar?
No matter how you look at it, in the end, Twitter, Facebook, forums and all other ways to communicate with people online will only be a potential source of distraction.
If you have to, set a separate schedule for it – but this is one activity that should not be a part of your multitasking list.
Tip Number 8: Meditate.
Numerous studies have already proven that meditation techniques – just like breathing exercises – are helpful in clearing your mind and improving your focus. If the words and figures that you are supposed to analyse are blurring right before your eyes, it is definitely the time to meditate. If your anger or resentment is making it difficult for you to concentrate, meditating will also do the trick.
You do not need to chant any mantras to meditate – although if you feel it will help, go ahead and do so. But in any case, finding a quiet place to sit and close your eyes and let your mind wander freely is good enough.
Do try not to lie down while meditating as you may end up sleeping instead.
Tip Number 9: Take a time-out but time it!
Sometimes, you can get a little burned out if you have been working too hard for the past few days. When this happens, it is okay to take a little breather from your work schedule.
Of course time-outs cannot last forever so do make sure that you time it as well. If you are working only for a few hours, then fifteen to thirty minutes should be enough. If, however, your schedule encompasses the whole day, then an hour at the most would be sufficient. Anything longer than that may make you too lazy enough to get back to work.
Tip Number 10: Are You Sleeping Enough?
This is one of those cases when science has the last say, and according to its experts, sleep can have a significant impact on your ability to concentrate. Having enough hours of sleep will improve your concentration. Having too little or too much of it, however, would cause you problems with staying focused.
To get enough sleep every night, you should try keeping regular hours or at least have a fixed schedule for sleeping. Eliminate all sources of distraction as well. Consider this as another goal for you to focus on and take action for.
Tip Number 11: Diet matters.
Diet also has to do with your ability to stay focused. A proper and healthy meal plan for the day will go a long way in improving your mind’s ability to work and increase your stamina. Make sure you also take in enough vitamins and minerals as well. If necessary, take health supplements.
Tip Number 12: Exercise matters as well.
Again, you may argue that exercising may not have anything to do with helping you save money for your first car or reaching this month’s sales quota, but actually it does.
Or at least that is what most scientific studies are suggesting. Like meditating, sleeping, and the right, a sufficient amount of daily exercise will also help improve the state of your mind. That you will get fitter and look more fabulous are just icing on the cake!
Tip Number 13: Enjoy what you are doing.
Find a way to make the process of achieving your goal enjoyable. Sometimes, it only takes a change of scenery. Other times, you just have to find the right angle to look at your situation.
When you are doing something you love, such as baking, reading, or dancing, then you absolutely have no problems concentrating, don’t you? But if you are being forced to do something you hate, then only with the greatest effort are you able to keep yourself focused on your work.
Tip Number 14: How about a change of pace?
Focus is also dependent on pace. You may be trying to do things too fast or slow for your brain to actually enjoy what you are doing.
When your pace is too punishingly fast, you are more liable to commit mistakes. In your effort to save yourself time, you are actually causing yourself to suffer greater delays since some of your tasks have to be redone or rectified.
Using an excessively slow or relaxing pace is no good either. Do not overestimate your ability to work because that can ultimately develop into procrastination if you are not careful.
Tip Number 15: Consider a change of setting.
Sometimes, working in the same place day in and day out can get a little boring, and your mind will start to wander – relentlessly. When you have tried your best to keep your mind from wandering to no avail, then a change of setting may be in order.
Look for a different place – just for a day or two – to stay when it is time to work on achieving your goal. A new place may be enough to spark your interest in your goals. It may also help get your creative juices flowing and give you an idea or two on how to better motivate yourself.
Tip Number 16: Be methodical.
The best way to stay focused is to be methodical. Do not choose a random point to start working toward your goal. Whatever it is you are aiming for – even if it is to improve your marriage or lose weight – there is sure to be a methodical or logical system for doing it.
Taking a methodical approach helps improve your focus because it enables you to see where you are going. If you are feeling a little bored concentrating on the task at hand, you can switch your attention to making the necessary adjustments to prepare for the tasks in line.
Tip Number 17: Music is --- fifty/fifty.
The truth is, some people find music relaxing and helpful to their work. Others, however, find it too relaxing that they end up sleeping or they find it too entertaining that they end up forgetting all about the task at hand.
You have to determine for yourself if music will serve as an aid to improving your focus or a distraction instead?
Tip Number 18: It is all about what you think and feel.
Well-meaning friends may encourage you to try this and that to improve focus. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with taking their words into account. Remember, however, that every person is built differently. What may work for them may not work for you. That does not mean, however, only one of you is doing the right thing.
In the end, the best way to improve your focus is to do what works for you and not others.
Tip Number 19: Do not be a pushover.
Some people will try to sway your mind and make you feel guilty about the time you are devoting to your goal. Whatever it may be, if your goal is important to you and is not cruel or harmful to yourself or anyone, then you have all the right in the world to devote yourself to it.
Tip Number 20: Do not allow emotional conflicts to get in your way.
One of the worst kinds of distraction is emotional conflict. This kind of problem eats away at your concentration. If there is anything that is bothering you, resolve it right away before getting back to work.
Do not allow it to fester inside you. The longer you delay resolving such conflicts, the harder a time you will have finding a way to re-open the discussion about it.
Tip Number 21: Know your priorities.
If you are torn between doing two things, you have to give yourself another ultimatum. Which is the more important priority – the goal you are working on or the alternative?
Be brutally frank to yourself as you consider your options. If you have to choose which of the two you should lose, which of them are you willing to give up?
Tip Number 22: Consider your energy patterns.
This may sound a little too scientific, but rest assured that it is not. People have different energy patterns for various reasons. Some people, for instance, simply feel more energized to work in the middle of the night because there is absolutely no distraction to worry about, with everyone fast asleep.
Others like to work first thing in the morning because it makes them feel productive. Their energy then wanes when it gets to lunch time but jumps back up when it is in the early evening.
Try to familiarize yourself with your energy pattern. Think back on the days you were asked to complete a particular task. When are you typically more efficient in completing your work? When are you less than diligent working on your tasks?
Tip Number 23: Maximize your time.
Maximize your time in the sense that you should delegate what may be delegated to other capable individuals, thus allowing you to concentrate on the most critical tasks.
Your focus will be ruined if you have a million things to do and yet you are worrying the most about only three of them. If this is the case, you will never get to finish anything.
Do yourself a favor. Find people whom you can trust to do a part of your work and then devote yourself to doing what you feel needs the most of your attention.
Tip Number 24: Chew things down into manageable pieces.
Say you were given one whole cake to eat. Should you swallow it down in one bite? It would be pretty impossible to make an entire cake fit your mouth, but you can definitely eat it all if you cut it into several slices. From there, you can eat a slice of cake one bite after another.
Sometimes, focusing on the bigger picture alone is not helpful. There are times when you have to forget about the bigger picture first and concentrate on one part of the picture at a time.
Tip Number 25: Make allowances for mistakes.
Nobody is perfect. There will be times when nothing you can do is right. It is critical that you prepare beforehand for this and make allowances for mistakes.
If you can complete a task for thirty minutes, try giving yourself forty minutes instead. This way, you will not be terribly backed up if you do end up making a mistake or two. Giving yourself allowances will also prevent your mistakes from breaking your stride. You will keep going – no matter what – like an Energizer bunny!
Tip Number 26: Practice memory improvement techniques.
Memory and focus are intertwined in many ways. As such, improving your memory will consequently improve your ability to concentrate.
There are many ways to improve your concentration. You can find free exercises online. You can also try joining a memory training workshop or read a memory enhancement book. There are also memory training software programs that you could try.
Tip Number 27: Learn how to read effectively.
Whether your goal is personal, work-related or something else, there will surely be a time when your goal would require you to read something. This should not be a problem, however, if you learn how to read effectively.
The world’s fastest readers do not really read every word of the book or material they are reading. Rather, most speed readers are good at skimming and finding context clues. Their mind and eyes are trained to find the most important parts of each page and paragraph. Even if they have a limited amount of time to finish reading something, they will not have any problems grasping the most salient points about it.
The written word is one of the most notoriously common things that many people have a hard time focusing on. You will not have to su3ffer the same fate if you just take the time to learn how to read effectively.
Tip Number 28: Be eager to learn.
No one is too smart to stop learning. You will have an easier time focusing on new topics or tasks if train yourself not to be reluctant to learn about new things.
Granted, old dogs have a hard time learning new tricks, but surely you have more brain cells and willpower than canines?
Knowledge is a beautiful thing, and you should not turn your back on the opportunity to learn something new if it is given to you.
Tip Number 29: If you are the type and if it helps – pray.
Religion is purely personal – just like goals are. If prayer matters to a lot to you, then asking for a little bit of divine intervention would not go amiss. As the Bible says, ask and ye shall receive.
Other religions in the world are surely of the same mind even if they couch it in different terms.
Tip Number 30: Remind yourself of the consequences.
If you are extremely tempted to give up on what you are doing and just lose yourself in having fun instead, remind yourself of the possible consequences and that is sure to get you back in line.
Say you want to lose weight. If you eat that extra cup of rice tonight, it would mean having to spend an extra hour in the gym tomorrow. If you fail to do that, it will mean having your weight increase by two pounds. In time, it will mean not being able to fit into that new swimsuit you so wanted to wear to the beach party you are planning to attend – which the guy of your dreams is sure to attend as well.
Now ask yourself again – do you still want to stray from the task at hand?
Tip Number 31: Remind yourself that you are not the only one at stake.
Most of the time, the goals you want to achieve affect others as well. Say it is your aim to increase profits by 25% by the end of the year. If you do not reach your goal in time, then you will not be able to give your staff the Christmas party and end-of-the-year bonuses they so richly deserve.
If you do not care about the consequences you will suffer from by losing focus, surely you are not selfish enough to ignore how your decision will impact others?
Tip Number 32: Forward all calls to your voice mail box.
Phones – all types of it – are also a source of distraction. Change your answering machine’s message to let people know that you absolutely cannot afford to be disturbed. If they truly care about you, they are sure to understand.
Be sure, however, to let them know that you will be checking your email inbox every hour. If they have a drastic need to contact you, then they better start typing their emails.
Tip Number 33: Limit you email-checking to five minutes per hour.It really cannot be more than that because you are only supposed to reply to emails that are absolutely require a response. Anything less than important should be set aside. You have to be very firm about this rule or you will end up procrastinating again.
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