The Zen of Success – Focus on a Goal
Experience has taught us that focus is the key component in the determination of whether you’ll achieve a goal or stick to creating a new habit, not what most people would rank as most important, not self-discipline, not rewards, not even sheer willpower or motivation (also an important ingredient, however). Understand that if you can maintain your focus on a goal or habit, you will more often than not achieve that goal or create that habit, and the simple fact is that if you can’t maintain your focus, you won’t achieve the goal, unless it’s such an easy goal that it would have happened anyway.
Let’s examine why focus should matter so much, and say you decide that you want to cleanup your house, and that’s your big goal for the month. So on the very first day, you’re completely focused on this goal you have set, and you get boxes and trash bags and fill them up with junk. The next day, you’re still focused of course, and you fill up even more boxes and you manage to clear most from a couple of rooms while making progress on the rest. Your routine goes on for a few more days, with your main focus being on this goal, and you make a lot of progress.
Now everything seems to be going well for you, but let’s say that a week into cleaning, you make the decision that you want to become a runner, so much so that your focus is now shifted to running, and not only do you go out to jog for a few days, you buy running clothes and an iPod with a running app and start reading running blogs and magazines. Meanwhile, your original focus on cleaning has shifted, and soon you aren’t doing much of it, because your focus is now on running, and to take one big step back, you’ve actually added more to clean up, because you’ve bought all the running equipment and magazines and books.
Meanwhile, if you would have been able to maintain your focus on cleaning the entire month, by the end of the month you would have achieved a nice clean house, and all as a direct result of your focus.
This is why I constantly advocate focusing on only one goal at a time until you build experience achieving goals. An important point to remember since having multiple goals actually spreads out your focus, and makes it less likely that you’ll complete any of the goals. Although it’s possible, with a diffused focus, it proves to be much more difficult.
You must also understand that even with experience and only one goal, maintaining focus can be difficult to master. You need to find ways to keep your focus on that goal. Here are some good focus training tips that continue to work for me:
liResearch and read about your goal as much as possible, on websites, blogs, books and magazines./li
liCreate visual reminders everywhere including your walls, refrigerator, and computer./li
liCreate a schedule with timeline, and remind yourself regularly./li
liDedicate time each day to work on the goal, with reminders in your schedule each day./li
liRecord your progress daily./li
Maintain your focus on your goal, and you’ve won half the battle to successfully achieve it.