Do you often find yourself setting goals but struggling to achieve them?
If so, you are 100% not alone.
Clients, colleagues, and friends have all confided in me about their struggles in staying focused on their big, ambitious goals as regular life tends to swoop in and take over.
Life happens, but so can your dreams.
What I know to be true is that fulfilling your dreams is not about wishing for 6 months of totally free time to pursue exactly what your heart is pulling you toward.
The real secret sauce is to just start and keep on going.
Goal achievement is all about consistency—taking small steps that’ll add up to a big win later on.
Part of the goal-focus struggle, however, is maintaining this consistency for the long-term.
We humans like to do whatever is possible to get to the easiest, fastest solution, but ambitious goals don’t work this way.
Ambitious goals require time, determination, dedication, extended effort, and plenty of grit to get through the tiring times that come with the adrenaline-infused excitement.
To help you stay focused on your goals, I’ve put together three simple tips that I use to keep myself going once I’ve finally decided to just start.
So let’s dig in and get you going on your goals today.
Track and Reflect on Your Goals Regularly
Once I’ve set goals for myself, I make sure to keep my eyes on the prize—literally. I use a day planner that is specially designed for goal-setting and reflection.
Using this planner, I take my big annual goals and break them down into monthly and weekly goals. I then go one step further and divide these goals into more manageable and 100% achievable daily tasks to ensure that I do something almost daily to help get me to the finish line.
With this level of goal break-down, I know that my goals will remain top-of-mind even when regular life finds a way to derail me for a little while.
Keeping track of my goals in a useful place like my planner also helps me self-reflect as I can simply flip back a day or two to see what’s been happening in my life and how that has been affecting my progress.
Both self-reflection and goal tracking are critical components to my consistent goal achievement as they keep me focused, productive, and confident in my own potential.
Even research shows that self-reflection is an important technique for improving productivity and for helping you believe you can actually achieve a goal.
Now, isn’t that something?
If you really want to focus on a goal and achieve it, then be sure to take time to not only track your progress but also slow down for a moment and engage in some meaningful self-reflection.
Use Your Accountability Partner(s) Wisely
Regular goal tracking and self-reflection is one way to keep yourself honest. Finding the right accountability partner is another key method to help you stay focused on your goals.
An accountability partner, when used wisely, can help you stay on target with your goals by ensuring you are doing what you said you were gonna do.
They can also provide needed moral support when others in your life may either consciously or unconsciously attempt to de-motivate you.
I love my accountability partners because they do all of this and more for me and I return the favor right back to them.
But having accountability partners isn’t so easy as picking someone out and texting them occasionally.
Having an accountability partner requires the both of you (or group of you) to come up with a report-out plan so that you can consistently share what’s been accomplished and what is still sizzling on the burner, waiting for the next step.
Accountability, like goal achievement, is a long-term effort. Accountability partnerships work so long as those involved put in the work.
Here are some tips to keep your partnership healthy and productive:
- Maximize your time together by determining when and how often you’ll touch base and what you’ll cover when you talk.
- Keep tabs on what your partner is doing goals-wise (like, say, in your day planner) to know if you need to check-in with them briefly between your regularly scheduled touch bases.
- Make sure to also check-in on how your partnership is going overall so that you can determine together if you’re both getting what you want out of it.
- Be sure to evolve your partnership as needs and circumstances change—not all partnerships have to last forever; some may only run for a few months.
Say “Goodbye” to Things that Don’t Help You Advance
When you pair your own goal tracking and reflection with the power of an accountability partner, then you’re well on your way to making some good progress on your goals.
But if you want to take your goal-focus regime one step further, then set yourself up with a big, fat “goodbye”—a “goodbye” to all the things that don’t help you advance, that is.
Distractions are always around us, trying to seduce us to pay attention to them instead of the work we actually want and need to get done.
Social media is by far one of the biggest distractors out there that we can actually control.
Social media might be part of many of our own professional promotion tactics, but the constant scrolling can not only leave our thumbs hurting; it can also lead to decreased productivity and even make us susceptible to depression.
You may think you are being productive as you check Facebook for the millionth time while you are working on your goal-based project while you are also opening up Instagram on your phone to respond to a friend.
But the reality is that your attention is being pulled in too many directions. Focusing on one task at a time is key to ensuring that you can get that task accomplished in an efficient and effective manner.
To help yourself concentrate at the task-level and avoid distractions, limit social media time to designated checking and posting periods during your day or week.
By blocking out time specifically for social media, you can protect the rest of your time by putting that scrolling energy back where it needs to be—focused right on your goals and necessary obligations.
It’s About Setting Yourself Up for Success
Staying focused on your goals and priorities isn’t magic and it certainly doesn’t require you to purchase some crazy expensive product to make it happen.
The solution rests with you.
Being attentive to your goals means that you need to set yourself up for your own success.
Goal tracking, self-reflection, accountability partners, and distraction time-blocking are all methods you can easily implement starting today to ensure that you will take your goals and make them realities.
You’ve got this. I believe in you. Just go for it.
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