How to Stay Focused on Your Goals

Now that we’re well past the half way mark of 2015 (how the heck did THAT happen?!), I have to ask…how are you doing on those New Year’s resolutions?  For most of us, I’m betting the answer is something along the lines of ‘yeah….sooooo….great weather we’re having, eh?’.

Personally, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I do make goals for each new year.  I also make more goals every year on my birthday, but those tend to be more personal goals, whereas the New Year goals are more general.  What can I say…I love me some goals!

I do pretty well with sticking with goals, but I’m human and I’ll freely admit, I don’t accomplish all of them.  Some of them I lose interest on, for some I never quite find the time, and for others…I honestly don’t know why I don’t tackle those!

But, for the goals that really mean something to me, I do really well at sticking with them and making them happen (one of my more ‘charming’ qualities I was regularly reminded of as a kid is how stubborn I am!).

So, today, I wanted to share a few tips on how to stick to your goals once you have something in mind that you want to achieve!

How to Stay Focused on Your Goals

Before I dive into my tips, let me start off with this...setting goals is like creating a roadmap.  It not only gives you a destination, but, if you plan it right, it gives you a detailed way to get there.  It keeps you from floundering and just reacting to life.  You are in control and your actions each and every day are more intentional when you have a mission in mind.  

You can still be spontaneous in life and that’s what will keep it fun!  But, in addition to the spur-of-the-moment things, you’re still actively choosing to do things to get you where you want to go.

Tip #1 | Limit the Goals You’re Actively Working On

You can have as many goals as your heart desires and I encourage you to do so!  But, no matter how excited you are about all of them, you cannot work on all of them at the same time.  You will burn out, get overwhelmed and just quit.  

Major goals are those that will take significant work and time.  These require you to really commit to yourself and make plans to achieve them. 

I have several big goals in my life right now that I want to accomplish over the next couple of year - grow my website and start a business; reorganize my entire house and make better use of my space; and an making little changes to lead to an overall healthier lifestyle.

Each of these have smaller goals and milestones that fall underneath them in order to achieve them.  If I try to go for all of these at once…it won’t happen.  Just thinking about it is making me feel like shutting down and camping out in front of the TV with a  pint of ice cream watching a Harry Potter marathon to avoid everything.

Right now…my main focus is on my website/business and once that gets to a certain point, I can focus in on another main goal.  

#2 | Create a plan & WRITE IT DOWN

You may have heard the quote "A goal without a plan is just a wish.”  It’s one of my favorite quotes because it’s 100% accurate.

Not planning ahead is probably the point in goal setting where most people fail.  To reference another favorite quote:  “Failing to plan is planning to fail”.

If you’re new to goal setting, the best way to do this is to break down your goals into smaller chunks.  I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it!  Be honest with yourself on the time you have available and your resources and you’ll be more likely to accomplish each step without feeling overwhelmed.

Some goals are meant to be marathons, not sprints, so don’t expect to run a marathon in the time it takes to run a sprint.  You’ll be disappointed with yourself for falling way short of your objective!

Once you have some smaller goals in place, I encourage you to do something everyday to reach your goal.  It could be small or big, but even the small things add up to results, so nothing is too small.

And if you're really serious about it...WRITE IT DOWN!  There's something about writing something down and getting it out of your head that makes it more legitimate and real.  Write it in your planner, on your bulletin board, on a post-it on your bathroom mirror, in lipstick on your bathroom mirror!  It doesn't matter how or where, just write it where you can see it.

Tip #3 | Focus on your Commitment not your progress

I just heard this recently, so it's a new one for me, but it was a huge wakeup call and I was like ‘YES!’ when I heard it! We tend to be very focused on progress.  Nothing feels better than crossing things off our to-do list as we complete them, right?

Apparently, when we focus on our progress, we tend to make the mistake of allowing ourselves to slip.  For example, I’ve done so well at sticking with my meal plan, working out everyday, etc. that I’m going to reward myself by eating whatever I want this weekend!

One step forward, two steps back.

When you are feeling good about your progress, ask yourself how committed you are to your end goal.  It’ll be a little reminder of why you’re putting in all of this work and effort.

Tip #4 | Check in with yourself

It’s natural to feel focus and commitment slip when working towards long term goals (which is why it’s good to break it into smaller chunks).

Sometimes we start losing focus or steam because we learn more about ourselves along the way or life changes.  Our subconscious may be trying to tell us it’s not a good fit anymore.  That’s okay! 

But, if you’re still gung-ho on accomplishing your goal, then focus on that, remind yourself why you want to do this, and, if necessary, reassess your steps.  Maybe when planning things out, you were a bit too ambitious and didn’t allow yourself enough time on your smaller goals which makes you feel overwhelmed, stressed out, and like you’re failing.

Nothing is set in stone, so modify them and you’ll likely feel better and re-focused.

TiP #5 | Give yourself a small break from time to time

A break can be very powerful in helping you regroup, refocus, and recommit!  But, you don’t want a break to derail you by any means, which is why I suggest a ‘small’ one.

Going full force 24/7 is awesome and go you for really sticking with it!  But, that type of drive will inevitably lead to burn out.  

Do, however, make a commitment to yourself to jump right back in 100% on Monday.

Please note, however, that I am not suggesting you use this ‘break’ to indulge in self-sabotaging behavior that will have you taking those two steps back (or more!).  That’ll just lead to more work for you when you come back to it on Monday!

Final Thoughts

Committing to goals is huge undertaking.  It usually involves change which can be hard and challenging.  Our natural instinct is to go with what is easier and more familiar, which is why so many of us fail to complete our goals.  But, if you really want to achieve great things, you have to make the commitment to yourself, the process, and the sacrifices. 

Throughout the process, though, be kind to yourself, listen to yourself, and give yourself a few breaks along the way!

You’ve got it, so stick with it!!!

Your turn friends…how are you at sticking with goals?  What are you big goals that you’re working on right now?!  Leave me a comment and let me know!