At the beginning of every new year, most people will usually make new year resolutions. I want to lose wait, I want to take up a new course, I need to stop smoking/or drinking, I want to start a business, and the list is endless. We are all filled with enthusiasm while setting these goals such that nobody can talk us out of them. For the first few days in the year, we are kind of motivated and focused, only for us to start losing focus before the end of the first week in the year. We then veer of the track and start focusing on other things, sometimes subtle and unnecessary. How do we then prevent ourselves from getting side-tracked, when life gets overwhelming, and when we have so much going on and to deal with on a daily basis?
I understand that life can get the better of us, we can sometimes feel confused, develop lethargy and even demotivated. I bet you can all resonate with this, but how does this just happen? In my honest opinion, it happens because we lack a solid plan. We fail to plan our daily routine, we kind of let things control themselves, its more like a driver losing control on the road. We veer of the track and we are unable to grab that steering wheel firmly with both hands, and as you can possibly imagine, this can be ridiculously dangerous. So how then do you stay focused on our goals?
Set yourself some goals
Assuming you haven’t already done so, this should be your first step. Setting goals may look easy at first but you need to make sure you are setting yourself realistic goals. You can start with simple goals at first like for example if your goal is to write a novel, you can start just by practising writing every day. You can aim to write at least a hundred or two hundred words daily. This may not seem much but the goal is to make sure you do it on a daily basis. If you can for example stay focused on this goal for example for a month, then it will eventually become a habit. You are now ready to start writing your novel. You have shown consistency in writing on a daily basis without fail, you can now move to writing your first draft. Now you can increase your writing by another hundred words a day or whatever you feel comfortable with. You see, you started by setting yourself small goals and gradually increase as you feel comfortable.
Remove every form of distraction
I personally find it hard to concentrate when there are other activities going on in the same room, like maybe somebody banging the door, tv is on, other people talking loudly in the room, I cannot just concentrate with my writing when all these things are going on, that’s why I prefer when the room is quiet and everybody is out of the room, Tv off and even sometimes phone on mute. I discover I get more done when the room is quiet but I also prefer a bit of cool music playing in the background to make the moment feel lighter.
Distraction usually comes in many forms and shapes, some as I mentioned above, others are our own creation. We want to keep checking our messages on the phone, we want to keep checking on what’s happening on Facebook or Instagram. We are in the middle of our schedule, and we remember that friend we haven’t spoken to for ages, and so on and so forth. If we are not aware of all these form of distractions, then we may not be able to achieve much, we will always do things halfway. We find that we deviate from the original plan. Unless it’s an emergency or something that requires your urgent attention, make sure you ignore any other form of distraction if you want to accomplish your goals.
Plan your day
There is a saying that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Do you plan your day or you are one of those people who say; well, let’s see what the day has in store for us? This is a very poor reasoning and those people who reason this way find that they have nothing much accomplished at the end of the day. I always find that everyday I wake up with a plan the day goes well and I get a lot accomplished as a result. I like having a rough idea of what I want to do each day, even though sometimes things may not work according to the plan, at least I had a plan. I can assure you most the the times than not, things usually go smoothly when you have a solid plan. Whether you put it at the back of your mind or write it down make sure you have a plan for each day and you will find that this will help keep you focused on your goals.
I sometimes find myself multitasking when I feel I have a lot to get done, like if for example I need to cook and at the same time I need to help the children with homework, because I am trying to save time. So, I will start the cooking, make sure all the ingredients are prepared, put them in the fire and reduce the fire and then leave the room to focus on the children’s homework. This might seem proper but it is not the best way to deal with things. Your attention is dividend and this means you may not do things perfectly. You find yourself rushing things due to this divided attention. If you want to stay focused and get the most out of your goals, focus on the most important or prioritise your tasks/ goals. Like in my example above, instead of trying to cook and deal with children’s homework at the same time. I can just focus on cooking first and then afterwards deal with the children’s homework and vice-versa. Multi-tasking may look good but it also means things may not be done as effectively as they should be.
Look for an accountability partner
Accountability partner is someone who checks up on you to make sure you are still on the right track. More like a mentor or a coach if you may. You may mutually agree to work together and be accountable to each other but the goal is to keep you motivated. This is mostly important for people who lack self-motivation, as it’s not everybody who is self-motivated to stick to their goals. If you feel that you keep setting goals and then deviating from them on a regular basis, then in addition to the above, you might need to ask a friend to check on you on a regular basis. You can even ask them to join you, if for example you want to keep fit or lose weight to help keep you motivated. If it’s a project or activity where they are unable to join you, you can ask them to call you or text you to remind you to keep up with your goals or to find out whether you are still on the right track.