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Last Updated on January 19, 2021

5 Focus Hacks To Meet Your Goals

5 Focus Hacks To Meet Your Goals

Long-term goals are hard to stick to, and no wonder. Life always seems to get in the way of your plans, somehow, leaving you unable to make progress on the projects and accomplishments you told yourself you wanted to complete. The new career, the fitness regimen, and that education seem like an endless process that often has no obvious end point.

But rather than losing motivation and focus, you can learn how to channel your desires, avoid the pitfalls of procrastination and apathy to accomplish whatever you hope to achieve. Here are five focus hacks to help you meet your goals.

1. Remind yourself of the benefits

Whatever goal you’ve set for yourself, it must be for a reason. It’s probably for several reasons. If you want to lose weight, it’s probably because it’ll improve your breathing, ease pain in your knees, increase your fitness capabilities or increase your clothing options. If you want a career change, it could be because a new career could give you more flexible hours, a renewed sense of purpose, a better salary or a more comfortable working condition.

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These are reasons you want to accomplish your goal, and a good way to remain focused is to write down the benefits of whatever you hope to accomplish to remind yourself of what it is you’re working towards. When you lose interest in putting in the effort to go for that run or take on that extra assignment, think about how the end goal can improve your life.

2. Track your progress

Another excellent way to motivate yourself is by tracking your progress in a goal in some way. A timeline, a series of before and after photos, a check list of to-dos that have been completed can serve as a reminder of the effort you’ve put into completing your task. This can motivate you to complete something so as not to have wasted all that effort.

Further, this allows you to look at any possible benefits you can develop along the way, rather than thinking of benefits as merely something that comes at the end of accomplishing a goal. It is a reminder that every step is an accomplishment and a visual aid of how many steps you’ve taken to complete your goal so far.

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3. Prioritize to meet your goal

Surprise distractions or events can often throw one’s plans off track. Sometimes it may feel like the world is intentionally attempting to sabotage your attempts to meet your goals. Maybe a financially tight period is ruining your goal of building savings or a social group that relies on eating out is making your weight loss goals difficult.

An important step in keeping yourself on track is to prioritize your goal in your life. What is more important than it? What isn’t? If it isn’t, do what’s necessary to prioritize your goals over distractions. Identify to yourself what will lead to achieving your long-term accomplishments and what won’t.

4. Identify steps to your goal

Breaking your goal down into smaller, easier accomplishments can ease your path and reduce stress as you try to accomplish a goal. These short-term goals can provide you with the instant feel-good of an accomplishment and still progress you forward.

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For example, for a larger weight loss goal of 20 pounds, one might set multiple 2-lb goals to reach. 10 short-term goals later, one has multiple accomplishments under their belt. To your brain, each individual goal reached is interpreted as a win and gets that dopamine rush that keeps you motivated. Identifying steps to your goal can also help you plan as you move forward and foresee difficulties or checkpoints.

5. Find motivational partner

A partner who can keep you on track is one of the best tools to meeting and accomplishing any goal. Someone who can hold you accountable provides an outside factor to keep you making progress. It’s a tactic many rehab programs use as a way to prevent common relapse triggers.

This alleviates some of the pressure off of you, as it’s now not entirely up to you to keep yourself motivated. A partner is harder to say no to than yourself and is likely to be less receptive than you are to excuses. Take advantage of someone who won’t let you stray from your goals.

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Finding motivation to meet your long-term goals is hard, and maintaining it over a long period of time can feel impossible. Using these techniques, you can push yourself towards the success you’ve always wanted but never had the time to accomplish.

Featured photo credit: Mike Tinnion via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on June 16, 2021

What to Do If You Find Yourself Making Slow Progress Towards Your Goal

What to Do If You Find Yourself Making Slow Progress Towards Your Goal

If you are making slow progress on a goal you’ve set, maybe it is the wrong goal in the first place. Perhaps factors, including your attitude or environment, do not allow you to make your desired progress. However, it is easy to blame timing and luck; if you set a goal, you and only you are accountable for achieving it (read the achieve my goals guide). The question is, how?

Start With Why

On my career path, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to explore and learn things practically. After a successful corporate career, I spent two years trying to establish an entrepreneurial consultancy, only to realize marginal success.

The consultancy formed based on my core values, candor, curiosity, and collaboration, but unfortunately, my customer base and projects were seemingly random and disjointed. While I understood I needed to establish a consistent and repeatable approach to content marketing to drive my clients’ results, that approach was not apparent in the brand I had built. Things got so rough that I had to resort to collecting unemployment at the onset of the pandemic.

At the beginning of the pandemic, I delivered a webinar called earning trust in uncertain times: coronavirus edition. Afterward, I received an email from a participant. He shared some thoughts on a campaign for his jewelry company and asked for feedback. When I read his email, I realized I could quickly help him to gain clarity, so I sent him a note with an offer to get his message on track. He offered to pay me for my time, and I said to myself,

“I am adding value, and I can charge for this!”

This first client needed to shift my offerings from general marketing consulting to a more diversified career that focuses on personal brand building.

It took a global pandemic to realize I needed to shift my goals to align with the change I was trying to make in the world, to a new business, coaching that applies my skills in an authentic way to me and valuable to prospects and customers.

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Start With Your Identity

James Clear discusses identity-based habits as deeply rooted in a person’s outlook toward life.[1] As a businessperson, identity-based practices are what impact business goals and your approaches towards achieving them. Identity is what you believe in, and outcomes determine what you seek to achieve. A permanent change comes from transforming the who part of behavior—the character.

Whether it is a coaching program I develop, a class I teach, or a marketing campaign I create, I always start identity. According to The Brookings Institute:[2]

Identity is a unique, inherited collection of assets, history, traits, and culture that distinguishes it internally and externally and can unite people and places.

But this logic also applies to personal goals. If losing weight is your goal, your focus is on an outcome rather than an identity-based plan, and you may lose motivation. Think, “Why am I trying to lose weight?”

  • Is it to be more healthy?
  • Did you get some lousy test results at the doctor?
  • Are you at risk of severe health problems?

It may help reframe your goal around a positive statement like, I am working to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Motivation has to come from a place of confidence and belief in yourself. You know what they say about the air mask on the airplane – put it on yourself first.

It is ok to set goals for others; for example, “I am losing weight so I can live for my kids;” however, if you don’t set goals around themes that you can own, and you don’t do it for yourself first, then the people in your life will not receive any benefit.

Think about what you achieve from your efforts — the outcomes. The reality that you are looking at right now must also allude to the fact you promise to create for your clientele, and that is not possible unless you believe in it and make it believable for others.

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Be Specific About What, How, and When

Your values need to align with other people and systems to engage in meeting your desired outcome, so make sure to put in place a process that accounts for what motivates you, that you can reliably complete until you achieve your goal.

If you are not specific and clear about how many pounds you are trying to lose and when you will lose then, then how will you know if you met your goal in the first place?

BJ FOGG, the author of Tiny Habits, suggests that you start small. In the Tiny Habits method, you always start with a tiny behavior. Some examples:

  • Floss one tooth
  • Read one sentence in a book.
  • Take one deep breath.

According to Fogg, an excellent tiny behavior has these qualities:

  • takes less than 30 seconds (even better: just 5 seconds)
  • requires no real effort
  • doesn’t create pain or destructive emotions

Make sure it’s a habit you want to have in your life. Don’t pick something that’s a “should,” choose new behaviors you wish to.

The next thing to learn is where to place the further tiny action in your life. Just like planting a seed, you want the right spot for it, a place where it fits naturally and where it can thrive.

Be flexible and adaptable. We are in a complicated and volatile world, and things change on a dime, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you need to change how you go about achieving your goal or even what goals you are trying to accomplish first place.

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Be aware of bias. As you set out to achieve your goals, it is critical to be aware of the bias that can sneak in and sabotage your thinking. Yes, it is essential to collaborate with others to achieve your goals, but you need to understand yourself and make sure you are not getting in your way before doing that. Here are some common forms of bias.

  • Confirmation bias: People tend to listen more often to information that confirms the beliefs they already have.
  • Selection bias: Selecting individuals, groups that do not provide diverse perspectives for you to consider.
  • Self-serving bias: People tend to give themselves credit for successes but blame failures on external causes.

What about serendipity? Many of us believe that the great turning points and opportunities in our lives happen by chance, that they’re out of our control.

Dr. Christian Busch, author of The Serendipity Mindset: The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck, spent a decade exploring how, if acted upon, unexpected encounters can expand our random social encounters can enhance our worldview, expand our social circles, and create new professional opportunities.

Serendipity is usually about connecting dots that have previously remained elusive. Busch’s findings suggest that Good luck isn’t just chance—it can be learned and leveraged. When you are perceptive, curious, open-minded, and eager to see opportunities, others might see only negatively. If you notice something unusual but can connect that bit of information with something else, you are in the right mindset for achieving serendipity.

Motivation and a Realistic Plan

Only you can choose the goals you set. Motivation is critical in meeting your goals. But choosing goals is not enough; you need to select the right goals and define a plan that keeps you accountable for meeting your goals.

Author Gabriele Oettingen defined a methodology you can use to get better at achieving your hopes and dreams. It’s called WOOMP![3]

WOOP stands for:

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  • W = Wish
  • O = Outcome
  • O = Obstacle
  • P = Plan

WOOMP, there it is! WOOMP will force you to be hyper-realistic about your goals and be action-minded in your approach to achieving them.

Show up Consistently

In order to turn your vision into reality, you will have to regularly show up by consistently organizing, leading, and building to get to your goals.

“Some people show up when they need something. Some people show up before they need something, knowing that it will pay off later when they need something. And some people merely show up. Not needing anything, not in anticipation of needing something, but merely because they can.” — Seth Godin

Final Thoughts

While I would be happy to be your trusted advisor and coach, the answer has to start with you. My process will help you to define and document an ownable set of values and marketing frameworks that will make you more appealing to clients/ employers, especially on LinkedIn. These values will translate beyond work, as well.

More on Making Progress

Featured photo credit: Aj Alao via unsplash.com

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