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Last Updated on March 17, 2021

How to Focus on Yourself and Accomplish Your Goals in Life

How to Focus on Yourself and Accomplish Your Goals in Life
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Do you know how to focus on yourself? Do you do so during your morning meditation? Before bed, when you’re winding down?

If you want to accomplish your specific goals, it has to be constant. You have to put yourself first, even when it involves saying no to others.

At a high level, focusing on yourself is about paying attention: What do you truly want? What’s standing between you and your best, happiest, goal-conquering self?

Focusing on Yourself Isn’t Selfish

Just like everyone else on this planet, you deserve to get what you want out of life. You may already be wondering how to focus on myself. That doesn’t mean you’re a selfish person; it simply means you’re the one who has to work for it.

Say your goal in life is to be an amazing parent. To do that, you can’t take care of your kids 24/7. Although you’re going to have to spend time cleaning up after them sometimes, you can’t support them without a stable career. You can’t teach them to manage their mental health if you don’t take care of your own.

Before you can give others your best, you have to sort out your own priorities and learn to tell yourself, “Focusing on myself is important.” And again, it has to be constant: Your goals might change, and that’s OK as it’s part of focusing on what you really want. What isn’t OK is focusing on others at the expense of yourself.

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How to Focus on Yourself and Get What You Want in Life

Achieving your goals has to be a lifelong endeavor. That’s why it’s so important to start today. If you’re asking, “How do I focus on myself,” use these strategies to go after your goals and get your life moving in the best direction possible.

1. Spell out Your Dreams

Get a college education, land a job that makes a lot of money, and reach that next rung of your career. The traditional vision of success appeals to a lot of people, but it may not be right for you. Ask yourself: What does the life I actually want look like?

It’s up to you to create a vision for your life. You don’t need to know all the details, but you should be able to paint the broad strokes.

Say you know that you enjoy history and writing. The key stages of your life vision might include:

  • Work for a state historical society.
  • Become a freelance writer.
  • Write a historical fiction novel.
  • Win the Booker Prize for Fiction.
  • Become the modern Leo Tolstoy.

Or, let’s say you are working in healthcare, and while you don’t want a complete career change, you do want to pivot toward something different. You can start looking into online programs that would allow you to earn certifications without having to go back to school to earn another degree.

There’s no “right” or “wrong” dream. All that matters is one thing: that you’re willing to work for it.

2. Practice Constantly

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do the thing, and you will have the power.” That “thing” is whatever your goals require of you.

One way or another, you have to put in the work. Writing skills don’t build themselves. Strong families aren’t forged by an absent parent.

The good news is, you don’t have to do it all today to start feeling good about where your goals are going. Break your goals into small, manageable pieces.

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If reading a craft book is what’s stopping you from taking the leap to be a freelance writer, start by reading just 10 pages per day. Over a month, that’s 300 pages—a full-size book. How does learning the business of freelance writing in just a month sound?

Small steps add up, so take one or two each day, and you’ll make more progress toward your goals than you thought possible.

3. Face Your Triggers

You’ve been told to avoid your triggers, but when it comes to learning how to focus on yourself, that isn’t the best advice.

How can you grow as a person if you run away from every trial? If you truly want to focus on yourself, you have to face your triggers.

Say your heart is set on holding public office. If you want to accomplish your goal, you’re going to do things that might scare you, including:

  • Speaking in public
  • Saying no to people
  • Taking personal attacks in stride
  • Working with people who you disagree with

Remember, you grow most when you’re challenged. Focusing on yourself means putting yourself in tough situations.

4. Tap Into Your Sixth Sense

Focusing on yourself isn’t a science. Finding your path requires you to get in touch with your intuition.

When you’re intuitive, you can sniff out a bad relationship before getting too close. According to best-selling author Malcom Gladwell, you can evaluate people with about 70% accuracy[1] in a mere five minutes.

How is that possible? Because past experience is powerful. Intuition is another word for using your experience to see beneath the surface of a situation. To learn how to focus on yourself, you have to trust yourself.

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With that said, intuition isn’t infallible. Don’t let it stop you from seeing what’s right in front of you. For example:

  • Your intuition is heavily influenced by your biases. If you find someone attractive, you may be more likely to glass over their bad characteristics.
  • If you’re in a bad mood, you may be overly pessimistic. Take another look at the situation once you’re feeling better.
  • Hearsay isn’t a good base for intuition. Don’t read too much into what others tell you.

The bottom line is to be aware of your gut feelings, but don’t let them drive the car.

5. Switch It up

Focusing on yourself isn’t the same as being single-minded. If you want to achieve your goals, you need new experiences to help you climb higher.

Every so often, try something new. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to do it again; what’s important is that you learned something about yourself.

Not sure where to start? Try one of the following:

  • Go ziplining
  • Learn a foreign language
  • Dye your hair
  • Travel to another country
  • Fix an unfamiliar car or home problem yourself
  • Invert your schedule

Experimentation helps you build skills and deepen your sense of self. Both of those things are critical if you want to reach your goals.

6. Put Your Health First

What better way to focus on yourself than to prioritize your health? When you feel better, you’ll get more done than you would working yourself into the ground.

You can get a long way by taking a “mother’s advice” approach to your health. That means:

  • Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
  • Exercise for 30 minutes at least three times per week.
  • Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Spend less time on social media day to day.
  • Meditate for 10 minutes per day.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol.
  • Take breaks often.
  • Ask for help when you need it.

If you struggle with maintaining healthy habits like consistent exercise, then try to make it more fun. For example, I’ve started taking electric bikes that have pedal assist when I go out with friends.

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You can also check out Lifehack’s free 30-Day Resistance Band Workout Challenge for a fun way to get into an exercise routine.

7. Start a Side Project

Side gigs allow you to call the shots, and it’s a lot easier to learn how to focus on yourself and achieve your goals when you’re in it for yourself.

Side projects teach you to love work again. The key is to choose projects that are aligned with your life goals. For instance:

  • If you want to become an acclaimed artist: Moonlight as a graphic designer.
  • If you want to become a professional driver: Be an Uber driver in a big city.
  • If you want to become a veterinarian: Volunteer for the Humane Society.
  • If you want to become a famous musician: Join a local band.

Although it’s nice to earn some extra income via a side gig, that shouldn’t be your goal. If it is, look for a different job. The point of side projects is self-exploration.

With that said, side gigs can help you further your main gig. Engaging in one shows potential employers that you’re willing to go the extra mile. Unlike many nine-to-fives, they let you build a portfolio of work that reflects your true interests.

8. Work Backward

When you’re old and gray, what kind of life will you wish you’d lived? Taking an end-of-the-road perspective can help you see blind spots in your plans.

For example, it may be a dream of yours to live in a dozen different countries. If you achieve that, however, will it bother you to feel like you never really put down roots anywhere? If you also want to be a parent, will you be able to do both while giving your kids a stable upbringing?

Working backward is how you play devil’s advocate with yourself. Make sure your life goals don’t require you to make an unacceptable trade-off along the way.

The Bottom Line

What legacy would you like to leave? Are you willing to put in the work and accept the consequences? Make a change today, and you’ll have taken the first and most important step to achieving your life goals and learning how to focus on yourself.

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More on How to Focus on Yourself

Featured photo credit: Anastase Maragos via unsplash.com

Reference

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John Hall

John Hall is the co-founder and president of Calendar, a leading scheduling and productivity app that will change how we manage and invest our time.

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Last Updated on July 29, 2021

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success
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If there was a rule book of life, there would be one particular page that was highlighted, underlined, and titled as most important. It would be the one which told you that you need to master effective goal setting and have an aim in mind before you get on with the process. While there may not be an actual rule book of life, we do have this helpful goal setting guide to offer.

Yes, goal setting is important. In fact, it’s more important than achieving the goal itself. This is because it is the sense of direction that is needed for you to fulfill any task in life.

You don’t have to feel overwhelmed if this sounds new to you, as all the following information has you covered.

Today, you’ll find out all about the importance of goal setting, types of goals, and tips to define realistic goals for yourself!

What Are Goals?

To kick off our goal setting tips guide, you need to first recognize what goals are and how they are different from objectives, dreams, and expectations.

A goal is essentially your aim for the long-term future. It is the bigger umbrella, the main focus.

Objectives, on the other hand, fall under the umbrella of goals. They are the stepping stones that help you achieve your goals[1].

Objects vs goals for goal setting tips

    For example, you may decide you want to learn a new language. Your goal is to be fluent in the new language. Everything you do to achieve this goal, such as the daily tasks and monthly learning aims, are the objectives.

    Similarly, your expectations, visions, and dreams are not your goals. If you wish to learn a new language someday, that is your dream. If you see yourself fluently speaking multiple foreign languages, that is your vision. If you think you’re capable of learning a new language, that is your expectation.

    However, if you aim to fulfill these visions, dreams, and expectations practically, that is your goal.

    Why Is Goal Setting Important?

    Why should you bother with goal setting at all? Wouldn’t it be more convenient to just get on with your daily objectives, follow a dream or vision, and let life take you wherever?

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    While that road can feel exciting and spontaneous, if you actually want to tick off things from your list of goals to achieve, learning how to set goals is necessary.

    Being committed to a goal puts your brain to work in one specific direction. Believe it or not, by having a defined goal, your brain does its magic unconsciously, 24/7, with full efficiency, to achieve the desired results[2].

    Goal setting is important to shift your focus, boost your motivation, and give you a sense of direction. Without formally defining a particular aim that you want to reach, you won’t be able to keep your objectives in line.

    Hence, this one tiny step can end up saving you a lot of hassle and time while also encouraging your productivity.

    Types of Goals

    Before we move onto the technique of setting effective goals, we need to first take a look at all types of goals in this goal setting tips guide.

    These categories will not just help you brainstorm new one for yourself, but it will also guide you to list them down in the right way.

    Time-Based

    One of the two broad categories of goals is based on time. These goals define how far in the future you want to achieve them.

    Daily

    There are certain smaller goals that you can easily achieve in a day or two. In fact, some of these daily goals can be recurring, too. For example, you may want to run for an hour every morning.

    Now, these daily goals can also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. You may be running every day because, in the long-term, you want to increase your stamina.

    Daily goals are highly effective for people who want to improve their mental wellbeing, time management skills, and stress management.

    Short-Term

    Next in line are short-term goals. As you would have already guessed, goal setting in this area is aimed at the near future.

    The great thing about these is that they are generally easier to achieve. This is because short-term goals are set for the foreseeable future. You are aware of the circumstances and have a general idea of how much the situation can change.

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    Just like daily goals, short-term goals may also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. Your short-term goal may be to lose 5 pounds in one month. That could be a goal in itself, or maybe it is just one objective to fulfill your goal to adopt a healthy lifestyle in the next two years.

    Another example of a short-term goal is to fulfill the checklist for promotion within the next 6 months. Or, you may want to reduce your screen time within the coming week.

    Long-Term

    Lastly, we have long-term goals that are meant to be completed over a stretched period.

    Whatever you want to achieve in a later stage of life is a long-term goal. An insurance plan, for example, is a long-term goal.

    Some long-term goals don’t have any time frame at all. They are goals that you want to accomplish at some point in your life. So, something like traveling the whole world is a lifelong goal with no specific time constraint at all.

    There’s one thing about long-term goals that isn’t great.

    They are the hardest to keep up with since you’re not seeing any huge achievements regularly. This may take a toll on your motivation. To tackle this problem, it is best to divide a long-term goal into various, short-term and daily objectives so that you’re always tracking the progress you’re making.

    Life-Based

    Moving forward, you can also start goal setting based on the results you want to achieve instead of the time period.

    Career

    Like most people, you will likely want to succeed and excel in your career. Anything that has to do with this intention, regardless of the time frame, is a career goal. These are usually measurable goals, such as receiving a promotion within two years, finding a job at a certain company within the next six months, etc.

    You can learn more about how to set successful career goals here.

    Personal

    The past few years have all been about emphasizing your personal health. So, when it comes to goals, how can we forget the ones that have to do with our personal gains?

    From health to finances to relationships, everything that brings you happiness and composure as a person is a personal goal. It’s important that these are realistic and attainable goals for your life.

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    Whether you want to get rid of your debt, quit smoking, start a side hustle, have children, or travel the world, all of these goals are personal and very important to have on your list.

    How to Set Goals

    The best way to guarantee the fulfillment of goals is to set them the right way.

    1. Use SMART Goals

    Every goal you define has to be SMART[3].

    SMART stands for:

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant
    • Time-Bound

    In summary, your specific goals should be very well defined. They shouldn’t be generic or broad, and every detail should be clarified as you’re goal setting. 

    If you want to start running, how often do you want to do it? How long will each session be? For how long will you continue this habit?

    There has to be a connection between your goals and beliefs or you’ll never be able to achieve the results you want. Most importantly, do not be unrealistic. You cannot learn to fly, and forcing yourself to try is only going to demotivate and stress you out.

    2. Prioritize Your Goals

    As you’re looking into how to write goals for the next month or year, it’s likely you’ll come up with more than one. In this case, it’s important to prioritize which are the most important or the ones that have the tightest deadline. This is going to be subjective, as only you know which goals will have the most impact on your life.

    3. Think of Those Around You

    As you’re working on goal setting, keep your loved ones in mind. You may have a partner, children, or employees that depend on you, and you should take them into consideration with your goals. For example, if you set a goal to travel to 10 different countries in the next two years, how will this affect your children?

    If you want to lose 30 pounds this year, is there something your partner can do to support you? S/he will need to be made aware of this before you set off on your weight loss journey.

    4. Take Action

    Setting goals is the first step, but in order to be successful, you have to follow this with action. If you set goals but never act on them, they become dreams. Create an action plan laying out the steps you need to take each day or week in order to achieve your big and small goals.

    You can also check out Lifehack’s free guide: The Dreamers’ Guide for Taking Action and Making Goals Happen. This helpful guide will push you to take action on your goals, so check it out today!

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    5. Don’t Forget the Bigger Picture

    Most people refer to the big picture as their vision. Whether it is the long-term result or the connection of the goal with your desire, keep it in mind to keep yourself from getting distracted.

    You can learn more about creating a vision for your life here.

    I also recommend you to watch this video to learn 7 strategies to set goals effectively:

    How to Reach Your Goals

    You can ensure your progress by following some foolproof tactics. The use of relevant helpful tools can also keep you on the right track.

    Tactics

    One rookie mistake that most people make is that they work on too many goals simultaneously. Create an action plan and focus on one thing at a time.

    Divide your goal into smaller, easily achievable tasks. Taking it one step at a time makes it much easier. However, do not break them down too much. For example, for long-term goals, you should go for weekly checkpoints instead of daily ones.

    Also, keep track of your progress. This will keep you motivated to work harder.

    Tools

    With so many categories of goals and so many aims, it is almost impossible to remember, let alone work, on all of them.

    Luckily, numerous goal tracker apps will help you keep track of your goals, as well as your plan to achieve every single one. Have at least one installed in your smartphone so that your plan is always within reach.

    The Bottom Line

    In conclusion, using a goal setting tips guide is not rocket science. All that it takes is strong will power along with all the knowledge that you’ve learned so far.

    Try out the tactics and goals setting tips mentioned above to be able to set successful goals so that you can achieve the life that you want!

    More Tips on Achieving Success

    Featured photo credit: Danielle MacInnes via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Smart Insights: The difference between marketing objectives and marketing goals?
    [2] Confluence: Goal Setting Theory
    [3] University of California: SMART Goals: A How-To Guide

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