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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

How to Focus on Yourself and Accomplish Your Goals in Life

How to Focus on Yourself and Accomplish Your Goals in Life

How often do you focus on yourself? During your morning meditation? Before bed, when you’re winding down?

If you want to accomplish your 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. 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 clean 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 again, it has to be constant: Your goals might change, and that’s OK. What isn’t OK is focusing on others at the expense of yourself.

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. 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. 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?

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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 the direction you are headed. 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. Break your goals into small, manageable pieces.

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. Take one or two each day, and you’ll make more progress toward your goals than you thought possible.

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3. Face Your Triggers

You’ve been told to avoid your triggers, but when it comes to focusing 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 focus on yourself, you have to trust yourself.

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? Be aware of your gut feelings, but don’t let them drive the car.

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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.
  • 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 and an accelerator out with friends.

7. Start a Side Project

Side gigs allow you to call the shots. It’s a lot easier 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:

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  • 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.

More on How to Focus on Yourself

Featured photo credit: Anastase Maragos via unsplash.com

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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 November 27, 2020

What Should Be Your End Goal In Life Above All Else?

What Should Be Your End Goal In Life Above All Else?

What if someone walks up to you and asks: what is your life mission? what is the one thing you have set out to do with your life?

What would your response be?

This is a question that requires some deep reflection, and it is about the end goal of your life.

It is fine to have career goals, financial goals, travel goals, and all that. But to make meaning out of life, there has to be an ultimate goal – a definite purpose around which every other thing revolves.

Let’s start with a couple of end goal examples of some of the highly successful people. Reading them might help you find some ideas on how you might write or structure your own goal.

Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook CEO

Zuckerberg is as popular as Facebook itself, and the impact of this world’s number 1 social media platform speaks loudly for itself. Facebook’s goal is:[1]

“To bring the world closer together.”

Zuckerberg did make a mention of his own goal as follows:[2].

“My work is about connecting the world and giving everyone a voice.”

Jeff Bezos – Amazon CEO

Jeff Bezos founded the multinational technology company Amazon. The goal of the company, which focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence, is to be:[3]

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“Earth’s most customer-centric company.”

Elon Musk – SpaceX CEO

Elon Musk created Space X, Tesla, and SolarCity to actualize his vision, which is:[4]

“To change the world and help humanity, reduce global warming through sustainable energy production and consumption, and reduce the risk of human extinction by establishing a human colony on Mars.”

Oprah Winfrey – Celebrity and American Media Executive

Oprah has many goals, but one goal that seems to capture everything else is her goal:[5]

“To help people take better control of their life and destinies.”

How to Create Your End Goal in Life

When it comes to creating your life’s end goal, you have to consider certain factors to come up with a goal that is truly worth it. These include your life experiences, heart desires, personality type, potentials, and other things.

1. What Has Your Life Experience Been Like?

Your experiences in life shape you in many ways, and they can be a precursor to what would be your main goal in life. These include experiences growing up, education, career, etc.

Family Background

Family background affects your value system and can shape your thoughts about what is ideal as a life pursuit.

For example, if you are from an affluent family, you will probably be thinking in terms of continuing the legacy of your family’s wealth. And if you are from an average income family, you will want to work hard to bequeath something of great value to the generation coming after you.

If your family has a philanthropic or political legacy, you might want to tow that path too. Even if you think differently from what your background has impressed on you, it can still provide you with some clues in shaping your future.

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Educational Upbringing

The kind of formal and informal education you have had opens you up to certain areas of opportunities. Education makes a specialist out of you and determines the area of your proficiency.

Education is continuous, and you can choose to break into new areas as you progress in life. All of your education gives you capabilities for the future that is ahead of you.

Career Progression

Your experience in the world of work can help you determine your end goal.

Your career has exposed you and has shaped you for the future in many ways. If your career has made a great impression on you, seeking a broader platform in your career can be an end goal to pursue.

Other Formative Experiences

Apart from family, education, and career, there are other formative experiences you may have had that can help you realize your true dream.

This might be based on the environment you grew up in, the city or community where you live, the people you interact with, or other influences from entertainment, media, and the internet.

2. What Kind of Person Are You?

Your personality type (the kind of person you are) can influence the way you see life and set your goal.

There are about 16 personality types.

Some of these are the Analysts, which is comprised of the architect, logician, commander, and debater; Diplomats, comprised of the advocate, mediator, protagonist, and campaigner; Sentinels, referring to the logistician, defender, executive, and consul; and Explorers, which involves the virtuoso, adventurer, entrepreneur, and entertainer.[6]

When you learn more about these personality types, you will understand and appreciate your unique personality and how it sets you apart for life’s pursuits.

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3. What Are Your Burning Desires?

Desires do not really die, though they can be suppressed by other things when they are not properly nurtured.

Amid all the noises, deadlines and other work demands, some things may easily get your attention; things you feel you should have more time to do or which you can not wait to do.

Your passion is tied to the things you wish to do with your life if you had all the available time and resources. Such deep desires can indicate what your end goal should be.

4. What Are Your Potentials?

Your potentials are the qualities or abilities that you have that can be harnessed and developed for your future success.

In terms of potentials and how they connect to your goal, you can consider the following:

What Are Your Talents, Skills, and Abilities?

Life is only meaningful when talents, skills, and abilities are fully developed and deployed. These three can show you what you can do and how you can shape your goal for the future.

How Has Your Potential Defined Your Life in the Past?

The way your potentials became helpful to you in getting where you are now can also be an indicator of how they can shape your future.

What Do You See Yourself Becoming With Respect to Your Potentials?

You can envision your growth and future depending on your potential, and you can use this to formulate your goal.

5. What Is Your Public Identity/Image?

Forget about your job description for a while, and consider the following questions:

  • What do people think about you?
  • What do they look up to you for?
  • What problems are you mostly called to solve?
  • When does your opinion count?
  • What endears people to you?
  • Why do people want to have an audience with you or listen to you?
  • What do people request from you most?

Finding genuine answers to the questions above will reveal what your immediate world expects from you. It can also help you to identify what you can offer to the world.

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There are also other things that can give you ideas, such as your perception of the current and future needs in your immediate environment or around the world, and where you think you stand to help or benefit in the scheme of things.

Bringing the Pieces Together

If you carefully go through the steps outlined above, you will be able to come up with a lot of information about yourself. The next thing to do is to synchronize all the information together and identify the ones that matter most or strikes you the most.

Then look at the points of intersection between your background and family, education, career, and exposure, personality and potential, deepest desires, and public image, as well as the need(s) you have seen around you.

After this exercise, you should be able to come up with an end goal – something worth pursuing with your entire life.

Bottom Line

Your end goal might be just about anything that captures your dreams and passion.

It might be about a business that is meant to serve a unique purpose, a commitment to a cause that impacts humanity, or a mission to make a significant difference in the world in your lifetime.

You might not be able to put your end goal perfectly together at once. However, you will have to put it down first in whatever form it occurs to you.

You then have to continue refining, expanding and updating it as your journey becomes clearer to you.

More Tips About Achieving Goals

Featured photo credit: Ante Hamersmit via unsplash.com

Reference

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