Wondering how you can focus more on your goals and avoid those pesky distractions? Do you want to know how you can get laser, in-the-zone focused so you can chase down those big, audacious goals and dreams you have?
If so, you’re in the right spot.
In this article, we’re going to highlight 4 strategies you can use to focus more on your goals and avoid distractions. Let’s dive in.
1. Break Your Goals Down
When it comes to setting goals, the process of dreaming up the amazing things we’d like to accomplish is exhilarating. We think big, set our minds to it, then commit to taking action!
The problem is that any real stretch goal—meaning one that’s going to require you to grow and evolve in order to accomplish it—takes time. And achieving these types of goals can be tough and require us to get out of our comfort zones quite often.
You mix all those ingredients, and you’ve got a perfect cocktail for obliterating that gung-ho, shoot-for-the-moon motivation that you had in the beginning.
Next thing you know, the goal starts to feel overwhelming. And that’s the moment where most people quit.
The reality is, we’re nearsighted creatures when it comes to our goals. So, if the finish line to your goal is so far out in the future that you can’t see it, it’s likely that you may struggle with staying focused and avoiding distractions.
“What’s the solution?”, you may be wondering.
Break the goal down.
I don’t know about you, but when I played racing games growing up—aside from focusing on annihilating my competition—the only other thing I was worried about was getting to the next checkpoint.
I didn’t worry about the finish line. That was four or more laps away, which might as well be an eternity in a child’s mind.
Nope, no finish line focus for me! I was simply focused on getting to the next checkpoint because that meant I was still on track. And better yet, it meant I was still in the race.
So, if you’re struggling with staying focused on your goals, break the goals down.
You can do this in 1 of 2 ways:
You can break the overall goal down to its tasks, then focus on achieving 1 task at a time.
A great example of this is publishing a book. Some of the steps are storyboarding/planning, outlining, writing, designing, editing, and promoting. If you just set out to write a book, without putting thought into the individual tasks, you can see how that would become overwhelming.
But if you break the process down, it becomes much more doable, which will allow you to stay focused on your goal and avoid distractions.
The second way to break goals down is based on the time it takes to achieve certain tasks. SMART goal setting 101 tells us that goals should be time-bound. So, once you break your goals down into tasks, schedule them.
See our section on smart goals on our achieving goals guide.
Just like in the racing game where you only had so much time to get to the next checkpoint before it was game over, you need to schedule your tasks so that you keep yourself accountable. Doing so will naturally keep you accountable and help you to avoid distractions.
2. Optimize Your Environment
When it comes to staying focused on your goals and avoiding distractions, very few things—if anything—are more important than your environment.
We all have certain environments that are perfect for locking in and getting stuff done. But we also all have certain environments that make distraction and procrastination run amok.
Your environment is composed of the following:
When optimizing your environment, all three of these elements of the environment need to be taken into consideration. It does you no good to change the place if you bring the same distracting people along with you.
Likewise, changing out the things within a certain place is pointless if it’s the place itself that prevents you from focusing.
Personal awareness is key when it comes to optimizing your environment. If you’re not aware of which environments or its elements are conducive or a hindrance to you focusing on your goals and avoiding distractions, then you can’t make the necessary changes.
So, before you set out to start working towards a goal, put some thought into each element and figure out if there are certain people, places, or things that you need to avoid.
3. Make Your Goals Fun
Let’s be honest for a second, shall we? Life can be tough. It’s got enough low and stressful moments without us having to add any more to the pile.
But for a lot of people, trying to accomplish big goals would be categorized as a stressful or low time—especially if you have a hard time staying focused and are constantly coming up short of your goals.
Because of that, a very easy way to ensure that you can remain focused and avoid distractions is to make your goals—or the pursuit of them—fun and exciting.
After all, why are you pursuing a goal if it isn’t fun or exciting?
But going back to what I said earlier—about the finish line being so far away and us not taking into consideration the amount of time and discomfort that’s going to take to achieve the goal—something that started as fun and exciting can become not so fun or exciting pretty quickly.
So, before you set out to achieve any goal, make sure that it’s something that excites you. The rest of the action steps mentioned won’t matter if it doesn’t. Then, once you’ve ensured that the goal does excite you, figure out ways that you can make pursuing the goal fun.
Maybe that’s going after a goal with a friend or accountability partner. Perhaps, it is working in a certain fun and inspiring environment. Or it could even be the last strategy I’m going to mention for staying focused and avoiding distractions: rewarding yourself.
4. Reward Yourself
Chances are if you’re reading this article, you’re either a high achiever by nature or hoping to become one. And while high achievers may be great at achieving goals, they tend to be terrible at celebrating them.
High achievers often have an “on to the next one” mentality. That can be a good and a bad thing.
The good part of being that way is you remain hungry and driven to reach that next level and achieve more.
The problem is that when you don’t take time to celebrate your wins and the goals you achieve, it becomes very easy to fall into that vicious cycle of enough never being enough. Perhaps, this is why we see countless examples of unfulfilled multi-millionaires or highly accomplished individuals.
Also, on a deeper level, you actually begin to train your brain not to celebrate. From an anatomical perspective, when we do something great or exciting in life, our bodies release Dopamine, which is the chemical responsible for feeling pleasure.
Over time, if the process is repeated—when Dopamine is released—and you don’t allow yourself to experience the pleasure, your body will shut off this response.
In short, you can train your body to not be able to experience the euphoria and pleasure of accomplishment if you repeatedly fail to take time to celebrate.
Celebration is a very simple strategy for maintaining focus and avoiding distractions.
You can decide what the celebrations or rewards look like for you. But regardless of how big or small, you should build them into the goal pursuit process.
Putting It All Together
Setting and pursuing goals can and should be exciting. Doing so means that you are growing and evolving and that you are bettering your life in some way.
Because of that, it should be an enjoyable process. But if you’re not careful, you may find yourself falling victim to distraction and losing focus on your goals.
Hopefully, by breaking your goals down, optimizing your environment, making your goals fun, and rewarding yourself, you’ll find it much easier to remain focused on your goals and avoid distractions.
More Tips on How to Focus on Your Goals
- How to Practice the Art of Detached Focus to Achieve Your Goals
- How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully
- How to Not Get Distracted: 10 Practical Tips to Sharpen Your Focus
Featured photo credit: Stefan Vladimirov via unsplash.com