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How to Practice the Art of Detached Focus to Achieve Your Goals

How to Practice the Art of Detached Focus to Achieve Your Goals

    Focus: Effort, Attention, concentration, motivation, application, single mindedness emphasis, to name but a few of its synonyms.

    Having the ability to decide at each moment what merits your attention is to me one of the secrets of success. It’s been proven time and again by sports stars and high achievers If there is something you want, fearlessly focusing on it will give you a much higher probability of achieving it.

    Can we focus too much?

    But what happens if we focus too much on our destination, when the object of our focus becomes our waking thoughts, our daily deliberations and our midnight meditations? Can this intense concentration bring us the results that we desire?

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    The answer unfortunately is no, those people who set goals and struggle daily for their goals to manifest generally don’t achieve them, holding on to the goal too tightly will not assist in its acquisition.

    Shooting Arrows

    My husband practices archery, he has thought me the basics of shooting arrows, the stance, the technique, the pulling back but most importantly the letting go. They say the letting go is the most important bit. The energy, the focus and the goal are there but it is in letting go that the arrow reaches its target.

    I heard Deepak Chopra explain the concept of letting go by using the metaphor of a gardener. The gardener plants the seed and gives the seed all it needs to survive but he doesn’t go and dig it up every day to see if it has grown. The gardener is clear about the outcome he desires, he does the work required but then he lets go or detaches himself from the outcome.

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    So the problem is not focusing too much but focusing on the wrong thing.

    Do not focus on the goal

    So the sports star should focus on the daily actions and not on the final outcome, the business person should focus on the individual tasks and not the ultimate objective. When you concentrate on the goal you are holding onto it and holding on does not work with the flow of nature and life. If you focus too intently on the goal you are not truly present, and if you are not present you cannot be open to the possibilities that life may bring.

    If a sales person focuses on finalizing the sale he is not paying attention to the customer and therefore will not serve the customer according to their needs. Therefore we must remember to work with a sense of purpose and awareness of presence, if we work in this manner we will be benefiting from the increase in productivity and efficiency that being focused can bring us, but more importantly we will be moving closer to our desired outcomes in a relaxed, detached and more effective manner.

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    Focus on the path

    And so the secret is to focus intently, but to focus on the path and not on the destination. To do all that is required to make you the best at what you do but not to concentrate on the result. If we can learn to practise and hit the best forehand that we can physically hit, the outcome we want will follow. If we do our jobs with passion and the best of our abilities then the consequences will be positive, and if we intently focus on the perfecting or doing the best possible job, our goals, our dreams and our desires should not delay in following close behind.

    By practicing the art of detached focus, ironic though it may sound we can achieve more by letting go.

     

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    Ciara Conlon

    Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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    Last Updated on November 27, 2020

    4 Ways to Focus on Your Goals and Avoid Distractions

    4 Ways to Focus on Your Goals and Avoid Distractions

    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.

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    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:

    Via Tasks

    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.

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    Via Time

    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.

    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:

    1. People
    2. Places
    3. Things

    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.

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    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.

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    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

    Featured photo credit: Stefan Vladimirov via unsplash.com

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