Got your goals set and your motivation and systems in place? Great! Now let's look at five ways to stay focused on keeping focused, especially on long-term goals.
Focus is a problem even for the most experienced goal-setter. In fact, getting distracted is one of the biggest problems in goal achievement. Try these five methods to keep focused and your eye on the prize:
This may sound a bit silly since you've already been through the goal-setting stage. Shouldn't that mean you're already committed? But, some people who are really good at setting goals and getting started, forget that they actually have to show up until the goal is reached. That's why I recommend having you think through your "why" and restate your commitment to doing what it takes to "get 'er done."
Think of standing at the altar with your beloved and going through the marriage ceremony, including the "'til death do us part" section. You may be in love with that person and want to create a fabulous future together, but until you make that official commitment, your dedication may be temporary. Commit to your goal the way you'd commit to a partner.
If you're a natural go-getter, doing a lot of "stuff" but you may not necessarily be doing the RIGHT stuff. As a result, you waste energy on tasks that aren't directly contributing to your ultimate goal, and start new "projects" in the process.
Often I am approached by new entrepreneurs who excitedly rattle off a list of ten new projects and ask me if they are good ideas. The answer is "yes" ten times; "but now pick one and stick to it until it's done."
In other words - Slow Down! Before you take on any additional projects consider how it's going to affect your ability to devote needed resources towards your current goals. Before you start anything else, would you be better off sticking with the pile of goals that are already partly completed? Take a deep breath and try to be a little more Zen. Your slow and steady pace will pay off when you save yourself from burn-out.
Don't expect immediate payoff
As I mentioned above, some of you may be blessed with "entrepreneurial ADD." You try something, it works for a little bit, and then it gets kind of boring, or the original results start to diminish. That's when you switch and try something else. You repeat the process until you have a shelf full of diet books or a computer hard drive full of half-finished projects. Stop!
Success comes not from the first five sit-ups you do in your workout today, but from the last five sit-ups you squeak out at the end of your workout. You know, the ones you do when you think you're too tired to do any more.
Likewise, success comes from the last five emails you force yourself to send, or the last five cold calls you make after everyone else has gone home for the day. Aim to push yourself to the edge - and then go a little further. Results take time.
Set aside some time each day
If you tend to be a "starter" rather than a "finisher," you may need more structure to your time. One technique for staying the course is to set aside a specific block of time each day to focus on your goals - AND ONLY your goals. That means no checking email, no combing the dog, and no phone calls.
Time set aside for your goals could be as little as fifteen minutes or as long as an hour. What matters is making this time a habit; this is the time you "punch in" each and every day to work on your long-term projects. This discipline will move you forward, bit by bit, if you are consistent.
Reward yourself for focus, not just for accomplishments
While it's great to have rewards in place for when you achieve your goals, it's important for those of us who tend to lose focus to reward ourselves for the effort and focus, not just accomplishing our goals.
Rewards for focusing on our goals could be as simple as allowing yourself to check email, or, going for coffee with a friend.
It really works! I know because I use this technique all the time. In fact, I'm going to go relax and watch "Grey's Anatomy" right after I finish this section. Good job, me!
Jeannine Clontz, IVAA CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit: http://www.internetmarketingvirtualassistant.net, or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org