Such ‘focus on goal’ quotes aren’t usually taken very seriously. They’re nice to read and inspiring for that moment. But what about after that? Can success come to you through mere inspiration or is there a method to achieve it? Sadly, one of the least-understood concepts around being successful is the art of setting and staying focused on your goals until they are achieved. It is quite possibly the single most important contributor to success, no matter how you define that word and what it means to you.
The Importance of Having a Clear Focus on Goals
Brian Tracy is a world-famous self-development coach, prolific best-selling author, motivational speaker, and a dozen other things. And he’s great at all of them. According to Mr. Tracy, there are six reasons why goals and goal-setting are important. Let’s outline them here:
6 Reasons Why Goals and Goal-setting Are Vital to Success
|1||Goals allow you to focus on what’s important|
|2||Goals allow you to measure how far you’ve progressed|
|3||Goals keep your motivation level high|
|4||Goals can help fight procrastination|
|5||Goals let you go beyond your perceived limitations|
|6||Goals help you figure out what you want out of life|
If goals are your vehicle to success, then the ability to focus on your goals is the fuel that feeds the engine of that vehicle.
Tony Robbins is one of the most well-known and sought-after professional life coaches and motivational speakers in the world. Here’s an interesting excerpt from the Ask Tony section of Tony Robbins’ official website:
“Goal setting is the fundamental key to success. Whether it’s increasing your intelligence, learning a new skill or rekindling a relationship, setting goals lets us create our future. It also helps us grow and expand, pushing ourselves to transform in ways that we never imagined. In order to feel fulfilled, we need to know and feel like we’re working to achieve something. Tony Robbins says, “Progress equals happiness,” and setting goals gets us there.”
Success in any field of expertise does not come like a flood or overnight. It is a gradual process of achieving increasingly higher goals that you set for yourself. Even if you take the example of those who seem to have achieved “overnight success”, the fact is that they went through a series of failures to get to the final destination. But most people haven’t seen the failures; they just see the end result and assume that the person was “LUCKY”.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” - Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger, Roman Philosopher, Dramatist, and Statesman
Yet another one of those ‘focus on your goal’ quotes? It sounds amazing, doesn’t it? But what does it actually mean? Let’s explore this concept in greater depth.
Focus on Goal vs. Focus on Luck
When you have a strong focus on your goal or focus on your dreams, luck plays a very small role in your ultimate success. Why? Because the majority of your achievements that lead to that ultimate success are a result of having a vision or goal, planning it, and executing it.
In an article on Medium, author Eric Burdon outlines the 8 elements of success:
Strong belief in self
Setting the right type of goals
Budgeting and money mindset
Staying on top of your industry
Do you see luck anywhere in there? We don’t! What we do see is that focusing on the right goals will get you there faster than almost anything else.
Wait, But Science Says that Luck Does Play a Role…
A blog article in Scientific American published a few years ago points to books and studies that say luck cannot be completely ruled out as a determinant of success. In simple words, while passion, perseverance, talent, imagination, and other factors certainly play a major role in influencing a person’s success, luck is also a factor to be considered, albeit a minor one.
Consider these nuggets of data from various studies cited in the article:
“The chance of becoming a CEO is influenced by your name or month of birth. The number of CEOs born in June and July is much smaller than the number of CEOs born in other months.”
This finding is supported by another study:
“After examining a group of 375 CEOs of S&P 500 companies between 1992 and 2009, the researchers found that only 6.1 percent were born in June and 5.9 percent were born in July. In contrast, 12.5 percent of the CEOs had March birthdays and 10.7 percent were born in April”
Yet another study shows that:
“The display of middle initials increases positive evaluations of people's intellectual capacities and achievements”
Off the top of your mind, you can probably cite George R. R. Martin, John F. Kennedy, Samuel L. Jackson, Cecil B. DeMille as examples.
“People with easy to pronounce names are judged more positively than those with difficult-to-pronounce names”
This one’s a little hard to prove but, apparently, it’s already been proven! It’s called the name-pronunciation effect!
But despite all the evidence, it’s clear that luck, at best, has a marginal role in achieving success.
You can achieve legendary greatness even if your given name is Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart.
You can be born on June 28 and still become an Elon Musk, CEO of multiple billion-dollar companies.
The truth? Neither luck nor fate can decide whether or not you will become successful. You and you alone can decide that.
So, now that we know that luck is not a major contributor to success in the long run, it’s time to answer the question: what is the major element of success?
The answer: Setting goals and staying focused on your goals.
That leads to the next question: how do I master the art of setting goals and achieving them?
How to Focus on Your Goals and Stay Engaged Until Success is Achieved
The key here is to understand the mechanics and dynamics involved in the goal-setting process, from beginning to end. Once you know how to set a goal that is realistic yet currently beyond your reach, you need to figure out how to focus on those goals and stay the course by eliminating any distractions that life might throw at you.
Let’s begin with the first step.
Focus on Your Dreams by Setting The Right Goals
Mindtools outlines the 5 Golden Rules of Goal Setting:
1. Make sure your goals motivate you - If a particular goal doesn’t cause you to wake up every morning excited and ready to work on it, the goal isn’t strong enough to fight off the distractions and allow you to keep a strong focus on your goal.
2. SMART goals are essential - This popular concept is based on the belief that any worthwhile goal needs to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable or Actionable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These factors are important because they contribute in large measure to your ultimate success.
3. Write down your goals - This is the underlying concept beneath vision boards, written affirmation statements, and several other tried-and-tested success techniques. The act of putting your goals on paper helps make them concrete and aids you in staying focused on your goals.
4. Create a plan of action - No goal is complete without the follow-through actions required to achieve it. Creating a plan of action gives you a clear roadmap of where you’re headed, and it will act as a compass to ensure that you’re going in the right direction.
5. Stay the course - In other words, focus on your goals by treating them as the only things that matter in your life. Halfway won’t cut it, and giving up because of distractions is one of the biggest reasons that 99% of the world’s population is left with unrealized goals and broken dreams. Be in the 1% rather than the 99%.
To summarize, the 5 important aspects of goal setting are as follows. Use this as a checklist whenever you’re setting goals for yourself:
Checklist for Goal Setting: How to Focus on Your Goals
|Have I set goals that will motivate me?|
|Are my goals SMART - Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timebound?|
|Are my goals written down?|
|Do I have a plan of action to achieve my goal?|
|Am I pursuing the goal relentlessly regardless of failure?|
The Process of Goal Setting
“Well begun is half done.” - Aristotle, Greek Philosopher
To ensure that you keep a strong focus on your goals until they are achieved, you can follow a set process. The advantage of following a stepwise method is that there is a very small chance of failing at something if it is well-thought-out and executed according to plan. In other words, plan your work and work your plan. But before the plan comes the goal itself? How do you go about setting a goal? Let’s have a look at how goal-setting works.
The 7 Steps of Setting and Achieving a Goal
The 7 Steps of Setting and Achieving a Goal
|Step 1||Make the Decision||Goal setting begins with a decision to do something, achieve something, or attain something. This is the seed for all the actions to follow. It is your feet firmly planted on the starting blocks of life’s ultimate race.|
|Step 2||Write Down the Goal||Make your goal tangible by writing it down and sticking it up so you’re forced to look at it several times a day - guilt is one of the strongest motivators aside from fear, love, and|
|Step 3||Advertise your Intention||Tell someone about your goal and why you’re keen on achieving it, but be sure that the person you’re telling is your supporter.|
|Step 4||Break it Down: Goals → Tasks → To-do List||Breaking down a goal into bite-sized pieces allows you to take baby steps rather than giant steps towards your ultimate destination.|
|Step 5||Plan the Steps||A clear plan of action is essential because it acts as your roadmap or GPS guidance system. It helps keep you on track.|
|Step 6||Take Action||There is no result without action, so whatever you have planned must be executed for the purpose of staying focused on your goals.|
|Step 7||Rinse and Repeat Until the Goal is Met||If your action fails to help you achieve the goal, don’t give up. Try again and again (perhaps with a different plan of action each time) until you reach the finish line. Then rinse and repeat this process for every goal you set in your life.|
How to Stay Motivated to Focus on Your Goals
Motivation is the fire underneath your ability to focus on your goals. This must necessarily come from within, not because of external factors. The reason for this is that external factors put tremendous pressure and stress on an individual; therefore, it is not the ideal way to get motivated to achieve your goals. Instead, use motivation as an internal engine to take you to your destination.
The Four Strongest Human Motivators
According to a metastudy of motivational research (metastudy or meta-analysis is the analysis of a group of research projects to find underlying trends and similarities), people are motivated to achieve their goals based on one of four elements collectively known as PINT:
Prominence -- Inclusiveness -- Negativity-prevention -- Tradition
In his paper titled 'A Theory on Human Motivation', American psychologist Abraham Maslow outlined his “hierarchy of needs”, which shows Esteem as one of the highest needs that a human being can strive to. It’s been called other things in various cultures: honor, dignity, integrity, and so on. Prominence is yet another word for it.
The need to make sure that everyone is treated equally can be a powerful motivator, and we see this in the form of selfless souls such as Mother Theresa. As much as she was a beloved benefactor to millions of society’s “misfits”, she was an intensely motivated person with exemplary leadership skills that would put any modern-day CEO to shame.
Source: Copyright owned by Karl Albrecht
This is quite possibly the greatest motivator of all because it is born out of fear. Although there are literally hundreds of types of fear, the five things that the majority of us dread are as follows:
Fear of shame or humiliation, or losing worth in the eyes of others
Fear of separation, rejection, abandonment, and isolation
Fear of losing our freedom or autonomy
Fear of mutilation or bodily harm or physical pain
Fear of death and ‘no longer being’ or ‘no longer in existence
Whether we realize it or not, tradition, in its many forms, puts a tremendous amount of psychological pressure on us to conform. The innate need to adhere to the norms set by our culture, our educational institutions, our governments, our religions, our politics, etc. is a massive motivational factor.
A Checklist to Stay Motivated When You Focus on Your Goals
According to Inc.com, there are no less than 19 different ways to stay motivated:
19 Ways to Help Maintain Focus on Goals - Motivators that Work!
|Visualize the end result|
|Reward minor achievements|
|Be optimistic through belief in yourself and your goal|
|Always maintain the fun element|
|Make success a choice, not an event|
|Try staying in the zone for longer|
|Starve your distractions; feed your goal|
|Latch on to the motivational power of deadlines|
|Eliminate procrastination by taking action now|
|Get yourself organized|
|Goals should be broken down into specific tasks|
|Be innovative about finding solutions to problems|
|Stay in a positive frame of mind|
|Look at the bigger picture when the present drags you down|
|Make a plan for every goal|
|Have a clear vision of what achieving your goal means|
|Define the goal in as clear terms as possible|
|Find out your ‘why’ for doing something|
Tools to Help you Focus on Your Goals
In the modern digital era, having the right tools to help you focus on your goals is almost as crucial as the goals themselves. So, leverage technology to serve your needs. Let’s look at a great example of this:
Wondershare Document Cloud
What Is It?
Wondershare Document Cloud is a highly collaborative cloud storage and file-sharing solution for PDF documents. It acts as a central repository for all documents related to your goals, and sharing files with others or being able to access them from any location allows you the freedom to carry your tools wherever you go.
Key Features of Wondershare Document Cloud
Secure PDF file storage of up to 100 GB
Enterprise-grade security to keep your files private to you and other invited users
Collaborative commenting with multiple users
Download and edit goal documents easily with Wondershare PDFelement
Create a digital signature to put on your goal statements - make it official!
Send documents to others for their signature and other information
Templates for checklists, planners, to-do lists, and much more are now available for free for all PDFelement Windows users at the newly launched Template Mall
Examples of Productivity Planner from the Template Mall in PDFelement:
How Can I Use It To Keep Focus on My Goals?
Use Document Cloud to store your vision board, list of goals, to-do lists, checklists, and other goal-related files:
Get more organized
Keep files in one place
Have them accessible from anywhere
Once they are stored digitally, you can do several things:
Share them securely with others
Get other people to sign off or comment on your personal vision and mission statements
Download them to any device for reading/editing/etc.
Be more accountable for your goals by sharing them with others:
Sharing your goals with mentors and other well-wishers allows them to root for you and support you
Openly declaring your goal to people who matter keeps you more motivated to keep the focus on your goal
Use Document Cloud for collaborative input from your mentors when working on goal-setting:
Let others help you set your goals
Getting a second or third POV doesn’t hurt
Your goals will be more well-defined and achievable
Keeping a strong focus on your goals not only allows you to climb any corporate or social ladder faster than others, and it helps you do it healthily and sustainably. The lessons you learn from one goal achievement experience can be applied to others down the road. As you mature in your path of setting and achieving higher and higher goals, you will ultimately learn that success is not a lottery; it is a journey comprising a series of accomplishments and achievements along the way to ultimate success.
It is within reach of everyone.
Even if your name happens to be Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso!
Good Luck! Focus on your goals one at a time and scale to heights you’ve never dared to dream of before. Wondershare wishes you a prosperous and goal-fulfilling journey ahead!