Monday, November 30, 2009

Focus on the Goal

What happens when you take your eye off the goal?

Well, that's when you see--and get distracted by--all of the obstacles.

That's why maintaining your focus is so very important.

Of course, generally, it is easy to keep your focus on something you enjoy. However, when you are working toward a goal, it becomes more difficult to maintain that focus. After all, a goal is not something you can hold in your hand. It's intangible, even if it's a physical object, because it is something you do not yet have.

As such, it's easy to allow yourself to be distracted by the obstacles you encounter in reaching that goal. It is hard to keep your eyes on your goal when you are maneuvering around orange cones. The orange cones cry out for your attention--that's why they are brightly colored, after all. And, while you do need to mind those orange cones, you also have to realize that, eventually, they will come to an end.

It may not be smooth driving, but if you pull off the side of the road or turn back, you will not reach your destination. It may be that the orange cones create such a distraction that you wonder if it's even worth it.

But, that's something you should decide before hitting the road. If your goal is not worthwhile, why waste gas? On the other hand, if your goal is worthwhile, then you must keep pushing forward. You must drive on. You must get past those orange cones.

And, sooner or later, they will pass.

Just so long as you keep moving forward.

Of course, it's easier to keep an objective in mind when driving, but it's not as easy when you're sitting in the office or working outside in the cold--or whatever it is you do--while working toward a goal. The goal is not as easy to visualize. It's abstract, not concrete like a destination when driving.

That's why some people use a goal board, and place it in a prominent location. It's simply a collage of pictures that represents or illustrates your goal. This is something you can periodically turn to in order to stay focused on your goal. Think of it as a roadmap of sorts, as it represents where you are headed.

If you cannot place it somewhere at work, then an alternative is to place it somewhere where you can look at it before heading out to work in the morning. Or, keep it in your car, so you can look at it before heading to work and at your lunch hour if you need added focus during the day. (Just don't look at it while driving!)

With a goal board (which can be a full-fledged board or something as simple as a folded piece of paper you keep in your pocket), you can better maintain your focus so that, even when you encounter those orange cones, you can keep your mind focused on the goal.

And focus can also help you beat procrastination—another goal killer. (But that will be a topic for another post!)

For some exercises on maintaining your focus, please check out my article on "3 Exercises to Improve Your Focus."

Until next time...
Believe. Act. Achieve!