The Simple Secret
to Achieving Your Goals: Focus
Focusing is the process of bringing together resources to accomplish
a goal. First you need a strategic plan. Then you need focus to carry
yourself through each step of that plan. Focusing is most important
when the task at hand is difficult, unusual, and/or prolonged.
Focusing is difficult because there are so many interests clamoring
for our attention. It’s easy to be distracted and forget about your
goals for a time, but if you don’t focus and concentrate, you waste
away valuable resources.
The crucial element is having something to focus on. That something
is called a goal. Without a goal, the mind wanders and becomes situation-oriented,
responding to the environment rather than to an internal sense of
focus. People fail to focus because they:
Set the wrong goals. Although many people think they have
goals, they really don’t. They have not clarified the goals in a detailed,
Don’t know how to reach their goals. Their methods of attaining
them often are inadequate.
Lack interest in their goals. People who set goals to please
others don’t care if they never achieve them.
Wonder if their goals are still valid.
Discover that their goals are no longer attainable.
It’s Not Easy to Focus
Focusing is a problem for
People who are anxious. They often realize that their goals
are eating up more time and energy than they are worth. This may be
true for you if you are easily distracted or you distract yourself
with compulsive cleaning, phone-calling, reading the newspaper, plant-watering
all symptomatic activities designed to relieve the anxiety.
Underachievers. They don’t focus because they fear the outcome
will result in fear and rejection. Paradoxically, they may also fear
success and acceptance because they think they won’t always be able
to live up to other’s further expectations.
People who are very involved with their feelings. They need
to learn how to reflect on and control their emotions. Although feelings
are important (goals are born in feelings) it takes thinking and logic
to make their goals realistic.
Disenchanted people. They refuse to compete, and they reject
the entire goal-setting process. Many such people, disillusioned with
the American way of life, are still living in the 1960’s. They are
unhappy, but they don’t know how to change without giving up their
Overachievers. They can become addicted to the focusing process
because it’s very reinforcing. There’s such immediate gratification
in setting a strategy and reaching a goal that they don’t notice what
achieving an ever-increasing set of goals will cost them.
How To Stay In Focus
Soliciting feedback is the best way to find out if your goals and
your strategies are realistic. It’s important to check with people
you respect as your toward a goal.
You also need to review your goals regularly to make sure they’re
still in focus. As in action photography, you may be moving around
a moving target and unless you refocus continuously, you’ll lose