Staying on track with your goals.

If you are like me, and pretty much everyone else on the planet, then you get constantly distracted in the pursuit of your goals. Here are a few tips I have to help you stay focused:

    1. Concentrate on 1-3 major goals.

      If you constantly have trouble keeping to your goals, maybe you’re spreading yourself too thin. Pick 1-3 goals that are most important to you, and stick with those. Don’t bother yourself with anything else until these are achieved. Of course, if your priorities change, these will need to be adjusted.

      My top priority goal is to write 1.2 million words this year, so I ensure all my daily actions lead up to this one goal. The majority of my time in the week is spent writing, planning for the next days words and even the next weeks. When I am writing, I like to know step by step where I am going.

    2. Create a vision board

      A vision board is a collage of pictures and images that represent your goals and dreams. Creating a vision board helps you to visualize your end goals more clearly, which inevitably inspires you to take consistent action. Not only that, it also serves to remind you of your goals every day when you see the board. I have a corkboard in my office with my goals laid out in visual ways to help keep me motivated.

    3. Create milestones

      If you just set one huge goal, it can be a bit discouraging – especially when you don’t achieve it after a short while. When that happens, some people may procrastinate on the goal altogether. I find it helpful to break big goals into a series of smaller ones, after which you concentrate on achieving the smaller goals in the short-run. Just like when you go on a long road-trip – You set pit-stops to rest throughout the trip.

    4. Create a plan

      If you have a plan worked out for your goal, it becomes much easier to stick to it. All you have to do is to follow the actions you have planned out for the day. The best time to work out your plan is when you set the goal, because that’s usually when your motivation is the highest. I create my goal action plans right after I set my goal, after which I take action immediately – which helps create a positive momentum.

    5. Track your results

      It’s important for me to track the results of what I do, because otherwise it feels like my actions are not making a difference. Hence, every time I work on a goal, I will identify 1-2 performance metrics, then track those metrics daily/weekly. Usually this involves tracking time spent writing, and my actual output of words. They are my connection to the end goal, because they let me know whether I’m on track or off track, which in turn lets me know whether to tweak my actions or not.

    6. Have goal buddies

      Goal buddies are people who share similar goals with you. They help to remind you about your goal, spur you on when you feel unmotivated, and give you new ideas on how to achieve your goal. Your goal buddies can be your friends, or people whom you meet in interest groups. I have a wonderful group of friends all around the country and we have a daily email thread where we help keep each other on track.

    7. Start a journal documenting your goal pursuit

      Having a blog or private diary to document your goal pursuit can be a therapeutic experience. A lot of times, we abandon our goals because we get frustrated mid-way and we are not sure what to do about that. However, when we write out our thoughts, it helps us to get clarity on our issues and renews our interest in the goal.

    8. Be clear on why you’re pursuing the goals

      If you keep giving up on your goals halfway, perhaps you were never serious in them to begin with. For me, if I’m really serious about a goal, I’d never give up on it – I’d keep hammering away at it, regardless of the obstacles, until they give way and I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor.

    9. Learn to say no

      This is a tough one for a lot of people. Do you often put your goals aside for other people? It’s okay to do that once or twice, but if you keep doing it all the time, then something is seriously wrong. You can’t forever put your life on hold for others! I used to have trouble saying no to others, until I realized I was just doing myself and my dreams a disfavor when I say yes to something that’s not what I want.

      Sometimes saying no doesn’t mean saying it to people. It could mean saying no to that rerun of Doctor Who, or laying out in the sunshine.

Your goals need to be all important to you, or they will never be met. Can it be painful? Sure, But anything worth achieving is worth a bit of discomfort. Your true friends will understand if you can’t hang out with them all the time. And they will be there at the end to help you celebrate!

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