Sometimes goals can feel elusive and they can slip through your fingers over time, in a world that is filled with constant distractions and temptations to detract from them. Thus, a little bit of extra effort to refocus on our goals can sometimes be required. Here’s a ‘how-to’ guide to help make refocusing on your goals a positive exercise for unleashing your personal potential.
Firstly, when we discuss goals, it is easy to forget exactly what a goal should be. A goal is an aspiration, something that takes effort to achieve and if it is aspirational it makes sense that it shouldn’t be easy. However, it also should not be a burden. To be effective a goal should inspire, motivate and guide you towards the outcome (or even life) you desire. It is helpful to recognise that “in life, if you want to get things done, it is much better to be powerful than to be forceful” (Bernard Roth 2015).
A goal therefore, is a powerful driving force for a successful life. Goals that are framed in a positive light inspire us to actually follow through on them. Not only does positivity increase motivation, but also increases self-confidence and resilience towards setbacks (Beth Cabreran & Steve Gladis 2013). By setting both short-term and long-term goals and consequently refocusing on them, this creates a connection with yourself and the things that are important to you and prepares you for success in all areas of life.
Your Goals Redefined
According to Paul J. Meyer, outlining the various parts of life is important for efficiently categorising your goals in a manner that corresponds with their completion. By splitting your goals into 5 separate categories, you will be able to enhance the potential for success. These categories are; Career & Business, Finance, Intellect, Relationships (platonic and romantic) and Health & Physical .
Below are some examples that have been reworded to demonstrate the approach that should be taken when writing your goals. You can see how by simply altering the tone, you should be able to visualise the completion of that goal more vividly and this ability to visualise what it would be like to have completed your goal is key to success (see our video on The Power Of Visualisation For Realising Your Dreams).
Career & Business
Before: I want to be promoted in 6 months time.
After: I will get that promotion/dream job in 6 months.
Before: I want to start saving more.
After: I will have saved 10% of my goal by the end of the year.
Before: I want to speak French.
After: I will be proficient in French for my holiday this summer.
Before: I hope to see my long distance sibling more often.
After: I will see my long distance sibling once a month.
Health & Physical
Before: I want to do a half marathon soon.
After: I will complete my first half marathon before the end of this year.
The wording of the above examples is written in the active rather than the passive. By substituting the words ‘I Want’ and ‘I Hope’ with ‘I Will,’ it shifts the mentality to an imperative tone that will help you stay focused on your goals and hold yourself accountable. You can also eliminate vagueness by implementing a timeframe for completing the goal for added ownership by having a deadline.
Your Goals Refocussed
Adopting specific goal-oriented habits will improve your desire and capacity to achieve your goals in order to re-align your daily life with your ambitions more effectively. Here are some recommendations of how to refocus your goals in practice.
Finding your productive time of day
Everyone is more productive at different times of the day. As a result, it’s critical to figure out when you are most productive and build a routine around that. For example, I find I am most productive between 10pm-2am and am able to do my most quality work and make the most progress on my tasks during this time. As a result, my everyday routine revolves around my working hours. Adapting and better understanding oneself is key to refocusing on your goals.
Drilling down on the previous point, refocussing on your goals requires a greater understanding of your goals and yourself. When you are in the shower, you can think more creatively and gain a greater understanding of your objectives. Dopamine production is enhanced when we take a warm shower, according to neuroscientist Alice Flaherty, which means our brains are filled with brilliant ideas! As a result, I recommend trying to record a voice memo with your shower thoughts afterward in case you come up with some particularly wise insights.
Noting down method
As some goals can feel very far off (e.g. I will get that promotion/dream job in 6 months), it can be beneficial to note down each time you get closer to that goal. This can be done either on your mobile or in a little notebook you can carry with you. By doing this, you are increasing your motivation and your desire to succeed and also recognising that achieving larger goals is made up of many small little wins.
Your Goals Reclaimed
By taking active steps towards the completion of realistic goals, you are able to refocus on exactly why you want them. These goals are designed to keep you motivated, inspired and moving forward. Hopefully, you can imagine yourself as the person you want to be and guide yourself towards that ideal. A socially intelligent person understands that “their primary relationship is with themselves, and they work on it tirelessly” (Weist 2017, p.33). It is this ‘tireless work’ that leads you to success. Thus, by refocusing on your goals, you are putting in the necessary work to reach your greatest potential in all aspects of life.
– Roth, B. (2015). The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life. California: HarperCollins.
– Cabrera, B. & Gladis, S. (2013, April 09). How Positivity Leads to Success. The Association for Talent Development (ATD). https://www.td.org/insights/how-positivity-leads-to-success
– Ely, E. (2009). ‘Scientist at Work: Alice W. Flaherty: From Bipolar Darkness, the Empathy to Be a Doctor’ The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/17/science/17prof.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
– Wiest, B. (2017). 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think. Williamsburg: Thought Catalog Books.
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