Our last blog of 2015 addressed how you can make New Year’s resolutions really meaningful … and make them really count for something. It addressed the needed ingredient of a definitive plan built around 4 keys that make the difference between being successful … or not. Great! So I’m going to pretend that this hit home with at least some of you readers and here we are … 2016 and raring to go!
But wait! Because we’re talking about goals for the year … rather long-term given that it’s 12 months away, there is one significant ingredient necessary for your efforts to be realized as intended. That is your ability to be in and maintain focus. It has everything to do with achieving anything we set out to do and the further away the intended goal … the greater the opportunity for distractions will only serve to get in the way of our success.
An article written by the editorial team of ‘MindTools’ defined focus as:
“… Your ability to center your attention and energy on a specific task, object, or activity, for a sustained length of time.
It’s often quite simple to focus on short-term tasks and goals, because you see results quickly, and this helps to keep your motivation levels high. However, it’s much more difficult to focus on goals that might take months, years or decades to realize. One reason for this is that you may lose sight of what you want to achieve, and why. It can also be difficult to recognize and measure progress on longer-term goals, especially in the early stages. This means that it’s easy to get distracted by shorter-term priorities, and by other projects that seem more exciting. However, the ability to focus in the long term is a key skill for anyone who wants to be successful.
In coaching we often work with a client to help them define specific and realistic goals around which they devise their workable plan to achieve them. And although their desire and intent is clear and present there are several things that tend to be blips within their screen that divert attention elsewhere and take them off track. Here are a few. Maybe you’ll see yourself in some of them:
- Blip # 1
We get a telephone call or hear the tone of an incoming email … at the same time you’re trying to work through a particularly challenging aspect of your ‘plan. What do we do? We take the call or open and respond to the email and why? Because we can and it’s comparatively easy when we feel a bit stuck in working a part of our plan.
- Blip # 2
A co-worker stops by wanting just a second of our time and in the name of being ‘nice’ and wanting to be helpful, we stop what we’re doing on the plan and become side-tracked on something totally unrelated. “Why” we ask ourselves? Because we want to help others achieve their tasks and being honest … the plan we’re prodding forward on is a challenge. Why not take a break and be helpful? Step aside plan!
- Blip # 3
We remember something we promised to send to a customer or client and realize that we should do this now while thinking of it even though it’s not due this moment. But what the heck … we’ll get it to them on the early side and honestly … we’ll accomplish something positive and avoid the struggle we’re having in executing our plan that will elevate our success.
- Blip # 4
We know that executing our plan is going to be a challenge. Why? Because we have a history of not maintaining focus and because the plan calls for me doing things that are just and simply uncomfortable for me. At least we’re honest and maybe with time we’ll get more comfortable and follow through. So great! We’ve just given ourselves the pass that threatens to undermine what we have designed for ourselves and actually achieving it.
The more we can sensitize ourselves to recognize reoccurring ‘blips’ that serve to vie for our attention, we have the ability to see them as distractions that can get in the way of looking back on our year as an accomplished one. 2016 … a year in which we set out specific intended achievements, created the plan to accomplish them and then did so! Now that’s a memorable year and our wish for YOU!