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Alternative Ways To Focus On Your Goals

Alternative Ways To Focus On Your Goals

If you’re bored of hearing about goal setting, or are frustrated that you’re not meeting your goals, then these alternative ways to focus on your goals will be of interest to you. In fact, Nir Eyal, for Psychology Today says that you should not set goals, which initially I thought was highly controversial. Reading on though, I realised that what he is saying does actually make a lot of sense. We often set ourselves unrealistic goals, or goals that we won’t enjoy working towards, so he recommends rather than setting goals we should create productive habits which make our lives more enjoyable.

Alternative Ways To Focus On Your Goals

Step 1: Have no goals
Now I’m not saying setting goals never works. I’m saying it only works in certain contexts. In situations where someone else is asking you for output, like at work, goals are critical. Goals are also helpful when training to become an expert. However, most of us aren’t shooting to become world-class experts. You’re likely not struggling in competition with others, but with yourself.You are really confused right now, aren’t you? Everything you’ve learned about getting what you want in life has centered on the importance of setting goals. You’ve probably heard that you should always start with the ends goals first. I beg to differ.

See if any of these goals ring a bell:

“I’m going to lose 20 pounds by summer.”

“I’m going to run a marathon.”

“I’m not eating carbs for a month.”

How did those work out for you? Did any of these goals make your life better in the long run? Yeah, I didn’t think so. That’s because these kinds of goals aren’t optimizing for what’s really important, namely living an enjoyable life.

I call these kinds of goals “BUT Goals” because they are Big, Un-fun, and Time-boxed. These kinds of goals add misery to your life and people are biologically programmed to avoid things that cause them pain. If your goals are not enjoyable, you’ll quit. Therefore, when creating a productive habit, remember: hard work doesn’t work, so dump the goals.

Instead, forget the end destination and begin a journey. Your journey must be enjoyable, endless and easy. It is along a journey that your productive habits will form. A journey sounds something like this:

“I want to cultivate a love of exercise.”

“I want to learn to enjoy building wealth.”

“I want to enhance my enjoyment of time with my family.”

You’ll never complete these journeys and that’s exactly the point. It is only through consistent practice that you will actually form habits and fulfill your potential. What you do along the journey is less important; you’ll figure that out as you go. The important thing is to keep walking the journey free from the pressure of completing a specific goal. But how can your ensure you keep walking your journey?

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These alternative ways to focus on your goals are probably great for some goals, but not for others. If for example, your goal is to make £5,000 per month in 6 months time, then this financial target will help you to break down what you need to do in order to reach that goal. I’m not sure creating habits like “I want to learn to enjoy building wealth” as he suggests will be so effective. How will you break down your journey? How will you plan your days/weeks? What do you think?


A Mentor Will Help You Focus And Reach Your Goals

Over the last couple of years whilst trying and testing various different ideas, more and more, I come across the advice that a mentor will help you focus and reach your goals. When you work for a large organisation, this is often included in training programs. However, when you work for yourself this is not so easily achieved – or at least, the idea of a mentor does not always seem obvious.  Here, the most powerful woman in Wall Street, Karen Peetz, talks about her success and how she would not have reached her level of success unless she set goals and had a mentor.

Mentor For Goal Setting And FocusSpeaking from a noisy airport lounge in Rome, Peetz reiterates a final tip: “Setting goals is definitely the single biggest factor to whatever success I’ve had.

“I was pretty hard on myself, still am, to say, what should I be able to accomplish personally and professionally this year, what’s realistic, but also, if I haven’t done it, if I haven’t got that next promotion or whatever, what am I going to do about it?”

When it comes to work/life balance, she says perfect balance is a myth and it’s more about ebb and flow. She advises sitting down with your family so that everyone can share their goals and become aware of how to help each other succeed.

To peals of laughter at the ceremony, Peetz said visitors were best to avoid her household over Christmas unless they were ready to share the households goals.

“Call us a little performance-orientated,” she joked, “but every new year we each set personal, family and career goals and then we also rate each other on how we did last year.” She says it’s about focusing on the possibilities and not on the barriers, adding being clear with your family and yourself is key.

“Let go of any guilt or ambivalence. Just get clear with your spouse and your family. Say ‘This is what I want to do, I’m going to incorporate everybody’s needs, I’m not going to do this selfishly’ – but not being held back by your own ambivalence, I think that’s a very important thing for women to do as early as possible so they don’t waste time in different stages where the competition is gaining on them.”

She encourages all women in positions of power to share their skills through mentoring. In her own company there are 50 mentoring and networking chapters for women around the globe, including one in Dublin, spearheaded by WXN (Women’s Executive Network) member and managing director of BNY Fund Services Ireland, Ann Fogarty.

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Whether you’re man or woman, work for yourself or for someone else, it seems clear that a mentor will help you focus and reach your goals. I can relate to the idea of sharing goals with family – and friends.  Sharing them with others also puts the extra pressure on  to make them happen.


Stay Focused And Avoid Daily Distractions

We’re in a world surrounded by interruptions; people, texts, emails, phone calls and more recently social media. If these distractions aren’t enough, then something else around the corner will better occupy our mind than the task in hand. Here, Deirde Woollard explains how to stay focused and avoid daily distractions.

Switch Focus: The ability to switch focus takes practice, and sometimes, a little help. The trick is to stop multitasking. Don’t try to handle more than one thing at once; rather, train your focus in one direction, and switch tracks only when the first task or objective is completed.

I think it’s all about planning. If you start the day with an objective, then you can write it down and focus on that objective or, say 3 objectives. I particulalry like the point about using a timer so you allocate yourself a specific time period to complete a certain task. Stay focused and avoid daily distractions by planning; get focused, stay focused and switch focus.

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