Monday, March 18, 2013

To Reach Your Goals, Avoid Distractions

If you don't decide what to do with your life, someone else will decide for you. 

Whether we know it or not, we all have goals, in life. Goals give us direction, focus, and something to work for in life, but so often we seem to get distracted from reaching these goals. Distractions are ever-present in our society - the constant flow of information, entertainment, and the influence of others can overwhelm our ability to think clearly and move forward toward our goals. I have observed that many people simply do not reach their full potential, and this is often due to distraction.

Ask Three Simple Questions:
To overcome distractions, I have found that asking the following questions are extremely helpful. These questions are designed to help you clarify your goals and help you move forward toward what you really want.
  1. What is my goal? What do I really want out of this meeting, this day, this conversation, this life? The goal here is to help you keep a focus on what you really want to achieve.
  2. Is what I am doing now helping me reach my goal? Think of how your current thoughts and actions are contributing or distracting from your goal.
  3. If not, what can I do right now that will help me reach my goal? Focus yourself on activities that will help you reach your goals.
Obvious Distractions
Here is a set of obvious distractions that might be keeping you from your goals:
  • Mindless facebook time or internet surfing
  • Purposeless television-watching
  • Frivolous chatting or gossiping with coworkers
These kinds of activities are important and can relieve stress, but if used excessively, they can totally distract from your own purposes and goals, and in time you may lose your ability to succeed at what you really desire.

Less Obvious Distractions
The previous examples are pretty obvious, but here are some examples that you might not have considered before. These examples are more internally oriented in nature and are not as easy to monitor, but they are definitely distractions.
  • Worrying about what other people think of you
  • Worrying that someone might say no (or yes!) to your requests
  • Allowing personality conflicts or issues to distract you from the goal
I have noticed that people (myself included) often allow their pride and their insecurity to get in the way of their goals. I have seen rooms filled with very well-educated people become emotionally charged that nothing is accomplished and the goal remains unfulfilled.

So, try out the three questions above and see if they help you keep your focus on your goals.

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