How to remain focused on your goals during times of uncertainty
Updated: Dec 22, 2021
As individuals, we all experience things differently based on our perceptions, view of the world and people in it, and our unique life experiences. To help you remain focused on your goals, it is essential that we first understand precisely what is getting in the way. Although we may be all going through a global pandemic and economic crisis, the reality is that we have all been impacted in very different ways.
The best way to gain a clearer understanding of what is impacting your ability to stay focused on your goals is to start by increasing your self-awareness.
1) Self-awareness comprises your belief system, values, thoughts, feelings, emotions, energy level, and much more. When you fail to recognize and address what might be impacting these factors, it isn't easy to remain engaged in life, focused and, motivated to move forward. For example, when you are feeling fear and are uncertain about the future, you might become paralyzed and not take any action.
When you can gain insight on what influences your thoughts and feelings, you'll have the ability to decide what you want to change to serve you better.
"Our thinking drives our behaviors; our thoughts determine our moods and our moment-to-moment experience of life and our actions.”
Anytime you are not at your best, something is getting in the way and blocking your ability to engage in life and feel fulfilled fully.
Below, I describe a few factors that might have a positive or negative impact on your current state of mind and on your ability to stay focused:
Spiritual: this includes your purpose, beliefs, values, gifts, goals, and desires.
What this might look like: you have a job where the company culture is not aligned with your values, and you find yourself having to take actions against your beliefs and values. This causes internal conflict, stress, and resentment, and therefore you might be disengaged and unhappy at work and home.
Mental: when a job is either tedious or highly complex or when conflicting demands cause you to lose focus, you struggle to prioritize tasks. An example could be: you are now working from home instead of commuting to the office, trying to establish a new daily routine without distinguishing boundaries for work/life balance.
Emotional: when you feel as if your needs and desires are not being fulfilled by what you are doing or don’t know how to deal with emotions effectively. How this might show up for you: you are in a relationship where the other person's only concern is their own wellbeing. You may feel as though your needs are not being met.
Physical: your awareness of what your body is telling you and how proactive you are in taking care of your physical self. An example of this could be that you have experienced higher than normal stress levels and resort to a nightly drink or two to overcome it.
Social: having the right amount and type of interactions with others. Being surrounded by like-minded people who are excited about similar things as you are. There is no need for examples here, as we have all been impacted socially in one way or another, with distancing, quarantine, and restrictions of social gatherings.
Environmental: clutter, weather, settings, surroundings, technology. How this might be impacting you could be: learning new technology, working in the same place as living, having to share limited working spaces with family, etc.
Understanding each of these factors and how they impact your overall ability to engage in life and stay focused is the first step in creating your strategy for success.
What I found to be most beneficial for my clients and even myself to increase self-awareness is to practice journaling.
Do a journaling exercise each evening for the next 14 days.
Ask yourself the following questions:
What am I feeling, physically?
What emotions am I experiencing?
What thoughts am I having?
When I feel and think this way, what actions do I take?
Once you have these insights and you can be aware of those factors impacting your emotions, feelings, and ability to stay focused on your goals, you can decide what you want to change or not.
“New insights can lead to a shift in thinking, behaviors and, results.”
A great strategy to help you overcome these challenges is to write a proposed solution or plan for each factor impacting you the most. Sometimes, we get stuck in situations that could be solved because we don't take the time to pause and come up with better options or solutions. Or we think that the pain of addressing the issue might be more daunting than the actual problem, and therefore we resort to avoidance only to later discover that not addressing the issue is eating us up.
I encourage you to have tough conversations, practice saying no to things and people who no longer serve you, and avoid staying focused on your goals.
"Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." The serenity prayer.
2) Find the why behind the goal. How many times have you practiced setting new year's resolutions, only to give up by the time mid-February rolls around? This is an example of why finding the reason behind the goal is essential in order to stay committed to achieving it. Think of a time when you achieved a goal... What made you stay committed? What helped you stay focused? More likely, you can pinpoint why that particular goal was essential to you.
If we don’t take the time to understand the motivation behind a goal and why it is important to us, we set ourselves up for failure.
Next, listen to the language you use when describing a goal:
I should, Ichancesneed to, or I have to, are derived by external influence. Therefore, chancesthe are that your motivation for these goals came from someone else’s idea, peer influence, or perhaps your own into what influences your thoughts and feelings. You'll have the ability to decide what you want to change your inner critic. You are not fully bought into these goals.
I want, I would love or dream of, coming from internal motivation, from your very core. Therefore, you are more likely to stay focused and motivated to achieve these because you are entirely bought into them.
Last, Be very specific about what you want your outcome to be:
What are your desired results?
What will you feel when you achieve this goal?
How will your life be different?
How is this goal aligned with your values?
By getting really clear, specific, and fully understand why you want to achieve a goal, you will stay focused and committed to achieving it.
3) Plan, follow up and adjust your goals. Create some consistency by planning to review your goals on a specific day of the week. Sundays work best, and I find it easier to stay consistent on my planning and follow-up.
During your planning session, find times to plug in the activities to get you closer to your goal. When you are intentional about utilizing your time, you are more likely to stay committed.
Don't beat yourself up when things don't go as planned or fail to execute. Take time to review your plan, check if you are realistic with your timelines and expectations, and re-work your plan as necessary.
4) Get support: when you have big goals to accomplish or die-hard habits to beat, there's nothing better than a sound support system to help you stay focused and motivated.
Share your goals with friends and family, get them involved and ask them specifically how and what kind of support you need from them.
Join a group that shares similar goals; for example, if you start a business, you might want to explore joining an entrepreneurship mastermind group.
Get help from a coach, one of the first things I do with my clients is to review their goals and create innovative plans to help them achieve them. If you are curious to learn more about how I can support you in staying focused and motivated to achieve your goals, book a complimentary call with me today.
I hope you are walking away feeling focused, energized, and ready to get back on track with your goals. If you found this article helpful, please share it with someone you know that can use some inspiration.
I would love to hear from you! Comment below and share your thoughts...