We all want to reach our goals. We've got exciting plans, cool projects and important things we want to accomplish.
Maybe you want to start a business, get skilled at something or get your finances under control. Or you might want to eat healthier, exercise regularly or start a morning meditation habit.
The sad thing is that many of us just aren't reaching our goals. We take a few steps and then stop. We promise ourselves we'll take up a new habit or routine – we last a few days, maybe a week, and then we're back to our old ways.
We forget, we get distracted. We come up against too many obstacles. We feel overwhelmed by all the tasks involved. Life gets busy. Old habits take precedence over the new habits we really need to cultivate.
How can we radically improve our success in reaching our goals?
Here are the 3 high-impact habits you should cultivate if you want to achieve your goals. The reason many of us don't reach our objectives faster is because we're usually doing the opposite of these essential habits.
1. The Habit of Focus
Develop single-minded focus.
There are a lot of reasons behind a lack of focus – busy schedules, an inability to say "˜no', choosing immediate pleasure over long-term rewards, time-consuming responsibilities, time-consuming people (red alert!) and other reasons.
If we want to reach our goals, we need to do something different. We have to stop zig-zagging all over. We have to give up "start-stop-maybe later". We need laser-like focus.
Work on one thing at a time. Completing tasks is vital to feeling motivated and successful. It feels unsettling to have a list of half-finished or barely-started goals, projects and tasks. Commit to the task that's in front of you. Take it to completion.
Minimize distractions. You already know which ones. Entertainment, email, social media and sometimes even certain people. Yes, even funny cat videos (well, save those for the weekend maybe).
"Focus means saying "˜no' to everything while working on your task, project or goal. Block out the world and say "˜yes' to the task in front of you."
Develop both short-term and long-term focus. Short-term focus helps you with your immediate tasks and long-term focus is what directs you to keep giving attention and energy to your long-term goals.
When you apply long-term focus, you're committing to something over the long haul. You might only spend a few days a week on your goal, but over a period of several months, you keep dedicating time to your goal on a regular basis.
2. The Habit of Determination
Cultivate relentless determination.
Imagine a hungry dog in your kitchen and you've placed a big, juicy steak on the counter, just slightly out of his reach. He becomes a slobbering mess in anticipation of this perfect treat. That dog is going to try again and again to get that steak. He'll try all day, he wants it that badly.
That's determination. You need to be that slobbering, hungry dog.
Ok, maybe I've gone too far with that one, but cultivating determination is essential if we want to make faster progress. Determination = intensity. It's heat. Passion. Hunger.
Quite often, we'll only make one or two attempts at something new or difficult. When we don't get quick results, we label our efforts (and ourselves) as a failure. The real problem is we just gave up too soon.
Whatever you're working on, commit to it. And each day, commit to it just a little bit more. Keep coming back to it and don't let it out of your sight.
Remind yourself daily why you want your goals. Vividly imagine all the positive benefits you'll get and how amazing you'll feel once you've opened your first business or become conversational in Italian or started your morning Yoga routine.
This will be the fuel that drives your determination. Drink up. Slobbering is optional.
3. The Habit of Continual Improvement
Make small, steady improvements.
Learning, growth and skill development usually happen over a period of time. We don't have to be immediately amazing at something.
If you focus on making incremental improvements every time you work on your tasks and goals, before you know it, you will be skilled at your task, perhaps even highly-skilled.
Each time you're doing an activity, review what didn't work. Resolve to do something different. Make adjustments. Refine your process.
Do this again and again every time and you'll see that your confidence and skill level will grow massively.
By this time next year, you could very well be a tightrope-walking, fire-eating opera singer. Or whatever your goals might be. Am I the only one going for that one?
These three habits work together. They all complement and augment each other.
Think how powerful your actions will be once you become focused, determined and are continually making small improvements. You'll be an unstoppable force.
Going after your goals doesn't have to be a painful process. In fact, using these high-impact habits, you'll even enjoy tackling your goals and blowing past obstacles. So go for it. Your goals are worth it.
What's been your biggest challenge in reaching your goals? How do you stay focused, determined and in a mode of continually improving? Let me know in the comments section below. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!