One of the biggest issues that most people face when they put their mind to pursuing their personal goals is lack of time and focus. This was exactly what was discussed by me with one of my clients last week during a Coaching call.
Have you at some point in your life tried working on a personal goal which you are sure will impact your life positively but postponed it in favour of more pressing matters at work and home? Well you are not alone, at least in this department. I have done this more number of times than I can count in the last decade.
If you are sitting on a personal goal then the best thing you can do start today and not wait for the elusive tomorrow which invariably never comes. Making time for a personal goal is something most of you would love to do even though you are hard pressed for time. The last thing you would want to do after a hard day at work or home is to just sit in front of the T.V and vegetate. How does one make time to work on your personal goal especially in times where ME time is a premium? There are some ways I have learnt over the years to pursue your personal goals some of which are –
Make sure you really want it: As they say inclination is not good enough but the hunger to do something is what is required. It is one thing to say that you want to wake up early or spend more time with family etc… But it has to be something that you really want. Ask yourself why you want to achieve this goal and how much you want it. Figure out your motivations. That’s important to do early on or you won’t make time for it.
Make it your top priority: We all have more pressing things in our lives which we tend to focus on but unless this personal goal which you are trying to work on does not occupy the top 2-3 list in your priority list then things will not roll. Unless there is a clear priority list in front of us you will not make time for this. There’s only 24 hours in a day for all of us. At some point you got to prioritize and if you make your goal your top priority then you’ll make the time for it.
Keep things simple: I am a big believer in making things simpler because simplicity is uncomplicated and it is easier to navigate our way through when things are simpler. It’s important that we don’t make our personal goal too complicated. You don’t want to have a huge list of things to do in order to accomplish your goal. You’ll be overwhelmed. Instead, focus on a smaller sub-goal that will lead you to your bigger goal. If you have a goal to be more proactive, for example, then work on the small sub goals around it which will help you be more proactive. What I have learnt in this journey of life through Confucius words is “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated”.
Stay focused: One of the most difficult things when it comes to achieving goals is maintaining our focus on that goal. It’s easy to become obsessed with something else and when we lose focus, we suddenly stop making time for the goal. Instead find visual cues to maintain that focus. Why visual? Well in my experience I have seen that Goals in a Visual form are always more impactful. Some of the things that you can do is to put up posters, desktop wallpapers or even visual reminders on your Smartphone or tablet. Inform people who care for you about your personal goal and in this way you are accountable and more focused.
Make time for this: Once the above steps are in place then you need to work towards making time for this Goal. This is a critical cog in the wheel and you have to figure out sometime during the day or night when you are the most agile and active. For some it might be early in the morning or for others it might be later in the evening. Whatever time you are making time ensure that you are not disturbed and distracted. Usually 20-30 minutes is what the idle time is for working on any particular goal. For some it might be more or less depending on the Goal itself and your schedule.
Make it your most important appointments: The block of time which you have made should be taken as seriously as the time you make for a doctor’s appointment or a conference call. I spend couple of hours in the evening for myself either working out or swimming. I will not allow anything to disrupt this schedule. For me other than an appointment with a client this is the second most important appointment for the day.
Become more serious on the goal: If you are not serious about your personal goal then no one would be. Make it known to the world that you are passionate about it and write out your goal. Be very specific about what will be the outcome. I have told this before. Written goals have a way of transforming wishes into wants; cant’s into cans; dreams into plans; and plans into reality. Don’t just think it — ink it!
Make it a part of you: This is important to keep the goal going for a long period of time. If it’s a goal you can complete in a week, you don’t need to do this step. The most worthwhile goals are ones that take time to accomplish and for those, you’ll need to make it part of your daily routine. Some goals will need to be daily — say, regular exercise, positive mindset, become more disciplined etc… . Find a time in your daily routine where you will always do this activity. Don’t let yourself lose focus. Put it immediately after something that’s already firmly ingrained in your routine — say showering or brushing your teeth or arriving at work — so that you won’t forget to do it. For other personal goals a weekly schedule will be better — say making a weekly savings deposit or a debt payment or a weekend run — put this on your schedule and have a reminder sent to you so that you don’t forget it.
Working on personal goals is something which is very much within your control. You might be in a bad Job,relationship or even a bad marriage but by not working on your personal goals you are not helping yourself. You are only worsening the situation you are already in. The least you can do to yourself is to take control of the sails and work immediately on your personal goals. I do hope some of you would have realized the importance of your personal goals during these stressful times. I would love to hear from some of you on my Face book Fan page. If you do find this article useful do share it amongst others who might also be benefited.