Anyone can come up with a goal, but not everyone has the ability to achieve it. For that to happen, you need to take action first. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. (Oh there will be plenty more cliche’s come!)
Goals are not like dreams or prayers. You cannot just close your eyes and wish for it to happen. You have to do something. And often getting started is the hardest part.
You need to learn how to ignore distraction. Distractions like Facebook, Netflix or anything else your mind will create to avoid the task at hand.
Perhaps in a perfect world, no person would be subjected to distraction when trying to accomplish a goal. But this is reality, and distraction comes in all shapes and sizes.
Sometimes, distraction comes from within. This is the worst obstacle of all because how do you ignore something that lives inside your mind or heart? This is when motivation kicks in. As the old adage goes, when the going gets tough, the going gets tougher. (That’s number 2 cliche!)
This is a never ending and rather flexible cycle. At times, you will need to motivate yourself in order to take action. Other times, you need to take action to stay focused. In any case, which goes first does not matter so do not be surprised if you find yourself jumping from one tip to another. What matters is that you are taking all the positive steps toward reaching your goal.
So if you are ready to finally smash your goals then Take Action, Stay Focused, and Get Motivated!
Tips for Taking Action
Tip Number 1: Just Fn do it.
The first step is always the hardest. Your mind will come up with all sorts of scenarios to prevent you from taking that scary first step toward your goal. That does not mean you are a coward, though. It is just your brain’s way of defending yourself.
Sometimes, though, you have to listen to what your heart has to say and just do it.Everything else will be a lot easier once you get past the first hurdle – and that is to ignore your brain’s dire warnings and go with your gut instinct.
Tip Number 2: Doing something is not always a physical thing.
It is understandable if you mistook the need for taking action as doing something literally or physically. Yet you see, there are many other ways for you to take action without even lifting a finger. For that matter, consider the act of planning.
It is never wise to try achieving a goal without a plan. If you want to spend the least amount of time and effort in achieving your goal, then you need to come up with a step-by-step plan for accomplishing it.
A good plan takes into account all potential consequences as well as all the possible avenues you may take in order to reach your objective.
Tip Number 3: Take baby steps.
Do not push yourself to achieve the same things with the same amount of time and resources the way other people had done. In the end, you have to remind yourself that every person is unique and, consequently, his own set of strengths and weaknesses.
Also, it could be that you are just starting out and the other person you are comparing yourself to is years ahead of you in terms of expertise and experience. The other person cannot afford to take baby steps, but you can and you should!
If you rush things too much, everything may end up backfiring on you.
Tip Number 4: Rome wasn’t built in a day. (Hey that’s another cliché)
This is obviously related to the above tip, but it is different in the way that it takes into account what you want to do with your time.
It is good to have a plan for everything, but you do not have to accomplish everything in a single day. Even if you have the energy to do so, the people around you and who also have something at stake in reaching your shared goals may not have the time and similar energy to do so.
Give them a break. If all of you have truly worked hard, then all you deserve to rest. There is always tomorrow to think about.
Tip Number 5: Do not pressure yourself.
Pressuring yourself is different from motivating yourself. Motivating yourself will get you to take action while pressuring yourself will only succeed in freezing your limbs and brain cells into a state of inaction.
There are sure to be other people and other sources you will receive a lot of flak and pressure about getting things done. Why burden yourself with more pressure when you can give yourself a pep talk instead?
Tip Number 6: A little competition is good – just do not make a big deal out of it.
Competition can make you take action because the more you delay, the further behind you will be in achieving your goal. Friendly competition is also effective for staying focused and getting you pumped up but be careful!
If you let yourself focus too much on the competition, then you may end up forgetting about the bigger picture. In the end, being too competitive may be another source of distraction that you absolutely do not need.
Tip Number 7: Always back yourself.
Taking action requires you to have faith in yourself – especially when everyone around you is telling you that you cannot do it. In the end, you have to remember that you know yourself best. You know what you are capable of, and if you believe that the goal you have in mind is well within your reach, then it truly is – no matter what others may say.
Tip Number 8: Get someone to do it for you.
Taking action also does not mean that you have to do everything alone. Say your goal is to build a house. Does that mean you should do everything, from putting up boards and painting the walls? Of course not!
Taking action may also mean finding the best person to do the job. So do not be shy to admit if something is well beyond your actual KSAs (knowledge, skills, and abilities). There are just some things in life that are better left in the hands of an expert. Websites like Upwork and Fiverr are great!
Tip Number 9: It is okay to start again.
What if there comes a point in time that you realize that the first step you took was actually the wrong one? Or what if you suddenly realize that what you are doing is not taking you toward your goal but away from it?
Do you just sit down and cry over spilt milk? If so, that is not equivalent to taking action. You may be doing something, but it is nothing that can help you achieve your goal.
If you realize that something is wrong, then clear your mind and retrace your steps until you find out that critical mistake you committed. Correct it and move on. If you have to, start from scratch – the sooner, the better!
Tip Number 10: Never stop trying!
As mentioned earlier on, the process of achieving one’s goal is never ending. Taking action also means that you have to get back to your feet if you stumble or fall. It is even okay if you have to start all over again. In the end, what is critical is that you do not let your failures keep you from continuously taking action and moving forward. So go ahead and pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and learn from your mistakes. You will be a better and stronger person for doing this!
Tip Number 11: Have a back-up plan.
Plans – just like rules – are meant to be broken. And you need to be prepared for that eventuality right from the start by having a contingency or back-up plan ready.
Others feel that back-up plans are akin to admitting failure. It is not. Rather, back-up plans are actually a mere way of acknowledging the fact that change is the only thing that is constant in the world. There is no way for you to predict what is going to happen in the next minute, but you can try to prepare for things that could happen.
Think of it as smoothing the way to taking action toward achieving your goal.
Tip Number 12: Do not be too rigid or stubborn.
You have to know when to give up and change tactics. On paper, your plan may look fool proof and absolutely brilliant but a lot of things in the real world are unpredictable and can mess up with your plan.
You have to know when to stop knocking yourself against the wall and find another way toward reaching your goal. Remember: when there is a will, there is a way. If your Plan A did not work, what else is your Plan B good for if you are not willing to use it?
Tip Number 13: Give yourself a reasonable deadline.
Existing commitments may be a valid reason for preventing you from taking action completely to achieving your goal, but you also have to understand that these commitments are never going to go away. They are there for life. It is therefore unreasonable to keep pushing off the need to take a proactive stand because of your “commitments”.
You have to be firm with yourself and give yourself a deadline. Sometimes, that is the only way to get things done.
Tip Number 14: Be decisive.
When you do commit yourself to a plan and take action, do be decisive about it. This will help smooth things up more and make it easier for you to achieve your goal. If you are in a leadership position, people are unlikely to have faith in your decision if they can see that you yourself do not have faith in what you are doing.
You have to show them that you know what needs to be done and you have the power to help everyone reach their goals – if they follow you.
Tips for Staying Focused!
Tip Number 15: Set a schedule.
The quickest way to reaching your goal is to create a schedule for it – and stick to it. How many hours each day can you truly set aside for reaching your goal? What part of the day is the best time to work on reaching your goal?
A schedule also means having a specific place for you to do your work. Choose something that will benefit the kind of work that you are doing and the kind of person you are. Will something peaceful and quiet work more for you or do you prefer to be working outdoors and surrounded by sounds of nature?
Tip Number 16: Make it a habit.
It is not enough, of course, to simply make a schedule. After all, creating one is easy – it is the “doing” part that is difficult. To make it easier for you to keep to your schedule, you have to turn it into a habit. Treat it as an integral part of your day that you absolutely cannot miss.
Your body does not automatically search for caffeine in the morning just because it wants to. It was trained to do so by repetitive action, strengthened by your own desire for a delicious cup of coffee. Your mind also does not look for its daily fix of quiz shows in the evenings for no reason. It was trained to do so as well.
So why can’t you train yourself to make your goal achievement schedule a part of your daily routine as well?
Tip Number 17: No excuses!
It is critical that you do not allow yourself any excuses. If you do, then the excuses will never stop. Your body has a “giving-in” muscle and every time you give in, it gets more powerful. Before you know it, that muscle has been flexed so much that it is impossible to ignore.
Tip Number 18: Log out from all social networking and social messaging systems as well as Internet forums.
You may say that you find lots of great information and are able to stay connected with your network or market by keeping yourself online, but surely your personal life or business can exist for a few hours without being on the Twitter and Facebook radar?
No matter how you look at it, in the end, Twitter, Facebook, forums and all other ways to communicate with people online will only be a potential source of distraction.
If you have to, set a separate schedule for it – but this is one activity that should not be a part of your multitasking list.
Tip Number 19: Meditate.
Numerous studies have already proven that meditation techniques – just like breathing exercises – are helpful in clearing your mind and improving your focus. If the words and figures that you are supposed to analyse are blurring right before your eyes, it is definitely the time to meditate. If your anger or resentment is making it difficult for you to concentrate, meditating will also do the trick.
You do not need to chant any mantras to meditate – although if you feel it will help, go ahead and do so. But in any case, finding a quiet place to sit and close your eyes and let your mind wander freely is good enough.
Do try not to lie down while meditating as you may end up sleeping instead.
Tip Number 20: Take a time-out but time it!
Sometimes, you can get a little burned out if you have been working too hard for the past few days. When this happens, it is okay to take a little breather from your work schedule.
Of course time-outs cannot last forever so do make sure that you time it as well. If you are working only for a few hours, then fifteen to thirty minutes should be enough. If, however, your schedule encompasses the whole day, then an hour at the most would be sufficient. Anything longer than that may make you too lazy enough to get back to work.
Tip Number 21: Are You Sleeping Enough?
This is one of those cases when science has the last say, and according to its experts, sleep can have a significant impact on your ability to concentrate. Having enough hours of sleep will improve your concentration. Having too little or too much of it, however, would cause you problems with staying focused.
To get enough sleep every night, you should try keeping regular hours or at least have a fixed schedule for sleeping. Eliminate all sources of distraction as well. Consider this as another goal for you to focus on and take action for.
Tip Number 22: Enjoy what you are doing.
Find a way to make the process of achieving your goal enjoyable. Sometimes, it only takes a change of scenery. Other times, you just have to find the right angle to look at your situation.
When you are doing something you love, such as baking, reading, or dancing, then you absolutely have no problems concentrating, don’t you? But if you are being forced to do something you hate, then only with the greatest effort are you able to keep yourself focused on your work.
Tip Number 23: Do not allow emotional conflicts to get in your way.
One of the worst kinds of distraction is emotional conflict. This kind of problem eats away at your concentration. If there is anything that is bothering you, resolve it right away before getting back to work.
Do not allow it to fester inside you. The longer you delay resolving such conflicts, the harder a time you will have finding a way to re-open the discussion about it.
Tip Number 24: Know your priorities.
If you are torn between doing two things, you have to give yourself another ultimatum. Which is the more important priority – the goal you are working on or the alternative? Be brutally honest to yourself as you consider your options. If you have to choose which of the two you should lose, which of them are you willing to give up?
Tip Number 25: Consider your energy patterns.
This may sound a little too scientific, but rest assured that it is not. People have different energy patterns for various reasons. Some people, for instance, simply feel more energized to work in the middle of the night because there is absolutely no distraction to worry about, with everyone fast asleep.
Others like to work first thing in the morning because it makes them feel productive. Their energy then wanes when it gets to lunch time but jumps back up when it is in the early evening.
Try to familiarize yourself with your energy pattern. Think back on the days you were asked to complete a particular task. When are you typically more efficient in completing your work? When are you less than diligent working on your tasks?
Tip Number 26: Chew things down into manageable pieces.
Say you were given one whole cake to eat. Should you swallow it down in one bite? It would be pretty impossible to make an entire cake fit your mouth, but you can definitely eat it all if you cut it into several slices. From there, you can eat a slice of cake one bite after another.
Sometimes, focusing on the bigger picture alone is not helpful. There are times when you have to forget about the bigger picture first and concentrate on one part of the picture at a time.
Now hopefully this cake metaphor hasn’t made you hungry and you’re still with me.
Tip Number 27: Make allowances for mistakes.
Nobody is perfect. There will be times when nothing you can do is right. It is critical that you prepare beforehand for this and make allowances for mistakes.
If you can complete a task for thirty minutes, try giving yourself forty minutes instead. This way, you will not be terribly backed up if you do end up making a mistake or two. Giving yourself allowances will also prevent your mistakes from breaking your stride. You will keep going – no matter what – like an Energizer bunny!
Tip Number 28: Remind yourself of the consequences.
If you are extremely tempted to give up on what you are doing and just lose yourself in having fun instead, remind yourself of the possible consequences and that is sure to get you back in line.
Say you want to lose weight. If you eat that extra cup of rice tonight, it would mean having to spend an extra hour in the gym tomorrow. If you fail to do that, it will mean having your weight increase by two pounds. In time, it will mean not being able to fit into that new swimsuit you so wanted to wear to the beach party you are planning to attend – which the guy of your dreams is sure to attend as well.
Now ask yourself again – do you still want to stray from the task at hand?
Tip Number 29: Limit you email-checking to five minutes per hour.
It really cannot be more than that because you are only supposed to reply to emails that are absolutely require a response. Anything less than important should be set aside. You have to be very firm about this rule or you will end up procrastinating again.
Tip Number 30: Look for a role model.
A role model does not have to be someone perfect, famous, or even older than you. Rather, that role model has qualities that you so admire and you wish to have because you will become a better person for it.
When you feel like giving up, think about your role model. No one is immune to having temptations but every person has the power to say ‘no’ to it. Your role model was strong enough to say ‘no’ to distraction and stay focused. Surely you can do it, too?
In the end, both of you are flesh and blood mortals – capable of doing the same thing as long as you put your mind to it.
Tip Number 31: Search for inspiration.
Role models are different from inspiration. Role models are someone you try to emulate. People, things, or places to inspire you are also like goals, though. Why is becoming wealthy your goal? It is because you want to give your parents a chance to retire early. Then your parents are your inspiration.
When you are extremely frustrated about what is happening and you feel like throwing the towel, picture your parents and what they will be like if they have to continue working for years in spite of their frail health.
Tip Number 32: Do not fail to take advantage of the power of visualization.
It is easier to keep yourself motivated when you are able to visualize reaching your dream. Close your eyes and try to imagine what would happen if you were to reach your goal. How would it feel? What would happen afterwards?
Make it so vivid that you can actually feel the joy of reaching your dream.
At the end of the day, there is one final thought that you should remind yourself of when contemplating your next step:
The only difference between those who succeed and those who fail is that one will stop trying.