A friend of mine once shared this as a tool for goal-achievement. FOCUS stands for
Those of us who have achieved any goals whatsoever in our lives know this to be true. We have to keep to the path, not quit, and not get distracted off of it, until we get there. It may take a while, and a lot of effort, but if we do this we are very likely to get where we want to be. The important thing is to not lose FOCUS on what we want.
If we are honest with ourselves, it is very easy to lose FOCUS, though. Things come up that knock us off of our path, our FOCUS. Precious time is lost. Sometimes we drop the goal altogether–”It wasn’t really achievable”–we say to ourselves.
So what are some of the things that sidetrack us? I can think of two primarily:
1. Emergencies. This is obvious. Something huge comes up that demands a large portion of our attention and energy. It may take some time to deal with. In doing so, we are not pursuing our course. When it is all over, we have lost time, and we are drained from the effort.
2. Discouragement. This is when negative thoughts about the goal you are pursuing kick around in your head, making it harder and harder for you to press on. These thoughts can come from things other people say and do that you internalize, or they can come from your own personal doubts. This is also draining of energy and motivation. In fact, this is far more devastating on your goal-achievement than emergencies. Sometimes the time and energy lost on emergencies can lead to discouragement: ”Something will always come up to stop me. I will never get to my goal.”
So, here you are, off course and stuck in the mud. What do you do?
Well, you can quit. But that will guarantee you will never get to your goal.
Alternatively, you can get back on course. Here’s what I recommend:
1. Revisit your goal. Why is it worthwhile? What were you going to get from accomplishing it? Thinking about these things will help motivate you to try again–assuming your goal was worthy to begin with.
2. Forgive yourself. Let go of the guilt and stupidity you feel for having wasted time and gotten off the path. Shake it off. Determine that you are not going to let your past failures determine your future success.
3. Start back on the path. You may have to adjust your timetables, because you want your goal to be attainable, but get started. Remember that while it may take a long time to achieve your goal walking down the path, you will NEVER achieve your goal just sitting and thinking about it.
Are you on FOCUS? Keep there by recognizing the pitfalls, and making allowances for them before they knock you off.
Are you off FOCUS? It is OK. Figure out where you got off, follow the above steps, and get back on track. You will get there. Be patient, and don’t give up. You will enjoy the rewards.