At the turn of a new year, reflection often brings a raft of resolutions. It’s the perfect time for fresh starts, sowing the seeds to different habits and positive changes.
No matter how much planning you do, however, daily tasks can take priority ahead of seemingly inessential goals. Instead, these get sidelined, lost in a sea of noise, routine and activity. Even with the best will in the world, it can be tricky to carve out time with myriad jobs and people vying for your attention.
Then as the weeks go by, the initial motivation, drive and excitement fades – and the slow progress can feel like failure. Result? Goals are abandoned.
But there are things you can do to help you stay on track. Some may resonate, others not, so find out what works for you and try to stick to it. By implementing a few changes, it can help you to get to where you want to be – there’s no harm in giving it a go.
And remember, it’s important to enjoy the journey. Otherwise, you might as well be wishing your life away. You don’t need to prove yourself – goals are signposts to guide you to your dreams and aspirations.
How to stay focused and on track
Implement ways to maintain focus
To prevent your goal from being buried under a mountain of daily commitments, try to set aside time to think about it and why you hope to reach it. For example, you could take a moment to consider your goal each morning either through focused thought or including it in your daily plans or journalling.
Focusing your mind on your goal will help to keep you on track. A vision board, including images or inspiring quotes or mantras, can also be useful. You could pin this to your wall or even set it as your screensaver. Experiment and see what resonates.
Simplify commitments and set boundaries
Time – or lack of it – is often the biggest obstacle to achieving new goals. Look at your commitments and see if any can be tweaked, combined or removed. Try to identify how you spend your time and if adjustments can be made. If there are tasks that are no longer serving you, consider letting them go.
When you’ve simplified your commitments it’s wise to protect your diary, otherwise you may find it gets filled up again. Block out time for your goal, perhaps 30 minutes or an hour a day.
In this way, you can give it dedicated space and reflect on your progress, making any necessary tweaks.
Be mindful of distractions
Establish any people, tasks or habits that might tempt you away from the goal in hand and become more mindful of when you’re being distracted. This might also prevent you getting waylaid in future. Your time is precious, so try not to let procrastination win.
You might also want to explore why you are distracted or your reasons for procrastinating. Maybe you’ve reached a challenging point or lost your motivation and drive. Try to establish the cause and address it because this will help you to avoid future hiccups.
Pause to celebrate small wins and find supporters
As you work towards your goal it’s great to celebrate the small wins. Pausing to enjoy how far you’ve come will give you the motivation to continue. So, when you complete a task, stop to celebrate and reflect. Being mindful and acknowledging your progress make for a healthy cycle, helping you to recharge and get going again. It’s also lovely to involve family, friends or colleagues. Being accountable is empowering and can help if you lose drive. Sharing what you’d like to achieve can bring it to life and if your goal is met with enthusiasm it will motivate you even further.
Practise self-compassion and remember to rest
Love and self-care can work wonders and motivating yourself with kindness rather than criticism will change your experience. Learn from mistakes and make changes to move forward. Setbacks are part of the process and can enable you to come back stronger. There’s always value and wisdom to be gained from reaching for a goal.
It’s also important to take regular breaks and to rest. Factoring in time to relax and recharge will make the experience more enjoyable and you may find you get more done. A rested body and mind will help you when approaching the next step.
- Words: Natasha Denness. Natasha is an Oxford-based coach, writer, photographer and award-winning blogger at candypop.uk.com.
- Illustration: Shutterstock
- Article from Breathe Issue 11. Buy the digital edition here.