When you set your mind to focus on one thing, you activate a part of your brain called the reticular activating system or RAS. The RAS will filter information and let you see only the things that you want to see or experience. If you don’t deliberately direct your mind on a specific goal, the RAS will point you to several directions.
So the first thing to do to improve your focus of attention is to set a specific goal or objective. Write it down to imprint it on your mind. If you just say it, your mind will not take you seriously.
6 Ways to Stay Focused to Reach Your Goals
1. Purpose Driven Goals
You may have set and written your goal. But if you don’t feel motivated to take action and get easily distracted, there is probably something amiss. And it’s likely that you don’t have enough powerful reasons to achieve it.
Simply writing “I want to lose 10 pounds in 6 months starting today because I want to look slimmer” isn’t enough to push you to take action.
Think about it and write more reasons. Think about how it will positively affect your health, confidence, self-esteem and your relationships. If you don’t have a strong “Why” to do something, you will sabotage yourself by listening to your negative self-talk and outside noises.
2. Keep Your Dreams Alive
Create clear positive mental pictures of what you want to do, have and become. Make it a habit to visualize the end result daily especially when your body and mind are relaxed and are very receptive to positive suggestions.
Create a vision board by pasting pictures and positive statements and look at it daily. Or upload the MindMovies vision board software. Watch your movie twice daily and at the same time let it subliminally flash images of your dream.
Eat, live and breathe your goal and make it the center of your attention.
3. Focus on One Goal and Take Consistent Action
You probably have already written at least 4 short term goals that you want to achieve within the next 12 months. Pick one from the four and do something every day towards achieving that one goal.
This action will help you remove mental clutter, maintain control and eliminate distractions.
Create a to-do list every day. Do the most important and difficult thing first and don’t stop until it is completed. Strike it out once you have finished. Move to the next and add more things to do which are related to your goal. This way you will always have something to work on.
4. Mix with the Right Crowd
Choose your friends wisely. Distance yourself from people who are time wasters and energy drainers. They’ll subtly nudge you to move in the opposite direction even if they have good intentions.
Mix with people who are big dreamers and action oriented. Their enthusiasm will spill over to you. You will gain other benefits such as gaining more insights which can help speed up your progress.
5. Interrupt Thought Patterns
Your thoughts jump from one to another without you realizing. Pay attention and catch them when they are leading you into a downward spiral and moving you away from your goals. Interrupt these thoughts by doing something physical and constructive.
Point back your thoughts to the present and remind yourself of your goal. If you do this consistently, you will form a new mental habit of focusing on what you want instead of your fears and worries.
6. Take Time Out
Take time out for reflection. There is a lot of noise that is going on inside your head plus outside interference and demands at home and at work. All of these will cause stress, worry and anxiety.
You cannot think clearly, focus on your goal and do the right thing if your mind is scattered. An effective way to calm your restless mind is to put it into a relaxed state through meditation or other mind-body relaxation techniques. The simplest is deep breathing exercise.
Use this quiet alone time to go through your day. Use a journal to record your activities and your thoughts.
It helps you measure your progress and make corrective action. It will also let you see if you have diverted your attention from your plans.
It is important to set your priorities right. Otherwise, you’ll drift along moving from one thing to another.
And remember, do something that you feel passionate about. Without passion, you’ll easily lose focus and the sight of your goal.