Writing down and visualizing your goals is critical. It gives you a sense of where you want to go and you should review it daily, but there is something more. The big goals, once written down and internalized should become secondary goals. They are something in the back of your mind for you to aim at. Your primary goal should then become to focus one-hundred percent on what you are doing right now. Even when you achieve a big goal, it often looks very different than the vision you first had. A lot of things can change along the way. Be flexible with the specifics of your big goals, but review and visualize them daily.
Humans have three perceptions of time. They are past, present, and future. The only one of those three perceptions of time where we can actually do something, is in the present. As we begin to do things, thoughts rise in our mind. They may be painting pictures of the past or the future. Perhaps they are painting the future only to alert us of something else we have to get done. They are often telling us we aren’t good enough to get it done, or that we are wasting our time. Sometimes they remind us of how great it will be to get there. Either way we become distracted by our own thoughts. Once you have decided there is something specific to be done, let that be your only goal for the moment. If another thought occurs to you just gently go back to focusing in on what you are doing right now.
Try this out for the next several weeks, and you will not go back to your old distracted ways of working. Once you have decided something is worth doing, then do it. As you are working on it, and you catch yourself thinking about something else, just come back to what you are doing and focus intently on it. Don’t worry about whether the work you are doing is moving you towards your big goal right this moment. The act of focusing on just what you are doing, and quieting your mind while you are doing it will become so engrossing, that you will learn to get fulfillment out of what you are doing right now. Sometimes when I do something like write a routine email, I practice paying insanely close attention to every key stroke, and become engrossed in the thought I am trying to communicate. This is good practice for when I am working on something more complicated and proned to be derailed by distraction.
If you have a big goal, there are usually a lot of challenges along the way to achieving it so it is important to keep the benefits the goal will provide to our life. On the other hand, If you learn to get fulfillment out of every piece of work it becomes much less painful when things get hard. Admittedly, it also becomes much harder to focus, but that is where learning to focus your attention, and gently push thoughts back to the task at hand helps. If you have not read this post, it might be worthwhile for a bit more background on focusing.
When I talk with people on this topic for the first time, there are usually questions or challenges that arise. If you have questions you can drop me a note at brentpinkston.com/contact