How to Stay Focused on Your Purpose of the Distracting World

In this digital era, don't be distracted—it may seem impossible to avoid. Just figuring out how to stay focused on your goals and ambitions can feel just as hard as actually achieving them. These days, constant distraction can lead to a big loss in productivity. Statistics show that people, on average, spend 28% of their time studying and trying to recover from unnecessary interruptions.((Research group information overload: cost ignoring - how disruptions impact employee knowledge, productivity)) And here at work where you get paid to be productive and where some of us are too much in control or too close for comfort. Thus, one can only imagine how much time is lost or wasted when we are left to our own devices.

Peace, be distracted

Speaking of devices, how many times have you grabbed your cell phone at the very moment you hear notifications, wasting precious time listing through social media when you should be using that time to work towards your goals? I can argue a lot. But we've all been there. Sometimes, even with the best intentions and efforts to stay on task, we still find ourselves chronically distracted. Chances are you'll be interrupted before you can even finish reading this article. The reality is, no doubt, how inevitable it is: We live in a world full of temptations! But how can you take back control of your time and attention so you don't get distracted and learn to focus on your goals? There are several strategies to overcome distractions and get your attention back, such as avoiding social media, prioritizing emails, meditation, and more. You can read about them in detail in our article, How to Focus and Increase Your Productivity (The Complete Guide). Some of these methods have been discussed ad nauseam. But one way in particular hasn't been talked about enough.

How to stay focused on your goal

The environment is one of the main factors

Whether we want to admit it or not, we are all basically a product of our environment. Our environment affects us much more than we realize. It's made up of a lot of things, from the space we live and work, the people we spend the most time with, to what we read, listen to and watch, to even our social media profiles, and more. All of these elements of our environment influence our focus, thoughts, worldviews, belief systems and goals, and the standards we set for ourselves. They all serve as triggers for certain behaviors, trends, and moods. This is how many of our habits are formed. We always take on the aspects of the environment we constantly put ourselves in.

Willpower and motivation is a broken approach

What many people get wrong about trying to achieve their goals is that they often only focus on what needs to be done and how to get it done - results and willpower. Many people think that willpower and motivation are in their own right to determine success. While both are wonderful and necessary virtues to navigate this increasingly complex world, willpower is in many ways a short-term solution, while motivation is great, but also fleeting. This is one of the main reasons why so many people in the new year happen at the end of January. Your willpower is like a muscle which means it is finite and will deplete with use. ((American Psychological Association Research: will, choice and self-control)) Using the willpower approach, to stay focused on the goal centers to increase personal efforts to overcome the environment without changing or changing the environment. The harsh reality is that the environment is more powerful than your internal decisions. No matter how much discipline you have, eventually you will succumb to your environment despite your best efforts.

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Set yourself up for success

In an environment that is incompatible with your goals, its negative influence will sabotage your success. On the other hand, a compatible environment is one of the most important strategies that you can use to focus on achieving your goals. Creating favorable conditions for the successful implementation of the desired behavior and, most importantly, reducing distractions.

The Inevitability of Thinking

In fact, productivity expert Eben Pagan believes that in order to create the right environment, conditions will be created that will make it impossible for you, not to achieve your goals. The multi-millionaire, entrepreneur, and investor sees this as the next evolution of goal-setting that moves us away from focusing on willpower and results. He calls this concept “inevitability thinking,” which thinks and acts as if what you are doing is predetermined because you created the conditions for it to happen. What he means by “create the conditions for success” is to create an environment conducive to achieving your goals.

Home to Your Environment

Internationally renowned leadership coach and author Dr. Marshall Goldsmith believes that if a person cannot create and control their environment, then they will create and control it. It assumes that the vision is to achieve the goals you want to achieve. Then, think about designing the structure of your environment, your situation, or your organization in a way that organically brings that vision to life.

"If [you] can design your life and behavior like that, [you] shouldn't rely on willpower." — BJ Fogg, Social Science, Stanford Fellow ((BJ Fogg on Twitter: @bjfogg))

"But I'm not a designer," you might be thinking. Don't worry, it can be done - for you or for someone else! Designing or modifying your environment so you can better focus on your goals is not like designing spaceships - that's not rocket science. Here's how it happened.

How to Focus on Your Goals: Designing the Environment

1. Find an environment that supports your goals

Real progress occurs when we fully understand and align with what, whom, and where to best support our goals. So, the next time you're in your environment, whether it's indoors or out, try to pay attention to how you feel while you're there. If it's a feeling of change when you leave this environment. Explore the surroundings. Look at the entire infrastructure and ask yourself these simple questions:

  • Am I in an environment conducive to achieving my goals?
  • Is it detrimental to me keeping my focus on my goals?
  • Is it on par with people who have already achieved what I want to achieve?

Also, examine your lifestyle and habits. Do you place yourself in environments and situations that spark personal growth? If the answers to these questions are all but a definite and resounding "yes", then you should seriously consider changing or completely changing your environment. The more you understand yourself, the more aware you are in an environment that is more likely to help you stay focused on your goal.

2. Let Your Goals, Don't Distract, Distract You

If you constantly lose focus on your goals, you are pretty much rendering them useless. Distractions and interruptions are the biggest culprits for losing focus. One of the most practical ways to maintain a hearth is to keep your goals constantly distracting you. You will inevitably lose focus from time to time. But you can limit the number of times this happens and the duration, making it easy for your goals to draw you back into your focus. Now how do you do it? It's simple: make visual cues. There is a saying that if you don't see it, you will probably forget it. Science agrees; the eyes hold most of the sensory receptors in the human body. Thus, the eye is the main component of focus. The following tips will simply be things that will cause you to focus and focus on your goals. Which type to use will largely depend on what works for you, but below are a few common ones:

  • Tape your task list or habit tracker to your desktop or to your refrigerator at home.
  • Hang motivational posters on frequently visited sections of your home or work space.
  • Post-ITS - Write your goals as one or two word phrases in them and stick where you are sure to see them.
  • Set alerts to constantly remind you to stick to your productive habits.
  • Digital Devices - Change the wallpaper for your computer desktop, smartphones, tablets, or any other digital device you use regularly to display something about your target.
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Learn more about how to stay focused on your goal: creating an action plan and achieving your personal goals

3. Change Your Inner Circle

Numerous studies have proven that our thinking, behavior and motives are largely dependent on our peers. Therefore, the people in our lives have a huge impact on our ability to achieve our goals.

“You are the average of the five people you are most associated with…” – Tim Ferris ((Goodreads website: Timothy Ferris: quote allowed))

Since people have such a significant influence on the direction of your entire life, if you are truly serious about achieving your goals, you may need to change your inner circle. This is where designing or changing the environment to succeed will be difficult. Unlike updating your iPhone, changing the composition of your surroundings can be a lot harder. One of the hardest things to do in life is to cut ties with friends, especially against their will, even if it's for your own good. This will likely provoke resentment because it will require you to betray the very virtue that provided the foundation for friendship in the first place: loyalty. But we must remember that above all, when we set important personal goals, we must be true to ourselves if we are to achieve them. Loyalty to friends, family, or even your spouse who is detrimental to your success in life will only slow your growth. By consciously deciding who you want in your inner circle, you assume control of the ultimate direction of your life.

4. Completely Change Your Environment

This method is the most extreme, but it can also be the most effective. While changing the environment in order to become less distracting is ideal, sometimes it's just not enough. Some elements in your environment, such as your social circle, are more difficult than others to change. In fact, some elements are almost impossible to regulate. There are times when these elements are so out of control that the only thing you can do to stay focused on your goal is to make more radical and deeper changes. This may mean completely changing your environment. Here are some examples of changes you could try to make (only when needed):

  1. Change your physical property (ref: get rid of your TV)
  2. Create a new virtual installation (online)
  3. Change your physical workplace (work, home, coworking, coffee shop, etc.)
  4. Join a new social group
  5. Change locations (at home, coworking space, coffee shop, etc.)
  6. Change jobs or switch branches
  7. Fall to distract friends or family from your inner circle.
  8. Change your spouse
  9. Move to another country

Of course, these are some extreme steps. So, only resort to these if you have tried everything else to focus on your goals, but still without success.

Conclusion

If you're struggling to figure out how to stay focused on your goal, it's much harder to make significant, lasting changes without changing some elements of your environment. By taking control of your environment settings, you can influence your level of motivation, enthusiasm, drive, and commitment to your goal. Optimizing your environment creates powerful conscious and subconscious motivators that make staying focused on your goal easier. And for many of us, simpler is always better.

More Goal Setting Tips

  • The science of goal setting (and its effect on your brain)
  • How to set long-term goals and achieve success
  • What are smart goals (and how to use them to become successful)
  • 6 golden rules to make progress towards your goals
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