What’s Keeping You From Reaching Your Goals?

Why you might be losing traction toward your goals and what to do about it.


The New Year has just begun, yet already you're probably feeling the weight of responsibilities, commitments and meetings slowing you down. You had good energy at the start of the year. You were committed to making some changes. You thought you'd move forward a little differently, but you're losing traction. 

What's the problem? DISTRACTION.

If you're a leader you must work hard to stay focused on your goals. After all, your focus influences the rest of your team and the organization. Here are some of the reasons you might find yourself off track: 

1.     You're not really clear about the main goals.  Sure, you've set some financial goals, business goals, or personal goals, but they're not concrete. They include phrases like "do better" or "improve" or "get more."

2.     The goals don't seem realistic. The company wants to aim high, but the goals appear random without acceptable rationale.  Why try so hard when you expect to fall short?

3.     The goals aren't compelling enough.  You went through some kind of cursory exercise and made slight adjustments to previous goals. But you're not reaching for more that makes you or your business stretch and grow. 

4.     Your systems are inadequate. You did not set up the systems or support needed to help you make early progress. Instead you're trying to do too much yourself.

5.     You're afraid. Something is holding you back.  Achieving something big has its risks. You might make mistakes. You've become too focused on possible failure instead of probable success. Fear is one of the most crippling distractions. 

Take action to minimize distraction.

When you're in the driver's seat, you have more control over the process. Decide what action you will take to reach your destination. If you're driving a car to get to your destination, at times you'll need fuel, directions, a tune up, or even a break from driving.

You'll also have to resist the many different forms of technology that distract you from the road. You don't have to respond immediately to every call, sound or tweet.

In the same way, determine what you need at different stages in your work or life on your road to your goal. Commit to small progress each day. 

It's harder to interfere with something that's already in motion. Keep moving! 

Here are a few tips to help you get back and stay on track.

1.     Paint a new picture. Refresh your goals. Don't regurgitate last year's.  Add something new that energizes you and your team. Perhaps you want to serve clients in a new way. Or you want to open new markets. Be descriptive about what you want to see or feel when your goals are accomplished.

2.     Speak of your goals in the present tense. For example, instead of saying,  "We want to double our growth, " say, "We are doubling our growth…" Stating your goal as though it's happening now shifts your mindset.  And mindset is the ultimate key to achieving your goals 

3.     Protect your mindset. Be ready when you hear others say, "That won't work." Or "Are you crazy?" They are reflecting their own doubts or short-sightedness. Surround yourself with people who share your view and who are equally committed to the goal, or to helping you reach your goal.

4.     Regroup quickly. Note the signs when you're veering off the path. For example: You're dwelling on details that don't matter. You're obsessing about problems you can't control. You're wasting your time in unproductive meetings.  You're not following any particular strategy. Gather your team immediately and commit to prioritizing or re-prioritizing your goals and plan. 

5.     Fade your fear. Remember past success. Note the reasons you've achieved the success you have so far. Believe you will overcome any future obstacles. Fear will diminish when you visualize yourself reaching even higher levels of success and reward. Focus instead on why you will be even more successful. 

Distractions are inevitable, but you can deflect them more quickly and easily when you're clear about where you're going and excited about the destination.

Are distractions derailing you?

What will you do to take new action and gain traction? 

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