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Monday, July 10, 2017

Out of Focus

In this busy world of today, it is easy to lose focus on what is important. I find myself losing sight of my goals, and then my focal point is obscured by the daily happenings of everyday life. Do you find you have the same trouble?

This has made me go deeper into why we lose sight of our goals. Why it is so easy to just give into the daily grind. Why we need to fine tune our habits to be able to reach for what we want in life. How we can use practical applications to help us make those goals attainable. 

I thought that it’s a lot like when we are trying to take the perfect picture. We choose our subject, line up where we want that subject in the picture, and then work to bring it into focus to highlight the best feature. Yet when we try to move to capture the perfect shot, the picture goes fuzzy, it has gone out of focus. 

I found this true of myself this week when I realized I had stopped setting my focus. The picture of my future had turned fuzzy because I had been moving along with what life had to throw at me instead of stopping to remember my goals.

What made me thinks of this is that when I began writing my book, I set goals to where in the process I wanted to be. I made the goals of by what date I wanted each step in the process to be done.

I also began making quarterly goals. These I would write down and place in my journal so that each day I opened it to write, my goals were right there in black and white, well in whatever color ink I chose to write them in, but you know what I mean.

As I began researching the ways to accomplish your goals, I found many resources to help you reach your goals. In one I found the person wrote about the concept of making and achieving their goals. In the article, it said that setting goals affected the outcomes in four ways. The four were Choice, Effort, Persistence, and Cognition. So, I decided to take each one and apply it to the goal of finishing my book and getting it published.

First, let’s look at Choice. Goals narrow the attention and direct efforts toward the relevant activities needed to reach the said goal. It gives you a focusing point, where you are less likely to do non-goal oriented activities.

So how did I use choice? I made the conscious choice to become a published author. I made the choice to put it at the forefront of my daily life. To live and breathe my book until I reached the goal of publication.

This leads me to the next concept. Effort. What was I willing to do, what effort was I willing to make to reach the end conclusion? 

The effort of sitting down in front of my computer every day and writing was a habit I had to develop. Before I made the choice to write my book, I wrote whenever the mood struck me. Because I hadn’t made a conscious choice to write my book, I had nothing to make me put the effort into my writing.

What else did I do to show effort? I began to keep track of what I accomplished daily in the form of word count tracking, hours set aside to write, I made it a daily goal that I needed to do every day. By doing this I had a tangible way of seeing that my efforts were showing some sign of completing the writing of my book. That is how I have reached the word count of over fifty thousand words as of this last month.

We have come to an important word in this quadrangle of words. Persistence. Why is it so important? Persistence is important because, without it, you will let everyday life invade your resolve. You must persist in your goals making it less likely that you will have setbacks in pursuing your goal.

How do you persist? How do you remain in focus? I like to think it is my own dogged stubbornness that helps me reach this. I set my mind on the goal when I made the choice to pursue it. I sat down every day and put in the effort it takes to get what I want. My book published and out where the world can read about what I created in a “What If?” moment.

I set not only a goal of finishing the book. I set daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
By using persistence those goals get accomplished.

I had lost focus a bit in that I realized I had not set any quarterly goals for not just one quarter but
two. Here we are just beginning the third quarter of the year and I keep feeling I slacked off. I was
persistent in my goals. I did keep making my daily and weekly goals but in the madness, that is life, I lost focus and who knows what more I could have accomplished if I had persisted in making my
quarterly goals.

The last word is Cognition. I never would have thought of this when applying it to goal setting. Cognition, lets' look at the definition.
a. the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.
b. a result of this; a perception, sensation, notion, or intuition. 

The mental action or process. By making my choice to write a book I began a journey of understanding the process to get it done. I made the conscious effort and persisted in learning how and what I needed to do to reach the conclusion I had set as my goal. 

I looked for ways to change how I did things and in so doing, I gained cognitive awareness of all the aspects I needed. I found that by sticking to a schedule, making those daily, weekly, and quarterly goals that I had formed a habit. Most people think of creating habits as a chore. I never knew by being aware of what I wanted that in doing it my cognition of the idea changed. I learned new behaviors to accomplish what I wanted to do.

Funny how I began the day with the knowledge of what topic I wanted to talk about this week. That of how by missing making my quarterly goal list I lost focus on what I set out to do all those months ago. I never knew that I would be forming new habits, or that the satisfaction I gained each time I struck a goal from my list would in effect make me work harder to doing what I needed to do.

In closing,  I can say that there is a new list of quarterly goals resting in the pages of my journal. And to add a little extra push. I have used the sticky notes app on my computer to post a note with those goals right on my desktop. By doing this as soon as I open my computer that list is waiting for me to accomplish it and strike it off the list.

Do you make goals? Are they daily, weekly, or in some way different? How do you remind yourself of those goals? And do you reward yourself when you accomplish the big goals? Let me know in the comments. Now I’m going to go work on my daily list. Remember live life fully and laugh often.

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