Tips for Reaching Personal and Business Goals

Most folks called it Spanish class, but, when I was a senior in high school, I called it nap time.

I really had good intentions – trust me, I did. I enjoyed school and still do. If someone would pay me to just go to school all the time, that’s what I’d do.

I wanted to stay awake, but I just couldn’t. I remember it was my first class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. As soon as I sat down, my eyelids felt heavier than five dollars’ worth of food on the Taco Bell menu. I’d shake my head, pinch myself, or attempt to doodle. When I woke up, that doodling usually trailed off the edge of my worksheet – piercing through words like “llamo” or “coche.”

Spanish class was, of course, the lowest grade I made that school year. Was that my goal? No. My goal was to make all A’s. Why didn’t that happen? Why couldn’t I stay awake and get my learn on like I genuinely wanted to do? Well, honestly it comes down to organization or lack thereof on my part.

How about you or your business? Do you have goals? If so, how many times have you watched them fly out of reach like leaves in the fall? In my case with Spanish class, it wasn’t enough to have good intentions. I knew what to do to correct the problem – get to sleep earlier on average during the week. At the time I was averaging five hours of sleep nightly, which is not enough for me. My failure was a lack of discipline to correct the problem.

I want to focus on two things: clarity and discipline. Both are needed in order for us to have a reasonable chance of meeting our goals in life. If you pay attention, you’ll usually see a weakness in one of these areas within yourself and others. In my own example, I lacked discipline in the midst of goal clarity.

I have seen it the other way, too. I know someone who is great at multitasking. This person is in that 3 percent of folks who are more efficient multitasking rather than single-tasking. (As an aside, did you know that? Only 3 percent of folks are more efficient at multitasking and we all assume we’re in that 3 percent. The odds are against you! Most folks are more efficient pound for pound, focusing on one task at a time and seeing it to completion.)

Anyway, this person is a great multitasker, but having a clarity of the overarching goals Forget it! They have no clue!

So, how do we fix either a weakness in clarity or discipline? Let’s break it down…

Weakness in clarity, try this:

Wake up 20 minutes earlier and use this time to reflect on short and long-term goals. We do our best deep thinking earlier in the mornings when we’re rested. Use this time to your advantage. As the day meanders on, you’ll lose the ability to think on this deeper level due to fatigue.

Mindfulness. Download a mindfulness app, take an online course or purchase a book. Mindfulness has been used for centuries. For those of us who are easily distracted, this helps us tap into our full potential.

Check out. Take a weekend trip somewhere new or get out of town for a few hours. Sometimes just removing ourselves from what’s familiar can help us tap into that deeper thinking required for clarity of goals.

Weakness in discipline, try this:

Download a time-management app for your phone and start using it. There are several out there. I’ve used at least three different ones and haven’t found the perfect one for me yet. Don’t be afraid to try them. Most are free.

Tell your goal(s) to a friend. Verbalizing the goals to someone else will lend to accountability. They’ll ask you about it next time you see them and you’ll have to answer. If you’re like me, discipline is your weakness. Telling a friend forces some responsibility to you.

Write it down. Studies have shown that actively writing down a goal gives you a better chance of following through with it. So, get out that pen and paper and go to it.

Clarity and discipline. If you have both in your personal and/or business life, you’ll have the best shot at reaching your goals. And achieving goals is a rewarding experience. So, set goals then get out there and make them happen!

Dr. Thomas is a board-certified physician who operates Complete Health Integrative Wellness Clinic and Thomas Urology Clinic in Starkville. Is this column helpful or are you looking for more information? We’d love to hear from you. Go to

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