Focus on Adding Something Today – A Simple Strategy Even an Average Person Can Use to Accomplish Goals
I don’t know about you, but whenever I find myself distracted or overwhelmed by all the things I need to do for any of my goals, I try to focus on doing something just for today. And this usually works very well for me.
For example, this morning when I started my work, I realized that there are tons of stuff to do to launch my new software product. Lots of features to design, code to write, to test and debug, and thousands of tiny details to take care of before the app can be ready.
But after I started working on the first small task on my list, those feelings of overwhelm and frustration suddenly disappeared. I quickly got back into my usual daily work flow.
Now here is why I think just by adding or doing something to your completed list for today is really powerful in making progress toward your goal.
One day at a time
No matter how big your goal is, it can only be accomplished one day at a time. Don’t be overwhelmed by everything you have to do. You just need to focus on what’s allotted for today. If you add something today, it will forever be there. Each day your action will accumulate until one day your goal is finally accomplished.
Maybe that something to add for you is to write 300 words, or do 10 minute exercise, or follow up with a potential client. Whatever it is, you only need to do it for today. You only need to complete today’s quota. Let time do the rest.
Think less of future, and slow down the present
When we are frustrated or overwhelmed, we are usually thinking much more about the future than the present. It’s important to think and plan for the future, but it has to have a limit. Beyond a certain point, any more thinking only turns into worry and frustration.
A good tip on how to focus more on present is to simply slow down whatever you are doing right here, right now. Maybe you are typing something on your keyboard. Slow down your fingers. Notice how your fingers move, and how letters and words appear on the screen.
If you are doing dishes, focus your attention on the flow of the water, the feeling of your hand to the plate, the form and shape of the bubbles. Slow down your movement. When your physical movement slows down, your thoughts tend to go calm as well. Only when your thoughts are calmer and slower, can you begin to bring back your attention from future to present.
Find joy in the current step
People say life is a journey and success is a journey. If that is true, then it must be wise to find joy in the journey itself, rather than where it ends. We so often tend to think of those one-day-I-wills, such as:
- One day when I become rich and famous, I’ll be happy
- One day when I retire, we’ll travel and explore the world
- One day I lose all that weight, I’ll be happy and enjoy life
- One day when I’m ready to quit this job, I’ll start my business
Those one-days may not actually come. Even if it does eventually come, you may not be so happy about it. Studies have shown that we are often very poor predictors of our own future happiness. Sacrificing all our present life for a unreliable future is not the best way to live.
What we can do is simply try our best to enjoy this very moment right in front of us. Find meaning and happiness in the journey we are taking right now. Eventually we may achieve our goal, or we may not, but no matter what, as long as we enjoy the current step, we’ll live a good life.
Just a little bit, but consistently
One thing we tend to fall into misconception about is that we tend to think we have to really strive and work really hard to get what we want. But in fact life doesn’t have to be that way. People get ahead that way usually end up burnt out more often than not.
All what we need is simply taking a little action on a consistent basis. Consistent and steady effort made day in and day out usually trumps sporadic bursts of striving.
This is also true for your goals. If you want to start a business, you don’t have to quit your job and work on it full time. You can start by working a hour a day or even 30 minutes every other day.
If you want to write a book, you don’t have to setup a strict schedule and crank out many many pages per day. Instead you can focus on writing a minimum of 100 words per day. Actually this very post took me a few days to write and each time I only spent about ten to fifteen minutes on it.
If losing weight is your goal, no need to commit fully to a whole new diet or a full blown exercise program. Just start by replacing one unhealthy food choice with a better alternative each day. Or park a little further away from any mall or office entrance so that you can naturally walk a few more steps on every trip.
There are many ways to accomplish a goal. We don’t have to always pick the hard one. It may work for someone else, but it’s probably not for you. Instead of, you can take the path of less resistance, a path that you can walk on every day and enjoy each small step while taking it.
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