Destination: Success through clear, focused progress
The last post was all about deciding on the destination. Whether it be a new goal, or you still have your over-arching dream life in mind. Once you have determined your destination, it becomes important to keep your eyes and mind focused. Keeping focus on your destination will allow for measured progress and the elimination of any distractions.
Tools to keep the destination top of mind
Before we jump into why being clear on your destination and keeping it in your focus is so important. Let’s briefly discuss the tools which can help with this! One way, which we’ve discussed on this blog is creating a vision board. Another way is to create your playlist. Select songs which motivate you, remind you of your goals and be that little twinkle when heard out of context! Some people will put post-it’s on their mirrors or write their goals down and read it morning, noon and night. Others keep a digital list as the background of their phone. And other I know of, simply remind themselves mentally. If you have any tips or advice in this area, please do add it to the comments below!
Eyes and mind focused on the destination
No matter the way you decide to keep your goals top of mind, the importance of doing so is well proven. The more energy and focus you put on what you want, the more discipline you will have in staying on track. And, potentially the more exciting it is when you see progress. Keeping your chin up, hands at 10 and 2, eyes on the horizon are all physical ways to keep distractions from veering you off course. Establishing and maintaining this clear vision of your destination will keep your mind and spirit on the same page:
“…the clearer you become about your destination and the more you can connect with it head, heart and gut; the more likely it is that you will achieve it.”
Short Term Pleasure vs Long Term Success
Do not allow yourself to get distracted or tossed in the wind by fleeting whims. Instant gratification, or ‘magical’ remedies rarely, if ever actually work. Not to mention how far off track a cheat meal actually gets us! This is most likely evident to those reading this blog which is geared toward self improvement and long term success. However, too often will our human minds trade in our long term success for something in the moment. And then one moment becomes 2 and 2 becomes 4 and down the rabbit hole we find ourselves!
Just think of a time when you purchased something way over budget and regretted it almost immediately. Or perhaps a time when you knew another chapter of reading would improve your chances on a test. But instead, you opted to play games on your phone. In these instances, the feeling of desire typically doesn’t last beyond the attainment. Therefore, it leaves us feeling behind on our goal. Diane Koopman gives even more reason not to become distracted by ‘shiny objects’ in this post on Instant Gratification.
Note to self: short term pleasure is not worth trading my long term success!
Staying Balanced Along the Journey toward your destination
With the last paragraph behind us, it is important to note that balance is key to finding long term success. Healthy and mindful stress-release, along with finding flow outside of your main goals is extremely important. This concept also points to the fact that typically, your long term goal may seem simple but has many facets. Meaning, you may have a goal in sight, which also leads to other achievements and a well-rounded life.
As an example, let’s say your main goal in life is to become the CEO of a company. This comes with: responsibility, power, prestige, travel, social circles, wealth. And many other attributes which you are also most likely wanting in addition to the title of ‘CEO’. Another example, outside of the business world, could be becoming a mother. In this example, the desire most likely is not just to have a baby. But also, to nurture your child, become a parent. Not to mention, building a legacy. All that, while also experiencing playtime, exploring and seeing the world through a child’s eyes!
The whole picture: the destination is more than a dot on a map!
Because most of our long-term dreams include the surrounding aspects, keeping the balance on the journey is equally important. Finding flow in a hobby and developing healthy habits will help to keep you on track. While also, paving the way for the future goal to come into fruition. That way, once you are CEO of a company AND a mother; you’ll be able to continue the balance between your career, your family and your own personal self care.
Facing discouragement and wherewithal to ‘keep going’
When facing any discouragement, it will become evermore important to keep going. Surely, you’ve watched friends give up just before there could have been a major breakthrough. Or someone stops short because they simply haven’t seen the income they’d hoped for. These are the times when your personal clarity and ‘why’ behind your goal is SO important. Remember, the final destination is more than just a dot on a map.
Most of the time, our reasoning behind our stated destination is so much more than just getting there. Instead, it is about building the character, gaining the skills or having the experience. Yes, at times, we just want (or maybe need) money to start flowing in, but usually our true desires are more than financial. Even in our careers, yes our paychecks might be in the top 2 reasons we do our jobs, but the fulfillment we get out of it should be prioritized as well.
Making adjustments but never giving up
As you move down the path toward success, you are sure to see some unexpected setbacks. Alongside bursts of progress. As this occurs, it will require you to stay clear on your destination. So that, you can make any small adjustments to stay on track. Staying clear on your destination allows you to see when progress is being made. In addition to when things are starting to go off track. Without clarity on where you are going, it would be much more difficult to know whether the decision to turn left or right even matter. Even if you do not have an exact map (perhaps because you are in unchartered territory); your intuition will most likely kick-in to let you know.
When we face these setbacks and discouragements, it should be a sign to make an adjustment; however we should never simply give up. If something is truly a passion, our inner selves will take over and give us the extra push and tenacity we need. Sometimes a break is necessary to re-gain clarity, but at the end of the day it is so important we keep going.
If you are at a point where you’ve got the clarity on your end destination and you’ve already made adjustments but just can’t seem to find the courage to put yourself out there. This post on having the courage to create might be for you!
Measuring progress leading up to arrival at your destination
In the business world, we track and measure our progress through KPI’s (key performance indicators). KPI’s are an indicator on the current status and health of the topic. KPI’s are similar to the warning lights in your car. In order to know which KPI’s apply to the specific situation or changes we are making, it is imperative to be extremely clear about the end goal.
Examples of these measurements in our day to day lives might be things like:
- Report cards or a workplace mid-year review
- Financial assessments or a budget tracker (such as Mint.com)
- The bathroom scale
- Fitbit dashboard or the Health App
While a friend of mine was trying to loose weight, she used her iPhone watch to track activities and food. In addition, she weighed herself everyday and took the AVERAGE weight week by week to track progress. This helped to keep things in perspective as well as give a more accurate picture of the trend over time. Not to mention, weighing everyday was more motivation to eat properly and stay active!
In the past, I was the type of person who, until the goal was met, I would not allow myself to celebrate. In addition, I wanted to reach my end goal as fast as possible. This mentality got me through a 5 year college program in 3 years, something I am proud of. Looking back, I wished I had let myself *feel* the success of each assignment. Or at the very least each course with a score of 4.0.
Not only would I push myself to do my best and go as fast as possible. As soon as an achievement was complete, I was on to the next thing. Sadly, accomplishments came and went. Instead of celebrating, I would put pressure on myself to do better, go faster and improve for the next time. (Quick side note: while I was doing this I had no idea how it felt to an outsider looking in. Most of the people who are labeled as type-a or overachievers are, in no way shape or form, comparing themselves to anyone but themselves! I say this because all too often someone would think I was trying to out-show someone else and this just isn’t the case).
Celebrate in your own way
Never really been known as a ‘fun’ person, I want to add a key component to celebration. Celebration does not have to be traditional in any sense. If you are similar in disposition to me, shaking a bottle of champagne or pouring the ice water over someone isn’t your thing. Instead, for me celebration is quiet, an inner feeling that I really don’t even need another to witness.
All that being said, learning to celebrate and feel accomplishment in your own way is important. Recognizing your own unique talents and personality treats which have gotten you to your destination is something to celebrate! Figure out what feels right to you and give yourself the moment to feel good about your accomplishments. The celebration can be as simple as: letting out that sigh of relief. Especially, after you do something you never thought you’d be able to do!
In the comments, it would be great to hear how you enjoy celebrating. And adding in the last thing you HAVE celebrated!