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  • Writer's pictureTim Buchalka

Focus and Goal Setting

What I've found in life is you tend to get what you focus on most of the time, so I wanna talk about that in conjunction with goal setting and how you can use that to literally attain anything you want moving forward. Let's talk about in today's blog.

Today we're talking about goal setting and focus, and how you can use this to your advantage to succeed in almost any aspect of life but with an emphasis today, obviously, on programming.

I mentioned earlier, you tend to get what you focus on most of the time, and that's certainly been true for me. I didn't believe that when I was a younger person but over time, I've found that that has been proven true to me and I wanna pass this on to you as well.

Now, in order to know where you're going in life, you need to have a goal. If you don't have goals, you haven't got written-down goals, what I've found is you tend to be part of someone else's. In other words, if you're just sort of drifting and you haven't got any firm plans, then maybe your employer, you're part of your employer's vision of what he wants to get out of life and that's because you haven't got anything written down, so you sort of amble along which may be okay. You might be happy doing that but ultimately, if you want to succeed, I've found you really do need to write down your goals in advance and be referring to them on a regular basis.

When you're entering the process of mapping your goals - and I'm suggesting you do that - remember why you're doing this. Don't make it seem like an exercise, like "Oh great, I've gotta map out my goals." This is your life we're talking about, so map out the goals that you're passionate about, things that you really wanna achieve and that you're excited by. They're the type of goals you should be focusing on not like "Ah, great, I guess I better get 'another programming job'".

Now if you're thinking like that, I think that's the wrong approach to take. So look for things that really focus you and pump you up and excite you. If you find things like that, they're the types of things that, you know, you need to write down, and some examples, you might want a better life. You might better security. You might want just to be happier. You might have a job that you don't like, and they're key reasons, but you'd obviously wanna break down into a lot more detail, and obviously, the other one is financial goals. You might wanna earn more money to pay for a new house or new car or whatever it is.

So write all those down. Once you've written them down, start looking at those daily and I know this sounds a bit weird but I've found that if you've got these concrete goals, you've got them written down and you're focusing on them, your subconscious is a very powerful thing and it's gonna help you be working towards you achieving those goals.

The other thing obviously (I say obviously but it may not be obvious to you) is put a time frame for completion on these goals. I think that's really important as well. You should really know in advance, "Okay, I'm aiming to have this goal completed by --" and whatever the date is, by doing that, you're focusing. You're putting things into place to help you to move forward to succeed and to actually reach that goal, which is really important.

Now, one recommendation I have for if you're just starting out with this goal setting business is to start small, just to prove the concepts and to give you confidence that you're not wasting your time. As an example, let's just say you're going through one of my programming courses and maybe you've just started or your partway through, give yourself a completion date and just sort of say, "I'm gonna have this course completed by (whatever the date is)", could be a month into the future, two months, three months, or whatever it is. Write down the date that you've committed to (today's date if you're doing it today) and mark it on the calendar, that period, that completion date.

Once you get to that date, if you're focusing on that and you're remembering and you're reading your goals and you're thinking, "Okay, I've gotta get that finished by that date", you're motivating yourself to reach that goal and even your subconscious is gonna kick in. You'll start getting reminded, "Oh, I better do that study now. I need to get that course completed by that date" and things start happening for you by doing that, so that's my suggestion to do that.

As you achieve these smaller goals and you've proven that these things are working for you, you'll build up more confidence and in the process, you can start mapping out bigger goals moving forward and bigger goals with longer time frames because you've actually been through and proven to yourself that it works.

Another thing that I would highly recommend is to prioritize your goals. If you've got 10 goals (for argument's sake), start working on the one that means the most to you, that's the most important, and then move on to the next one. What I've found some people do is they might have 20 goals in a variety of different areas and they're focusing a little bit on 20 goals, which means that overall, you're not actually completing any goals very fast. It's taking a long time because you'll be working on 20 goals in conjunction with each other. They have to all be completed basically at the same time almost because it's like a process of doing a little bit every day.

If you're setting yourself important goals, try and focus on one goal and smash that and get it out of the way as quickly as possible. Then move on to the next one. Now, that's not to say you should only be working on one goal at a time but what I'm saying is try not to work on all the goals concurrently because you'll find that it's very slow progress and that might demotivating for you because you're not seeing any progress. So it can be a good thing sometimes to just focus on a specific goal, get that out of the way, tick it off and then move on to the next thing.

Again, work towards that mapping out those list of goals and then start working towards completing something or working towards completing part of those goals every day. That's really important and what I'd suggest you do is don't treat your list of goals like a typical to-do list where you just wanna mark things off or check things off as quickly as possible. You put some thought into it. You're trying to complete a goal and then you wanna celebrate when you do complete a goal. It's not just something you quickly check off and then move on to the next thing. You're there to celebrate and think, "Wow! Okay, I've actually finished this! This is fantastic!" So do that is my firmest recommendation: to celebrate your successes as well as finish these goals and then, obviously, you're remapping them, adding new goals as you're going through the process.

The other thing I'd recommend you do is focus on the harder tasks first. It can be something to get into sometimes and this is more with to-do lists where you tend to wanna get them finished as quickly as possible. So you start scanning the list, to-do list, looking for particular items in the to-do list that you can mark off as quickly as possible. Here, I'm suggesting with your goals, focus on completing the hardest one first. Why? Because then, the other ones are a lot easier and you can get some momentum knowing "Oh wow! I've completed the hardest thing on my list. I can move towards the other ones".

So basically, that's my suggestion. Write down your goals, keep your list there, read the list of goals every day, and just keep in mind, if you can, with everything you do, you're working towards completing these goals. Look at that big picture, where you're going to be once you've achieved those goals.

The other thing I just wanna quickly point out just before you finish this post is don't get stuck on the small things, so keep the bigger picture in mind. As an example, let's just say you're looking to complete that programming course, that example we talked about earlier, and if you get stuck on a specific programming challenge in the course, at this point in time, if you're stuck right now, that can be really frustrating for you. But recognize that once that challenge is solved - and it may not be solved today, might take you 24 hours or 48 hours to find a solution, it might a bit of soul searching, a bit more thought, a bit more trial-and-error - but once it's solved, that problem that was seemingly insurmountable, that frustration has disappeared. Solving that will move you on to completing your goals and because you've completed a challenge, you're one step closer to completing your goal which, in this case, was to complete the course and that's obviously then gonna ultimately contribute to your long-term success.

So remember to focus on your successes as well no matter how small, as you've got something that you've succeeded with. Take the time out to go "Wow, I've completed that! That's awesome! I feel good about that!" and do not just focus on what you'd still need to do. Because you can put yourself into a negative mindset sometimes and start thinking, "Wow, I've still got all these things to do and it's never gonna be finished". But as you finish something, focus on that.

No matter how long it takes to complete something, once you've completed it, you know, whether it's a short period of time or a long period of time, celebrate your successes and have fun along the way.

That's it for me today and I hope that helped. If you got any questions, feel free to leave a comment, and I'll get back to you.

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