“Why can’t I seem to finish anything?”

Not what you want to be thinking while working on your goals. Instead, you want to think:

“I got so much done today!”

How do you go from zero focus to laser like focus?

We are going to dive into how you can focus on your goals in this article. We will start with exactly what focus is, how to stay focused in the long term and in the moment.

Let’s first get started with exactly what focus on goals means! Don’t want you confused at the very beginning. 😉

how to stay focused on your goals

What Does It Mean to Focus on Goals?

Focusing on your goals has two components. The first is long-term focus. How you stay engaged and work on goals over time. If you have a five-year goal, how do you maintain focus through the ups and downs that come with achieving a goal?

Second, is focus that is in the moment while you are working on goal tasks. If you have a great five-year plan, but can’t execute on it in the moment, the plan will fail.

So, staying focused on your goals requires you to focus in the moment and over time.

Why Am I Not Able to Focus on My Goals?

We are all unique, so what is preventing you from focusing on your goals, may be different than others. But there are some common blocks that I see with myself and my clients.

Blocks to Focus for Present Moment

  • Too much distraction. This can be environmentally or things that need done. Having too much going on will keep you scattered.
  • Poor Sleep – while we sleep our minds process everything from the day before. If you don’t get enough quality sleep, you will struggle to focus. And the longer this goes on the worse your focus will be.
  • Lack of structure – with this I am referring to how you will implement your plan. You planned your goal but didn’t add it to your schedule. This will make it hard for you to even start the tasks you need to focus on.

Blocks to Focus for Long-Term

  • Burn out – if you aren’t taking time off it is hard to keep going.
  • Poor planning – lack of planning and just winging it will make it hard to achieve your goals. Goals need to be broken down into smaller chunks to make it easier to achieve.
  • You don’t want the goal. This is more common than you think! When we set goals for others or no longer want something. You will block yourself from focusing. You will self-sabotage along the way.

How to Stay Focused on Goals in the Present Moment

Understand How You Function

The number one most important thing is to understand how you function. Instead of running out and trying every new time management technique, productivity fad or brain hack. Stop and make sure they will work for you!

We all operate differently. Just because a morning person who is successful says you should get up before dawn doesn’t mean it will be good for you. If you are a night person, it could do more harm than good.

How do you do this? Spend time learning more about you. My favorite tool for self-discovery is journaling. Here are some journal prompts that will help you figure out the best routine for you.

Journal Prompts to Stay Focused on Goals

  • When am I most productive? (Keep a daily log of when things are easier if you need to.)
  • What helps me stay on task?
  • When do I have the most energy?
  • What tasks require the most energy from me?
  • When I try to work on my goals what stops me?
  • What emotions come up when trying to work on my goals?
  • Are there specific tasks that I try to avoid? Why?
  • What gets me excited about working on my goals?

Once you know how you function, then you can start creating plans that are based on how you focus. Not a random person!

For example, if you are trying to lose weight. And you figure out that the task you avoid the most is weightlifting. And it is because it feels overwhelming because you are new to it and don’t want to get hurt. Then you can make plans such as hiring a trainer, asking an experienced friend to work out with you or taking a class.

Without this self-discovery you may think it is because you aren’t disciplined enough. Then try to fix the wrong problem. Instead of asking for help, you convince yourself you are emotionally weak and try to push though. Ultimately quitting because that wasn’t the problem!

Keep circling back around to these questions when you are stuck. If you are consistently not focusing on something, then dig into what your block is and fix that!

Looking for help with building discipline? Check out my article on how to build discipline.

Create The Right Environment for Focusing

Any goal you are working on will require you to be physically somewhere. Where this is can impact how productive and focused you are.

For example, if you are trying to write a book at home.  But in the background the kids are screaming, the neighbor’s mowing the lawn and the air-conditioner is broken on a 97-degree day – you’ll struggle write.

Or going back to our losing weight example. If you are trying to lift weights at a gym, but the place is always packed so you can’t get on the machines you need. And the smell is so bad you have to breathe through your mouth. You will stop wanting to go or make your workouts very short. 

Instead, you might be better off writing at the public library. Or working out at home with a set of dumbbells.

What do you need for a good environment? This will again depend on you, but here are some things to take into consideration when creating your perfect workspace.

  • Noise levels – make sure it matches what you need to function at your best. This is where using a log to track your productivity can be helpful.
  • Accessibility – are you able to get there when you need? If you are working out at the gym but can’t get there on a regular basis because of work commitments, then you need a new location!
  • Distractions – make sure you aren’t distracted by your stuff or others. Here are some examples of distractions: general noise (air conditioner running), other people talking, TV, your friends trying to talk to you, or an unfinished project for another goal.
  • Comfort levels – do you like your chair? Is it too hot? Is the table too far way? Take into consideration how you physically feel. If you are uncomfortable, it makes it hard to focus.

Mental Focus for Your Goals

Are you worried about the meeting three weeks from now instead of focusing on the book you are trying to write? Our mind has a sneaky way of ruminating, worrying and being scattered even after we have set the perfect space.

In this situation meditation and journaling will help you learn to manage your thoughts. This is more about building up a regular practice to help get your thoughts under control. Than a practice you do right before you focus. (Although a journaling brain dump will help.)

A meditation practice will help you to control and manage your thoughts. A journaling practice can help you to address those worries and concerns by giving them a space to live.

 To learn more about either of these you can visit: Mediation or Journaling

Miscellaneous Focus Tools & Tips

  • Do only one task at a time. Every time you switch tasks it requires your brain to shift. You lose valuable focus time doing this. So, while it might seem like a great use of time to write your book between your weightlifting sets – it isn’t! You will lose track of what you want to say or miss the start time for your next set. Do one at a time! Plus, as you wait for that next set to start, your subconscious can think about your book for you! 😁
  • Music or background noise. This is a great way to help your mind focus on the task at hand. The type of music that works best is specific to you and what you are doing. Play around with what works best for you. For me instrumental hip hop works great when I am focusing on a mental task. But when I am doing cardio, I need some pop music. And keep in mind that for you it might be you need complete silence, or something like coffee shop sounds. It doesn’t have to always be music.
  • Turn your phone off or leave it in another room. It is too easy to grab it and distract yourself on social media. Worried you will miss a call from your kids or spouse? I turn my phone on do not disturb with only my son able to get though when I need to be available to him. Then I set it across the room. This way, I am available for him, but it’s not right next to me.
  • Sometimes you will need to change what works. There will be days when what normally works for you simply won’t. On these days, make adjustments to help you focus. For example, normally I write at my dining room table. When I am struggling I either move to the couch or to a coffee shop. It’s okay to not do the exact same thing every time.

How to Stay Focused on Long-term Goals

You have mastered focusing in the moment. But now you are struggling to stay consistent over the long term with your goals. And no matter how great your in the moment focus is, if you struggle to keep doing it – you won’t achieve your goals!  

Here are some tips to help you stay focused on your longer-term goals.

Remember Your Why

You want to get laser clear on why you want to achieve your goal. This will help keep you motivated and focused.

Visual Cues

Write your goals and the why behind each and put it in front of your desk or make it a screensaver. The point is to remind you of what you want and why – continually.

Break the Goals Down

Instead of I want to save $20,000 for a house down payment in five years. It becomes I am going to save $333 a month. Or even $10.95 a day. The more you get to check things off your to-do list, the more motivated and focused you will be.

Avoid Too Many Goals and Tasks

Our brains can only handle so much, and it likes to finish stuff! So, if you are constantly adding things or trying to work on too many goals at once it will shut down your brain. I recommend no more than three goals at a time.

Know When to Take a Break.

Pushing no matter what is NOT a good plan. No matter how much you are told to work hard, keep going, don’t give up. There are times when you need to slow down. Burnout will make it harder to achieve your goals. So, if you need a week or even a month off to be able to keep going. Take it! This does not make you a quitter or a failure.


the more you take care of yourself the easier it is to show up for the long term. Make sure you are taking care of yourself on a regular basis. This will help you avoid the longer breaks necessary for burnout.

Get an Accountability Partner.

Have a friend working on a similar goal? Team up. Or hire a coach or ask your partner to keep you on track. Reporting to just yourself makes it easy to give up and not stay focused.

Now you have the tools to empower you to focus on your goals – and achieve them!

Still Struggling to Achieve Your Goals?  

Download my free Ebook on the top three blocks to achieving your goals.

So you can solve the problem and get to achieving!

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