Focus and motivation are probably the two most powerful factors you need to achieve your goals in life. But the truth is, many of us find it really difficult to stay focused or motivated for any length of time. We start at a project, whether it’s weight loss or business related goals, with great intentions and then we get sidetracked and forget what we were doing in the first place.
To find success and bring everything together you can have either focus or motivation but you have to have both. It’s about having the right mindset. In other words, how you think, what frame of mind you’re in and how you perceive the challenges that life throws at you.
Mindset is what you believe, is what motivates you and it’s what gets you going at any time of the day. When you believe that you can you will end when you believe you can’t you won’t. In other words what you believe is what you will achieve and that is mindset.
Some people laugh and believe that mindset is touchy-feely stuff that was born out of New Age psychedelic belief systems. But in reality it is nothing more than what each of us have operated under since the day we were born-you just identified with the specific term. Your mind is an incredibly powerful piece of equipment that can achieve what ever it believe it is possible.
Couple focus and motivation with mindset and you have a powerful force that can propel any individual to whatever successful goal they want to achieve.
But motivation is nothing without focus. If you choose to rely only on your motivation in order to achieve whatever goals you set for yourself, you will probably fail. In fact there are so many theories about motivation that it’s difficult to pin down any one specific theory in order to assist the individual in improving their motivation. Motivation is flimsy and fleeting and when experts are still trying to figure out how it works it is probably not a factor you need to rely on when trying to achieve your goals.
However, motivation seems to get all of the press and the media attention when anyone talks about goal achievement. In fact, it’s actually focus that is responsible for people who find success in their chosen fields. Millions and millions of people are motivated to lose weight and free day and millions of smokers are motivated to quit smoking but only those who remain focused on their goals will achieve success.
Motivation is the piece of the puzzle that lights the fire under an individual but focus and willpower is the engine that keeps the individual moving toward their goals.
In a study at Columbia University researchers found that emotion had a significant impact on the amount of motivation and individual was able to use in order to achieve their goals. Performance feedback was used on subjects who worked on tasks and was couched as either a positive or negative. Researchers were able to help individuals attaining more positive outcomes framing negative emotions and reversing to a positive outcome. Unfortunately, individuals were unable to obtain these same results without the assistance of another person to help them reframe their negative emotions. (1)
This means that without support from other groups or individuals, a person who is trying to attain a significant goal purely on motivation will fail. And even those who are attempting to obtain a goal with support will fail if they rely strictly on motivation. By using others to help of reframe their emotions individuals were better able to maintain focus and improve motivation.
We are our own driving force behind success. This means that no matter how many times people tell us that our idea won’t work, it’s stupid or “get real” it is what we believe and how we stay focused that really makes the difference in whether or not we achieve our goals.
While finding support will help us to improve our motivation and focus there are three things that will kill it faster than anything else. The first is tolerating things that you would not normally tolerate. Are you putting out with something in your life that you’d like to get rid of? The second thing is procrastination. This means that you choose to put off until tomorrow what should be done today. This procrastinating you are increasing your work load for the next day and decreasing the likelihood that you will achieve your goals.
And the third thing which will kill your motivation is being incomplete on things in your life. Although we might like to believe that we can’t compartmentalize our business life, our family life, our friends and our hobby away from each other it just isn’t true. If our favorite pet passes away our sadness will be pervasive and become a part of all of the relationships in our life for the next few weeks or months.
If you are ending a relationship or under stress in your job it will be much more difficult for you to maintain your level of motivation and continue to move toward success.
By integrating your focus on a project and your motivation to complete that project as well as your mindset you will achieve great success in your life.
(1) Affective Science: From Affect to Control: Functional Specialization of the Insula in Motivation and Regulation
Andrew Kardon: 10 Ways to Stay Focused and Motivated While You Work
University of Tennessee: Tips for College Students: MOtivation
University of Michigan: Strategies for success