Successful martial artists all share a particular trait: Laser-like Focus. This personal trait is common to all those people we see around us who manifest the greatness and success we all seek.
As 2012 began I wrote a series of articles focused on goal-setting the way a martial artist would approach the process. In the first article,2012 NY Resolutions, a martial artist’s plan, the concept of developing a plan of action was explored. The first article also introduced the acronym most martial artists use for setting goals, S.M.A.R.T. The series continued with, Vision 2012, a martial artist’s plan for success, a deeper exploration of using vision to power your plan of action, finding motivation in your dreams. In the third article, Hit the Target, 2012 Goal success, the subject matter became more concrete, focusing on how to develop a plan for success. One of the key components of that process is scheduling your success. But, what does this really look like?
The difficulty most of us run into is in understanding how to become truly focused. As we move through our day we find ourselves becoming distracted by the randomness of life. As new ideas present themselves, as situations change, as opportunities arise, we are all pulled in new directions and forget our original purpose. So, how do we develop the focus of a successful martial artist?
First, start by making sure you know what it is you wish to accomplish and write it down. This can be a goal for the day, the week, the month, or even longer. Be specific. Once you have your goal on paper, review it and make sure you are really motivated to accomplish the goal. This is the beginning of success, but the goal alone is not enough. The larger the goal the more it should be broken down into smaller steps to make it achievable.
Next it is time to “download” every thought that you have related to the overall goal. This is an important step that should be repeated often. As projects progress the “rules” often change, new resources and opportunities present themselves, and new ideas are born. Taking the time to “empty your cup” every day allows you to stay focused on the overall goal without losing sight of new opportunities. Once this list is committed to paper, take a few minutes to review each item for relevance. While all ideas are good ideas, not all of them will be relevant to reaching your goal.
Finally, and most importantly, make your list of goals and steps trackable. This process goes beyond simply making a list of things to do. Success comes from pushing ourselves outside of our “comfort zone”. When left to decide what to do and when to do it, most people will choose to do what is comfortable and easiest. A successful “to-do list” includes a specific schedule for completion. Your overall goal should have a deadline, without a deadline the target will simply move out as distractions arise. Once you have set that target take each of your identified steps and, working backwards, set deadlines for each. Without the pressure of hitting your deadlines the items that cause the most “discomfort” will simply slide to the bottom of the list as new ideas are added. Set a schedule and hold yourself to it, daily.
Remember, your schedule need not be “all work”. The most successful people know how to relax and enjoy life as well as work smart. Make sure you plan your work and work your plan so that you too can enjoy a successful and fulfilling life.