Focus: Accomplishing Goals
“Focus is where your attention is placed.”
Are you focused on the past? Are you focused on the future? Or are you focused on making today, this moment, the best moment it can be?
A very wise man, and a good friend of mine, Ray Razzanno has always taught me to be in the NOW. To be in the moment. To see what is going on NOW and not worry about anything else. You cannot change yesterday. You cannot solidify tomorrow. You can only change what you are doing NOW. To be focused you must be able to let everything else go, in that moment. It does not matter who you were, or what you did yesterday, or what you will be or will do tomorrow. The only thing that matters is what you do NOW to create your legacy.
Where you focus is where you will grow. By focusing on too many things at once you will see little to no change in any one area. Often times, a broad focus is more detrimental than good. The same goes for strength training, or building your body. There are three common goals that people pursue in training; building strength, increasing muscle tone or increasing endurance. Though these goals can all build upon and with each other, by focusing on all 3 you cannot have the greatest effect in any one area. To increase your strength to its highest level, you must let your endurance and muscle tone fade. Increasing muscle tone is harmful to your strength and building muscle is detrimental to your endurance. By building a great amount of endurance, you will lose maximal strength and decrease muscle size. However, focusing your efforts on one specific area, or goal you can see continued progress and reach your goal faster. Set your sights on one goal and stick with it until it is accomplished.
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It is important to have a plan to reach any goal. Louie Simmons, a world renowned powerlifter, coach and owner of Westside Barbell, once quoted a powerful saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” To make a plan for any goal you need to answer three questions; why, how and what.
- Why? – Why do you want to reach this goal? Why do you want change? Why are you pursuing this? Why do you need this? If you do not know why you are setting a goal then you will not stick with it. You must have a purpose for a goal to be meaningful. This question can only be answered by you. No one can tell you “why” except you.
- How? – How are you going to accomplish your goal? How is this possible? How can you make it work? You must know how to accomplish a goal before starting your pursuit. This may require further education, guidance or advice from others that know more about it than you. Take a personal training client for example. If the client knew how to make their goals happen then they would do it themselves. Most personal training clients do not know how to reach their goals, which is why they seek the guidance of those with greater knowledge than themselves. To learn “how” to accomplish your goal, find guidance from those with experience in accomplishing the same, or a similar, goal.
- What? – What do you need to do to accomplish this goal? What does it take to reach and surpass your own expectations? What do you need to do this year, month, week, and day to stay on track? What do you need to do NOW to accomplish your goal? When you know what you have to do, then all that is left is, to do it. You cannot just sit around and expect life to come to you. If you want something then go get it. The time is NOW!
After you have a plan of why you are pursuing your goal, how to reach it and what you have to do; what is left is using your focus to achieve it. Focus on doing whatever it takes to reach your goal. Use your focus daily and be committed to your goal. No excuses, just hard work. By doing little things every day, they will add up to great progress. Your goals may take days, months, or even years but if you stay focused you can accomplish them. The greater the goal, the more focus that is required. While you are acting on what you have to do to accomplish your goal don’t let yourself get distracted. Distractions stall progress. You must learn to maintain your focus and let it grow into a powerful strength.
There are many ways to grow your focus, including strength training. You cannot build enough strength to lift 300, 400, 500, 600, 700 or more pounds without increasing focus. It takes hard work to gain strength and a lot of patience. Not everything will come easy. You will be tested many times, but those that prevail will do so with greater focus. Just look around. How many people do you know that are strong enough to lift 500 or more pounds and are not focused? They may not have focus in the same areas as others but they have the ability to focus on any task they are given. Those with increasing strength know dedication, hard work and focus, as that is the “how” in accomplishing their strength goals.
Another powerful tool to increase your focus is to just relax and let everything else go. It does not matter where you are or what you are doing. Just be in the moment, and let everything else around you fade away. Do not think of your success or failures. Do not think of the noise or other bothers around you. Be relaxed and do not think of anything. Be in that moment. You can do this for 10 seconds, one minute or as long as you need to be able to better focus on the moment. No matter how busy our lives get we always have a minute available to re-focus. When you come back to action, let all the noise of life stay faded away as you focus on accomplishing the task in front of you. Leave the distraction far away while you are in the moment to create change. Focus on the NOW and make this moment the greatest it can be. Have no fear. Do not let emotion take over. Let there be nothing in your mind other than focus.
Focus is the ability to stay on track. The ability to continue towards one goal at a time until you surpass it. Goals are not achieved by mistake. It takes focus to accomplish any goal that is worth writing down. As a final tip, I encourage you to write down your goals and always keep them in mind. Make a list of life goals. Then list long term, or yearly goals. Finally, a list of short term or weekly and daily goals. These can be of any subject; financial, life, educational, strength, or health and fitness. No matter you goals, do not put them off. Make a plan for each goal and start working towards them. Find “why” you want to accomplish these goals. Find “how” you will accomplish them. Find “what” you need to do today to get started and do it. Make your life what you want it to be. Take action and bring about the change you want. It does not matter where you start. What matters is finishing. Set your goals, hone your focus and go get what is yours! When problems arise, welcome them as they make you STRONGer and use your focus to leap over them! No matter what, keep moving forward. Push to the end and never give up!
Strength to You,
The STRONGer Coach
Ryan Mathias, CPT
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