The future belongs to the focused
Setting goals improves our productivity, satisfaction, and perspective – whether we achieve them or not. 🎯
The future doesn't belong to the smartest person in the room. Nor does it belong to the strongest or the fastest. Sure, they may get some attention... But the future, I believe, belongs to the focused. The people who manage to set goals and focus on them, without constantly getting distracted or pulled away from work.
When we set goals, we create a system of accountability that helps us measure our progress over time. In mental health goals are used as a way to show progress. If you can measure where you’re starting and how you’re doing based on set markers, you can demonstrate change. Without knowing what you’re changing, it’s difficult to track progress.
Now, we can’t measure or meet every goal we make, and that’s ok (well, kind of, I know). Creating aspirations for our future self is beneficial to our wellbeing regardless. Turns out that the simple act of setting goals to focus on improves our productivity, satisfaction, and perspective – and this is true whether or not we reach them!
A simple explanation might be this: goal-setting engages the reticular activating system (RAS) in our brain. (I’d love to tell you more about it but I’m not really up to the task, so I’ll go straight to the point.) This system’s role is to identify people, information, and opportunities in our environment that are valuable to us and bring them to our attention.
The RAS plays a vital part in our ability to recognise the steps we need to take to achieve our goals when we focus on them. It’s like a built-in best friend who only wants what’s best for us! When we don’t take the time to think about our goals, we miss out on its benefits – and, as a result, we get distracted or lose motivation more easily.
What if we fail to meet a goal? There’s value in that too. Not getting something provides a lesson in acceptance and an opportunity to learn. We learn to discern between what has worked and what hasn't, and we might finally replace some old habits with new ones that help us succeed moving forward. And, hey – it happens to
the best all of us.
The truth is that no matter how hard we try, some things we’ll get and some we won’t, and those we won’t will always hurt a little (or a lot). What helps? In my experience, ice cream, long hugs, and the things we do get! So you might as well set your next goal, focus hard, and get going – fingers crossed for you, and may the RAS and all the coffee help!
The future belongs to the focused.