We all have goals that we work towards one day and kind of push off over time. Perhaps you really don’t want to be fit or learn a second language. But if you’re like me, the biggest issue is learning how to stay focused on goals.

Motivation is fleeting, and while you may feel filled with energy and excitement one day, the next, you may find yourself wanting to sleep in just a little longer.

And before you know it, months pass by and you’ve done nothing to reach your goals. You didn’t follow a plan or even reach your first monthly milestone.

So, what can you do?

We’re going to outline the exact steps you can take to start staying focused on goals and priorities to start living your best life.

How to Stay Focused on Goals? Start With the Basics First

Before moving into any tips or recommendations, you need to do a little preliminary work first. I remember banging my head against the wall and asking, “how do I stay focused on my goals?” And if I had just listened to the basic recommendations of others, I would have reached my goals faster.

The basic recommendations, include:

Learn What Motivates You

What motivates you?

  • Money
  • Knowledge
  • Health
  • Impressing others
  • What?

Every goal has a motivation. For example, do you want a new home because it will be closer to the city or offer you peace and quiet? Or do you want a new home to impress others? Are you going to the gym to improve your health or impress someone else?

If you reach your goal, what will it mean to you?

Goals tend to be less realistic when they’re for vanity or for something short-term. For example:

  • You want to get fit to impress someone is less likely to become a reality than…
  • You want to get fit for yourself, feel better, have more energy, reduce health risks, etc.

Dig deep into what motivates you when setting a goal because you want the goal to be something that you can achieve.

Write Down Your Goals

Writing is a powerful tool. When you think “I want to reach this goal” in your mind, it’s not quite the same as writing it down on paper.


I have no idea. There’s a psychology behind writing down your goals. It makes them real.

However, instead of saying “I am going to lose 50 pounds,” it’s better to start with SMART goals.


What are SMART Goals?

SMART is short for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

So, your goal is to lose 50 pounds. In this case, you may want to write down the following:

  • S: I’m going to exercise daily.
  • M: I will use an app to track my progress.
  • A: I will aim to lose 1 pound per week.
  • R: I want to reach my goal to fit into my old clothes, feel healthier and lift more weight. I want energy and to feel good about myself.
  • T: I will lose the weight in one year for my high school reunion.

When it comes to time, you want to be realistic with your approach. How much time do you have to dedicate to your goal? What would a realistic time span be to reach your goal? Don’t ask your friends on Facebook or get inspired by someone selling a course on Instagram.

Really do your research here to know what’s attainable or you’re going to set yourself up for failure.

Once your goals are written down, it’s time to focus on ways to stay focused on goals so that you can actually reach them.

7 Advanced Ways to Stay Focused on Goals

1. Start With Challenging Goals

One study found that you’re 90% more likely to reach a goal when it’s challenging. Specific, challenging goals push us to be better people, and they’re something that you never want to underestimate.

If your goal is too easy, shoot for the moon and try again.

Want some motivation?


2. Create Milestones

Goal pursuits should be broken down into milestones, especially if you have lofty goals. For example, if your goal is to wake up early tomorrow, set the alarm and do it. However, if you want to become fluent in Spanish, you’re going to need to create milestones.

For example:

  • Learn 500 words
  • 1000 words
  • 1500 words
  • 2000 words
  • Start reading kid’s books in Spanish
  • Work with a tutor to practice speaking

And continue on with your milestone. There’s no trick on how to stay focused on long-term goals, but when you break down your goal pursuits, you’re going to feel satisfaction along the way.

Satisfaction creates a mental shift that allows you to continue working towards key goals.

3. Achievement-Based Motivation

There are a lot of different types of motivation. However, achievement-based motivation is something that you can will into existence and use to trick your brain into reaching your goals. For example, let’s say that you have measurable goals, such as landing 10 clients for your business.

Well, you can pat yourself on the back by:

  • Treating your family to dinner when you land 5 new clients
  • Going on vacation when you reach your goal
  • Etc.

Achievements deserve to be recognized.

4. Work With a Coach

You may be ultra-independent and the thought of working with a coach may cause you to turn your nose up to the idea. However, if you’re not reaching your goals, there are literally coaches or tutors for everything.

Try and find a coach that has reached the goal that you want to reach.

You’ll find coaches for financial goals, weight loss goals, language learning – everything. If you know that you’re not the type of person to stick to your own plans or find a way to self-sabotage yourself, hire a coach.

Plus, if you’re anything like me, you hate wasting money, so paying a coach may help you even stay focused.

measure and adjust your goals

5. Measure and Adjust

Passive goal setting may work for some people, but when active goal setting, you need to measure and adjust. For example, you may have 1-3 major goals, and while you made progress early on to hit some milestones, progress may have stalled.

Don’t make the mistake of following a failed approach and losing time.


  • Measure your progress
  • Adjust what’s not working

If you’re not tracking every facet of your plan, you won’t know if you’re inching closer to your key goals. Tracking goals over time allows you to make the adjustments necessary to continue on your path to success.

6. Use Time Chunks When Possible

Laser focus over a long period of time is difficult. Our attention spans are short, just 8 seconds – 15 minutes or more, and it’s easy to get stuck on time wasters, such as scrolling endlessly on Instagram.

The truth is that attention span depends on individual tasks and the individual.

If you’re not able to maintain your attention span, you may want to consider breaking tasks into chunks. For example, when trying to learn a language, opt for 10-20 minutes or 15-20 minutes of hyper-focused study time each day.

Are you working out?

Shut the phone off and hustle for however long you need. You can’t break every task into chunks, but if you can’t maintain your focus, using time chunks is a great way to maintain deep focus for longer.

7. Create a Plan

One of the key ways to stay focused on goals is to create a plan. Your plan should be focused on time management and include:

  • Scheduling out the daily habits you’ll follow to reach your goal.
  • To-do lists, which allow you to visualize goals and work towards achieving them one step at a time.

Your plan should be realistic and achievable. It’s imperative that the plan you create be so well-planned that if you follow it, you’ll reach your goals. Businesses use this type of in-depth planning to grow and build their brands. Often, it’s the foundation of the initial business plan that leads to success.

You need to create this foundation, too.

Plan out your journey for each task completion to reach your goals.

An ultimate goal should consist of a bunch of realistic goals. If you follow the tips above, you’ll find that you’ll reach your milestones or “mini goals” over time, which will keep you motivated and free from pesky distractions.

How To Stay Focused on Goals and Not Get Sidetracked With Friends

A social life is something that is so important in life. You want to reach your goals while also making memories with other people. Studies show that quality social relationships have short- and long-term effects on health.

Poor social relationships can impact:

  • Health habits
  • Mortality
  • Physical health
  • Mental health

However, reaching your goals is also something that you should never neglect because it’s also a major mental boost.

So, what can you do?

Plan for disruptions. If you know that your friend Jenn is coming to town next week, plan to have a day off with her. However, if the social disruptions and friends become too time-consuming, you may also want to:

  • Schedule the tasks you need to perform to reach your goals early in the day
  • Say “no” to friends on occasion to have time to reach your goal

True friends will respect the time and hustle that you’re putting in to reach a goal. You may not be able to spend every night out eating with your friends if you want to reach your goal, but you should try to have a healthy social life with friends.

Make memories and have a personal life, but also put your goals first.

How do I stay focused on my goals? Will power. Motivation is going to fade. Trust me. You might be ultra-excited to go to the gym four or five times a week, but when you don’t see progress overnight, the only thing dragging you to the gym is your own willpower.

The same can be said for virtually anything.

Nothing comes easy in life. Staying focused on goals and priorities takes a lot of hard work and dedication. But once you learn how to stay focused on goals, that’s when you create the best version of yourself.

Michael DeFelice
Michael DeFelice

Mike’s an obsessive gnome, always worried about bettering himself, overcoming physical limitations and trying to grow his homestead. He’s a former computer programmer, turned researcher/writer with a focus on health and wellness.