The inevitable fact of New Years and the month of January is that everyone gets their resolutions together in the hope of their best year yet. Part of that process should involve figuring out how to focus on your priorities for 2018. Furthermore, cut the noise that could be better left in 2017.
Almost everyone has a range of goals in life, whether the goal is set for a week in the future or five years in the future. Let’s call our short-term priorities “micro” and long-term priorities “macro”. Same goes for the distractions we want to eliminate.
Putting a focus on this in your daily lives is going to kickstart the year off right. Nothing breeds success better than a deliberate plan of action to get your goals accomplished faster!
I follow a YouTuber who puts out daily sales and motivational videos, Anthony Iannarino. He posted a particularly relevant video a few weeks back that I wanted to share. His message in this short video is what I’ve based this post around:
Eliminate the micro distractions
If you watched Anthony’s video, you heard him mention two distractions that affect 99% of the college and workforce population on a daily basis. Email and smartphones! While incredibly valuable tools for getting by in the modern-day world, they can turn into mega distractions when something more important is a higher priority.
Historically, I’ve found myself checking my smartphone dozens of times per day. Whether it’s a push notification for a sports team or checking Clash of Clans (can’t believe I still play that game!), I’m as guilty as anyone else. This can have a negative impact on getting important things done.
The world is fast-paced and shutting off something like email or a smartphone all day long can end up being detrimental to your life. However, there are some workarounds that still get you the productive time you need. Using the below advice can get you moving in the right direction.
Pro-Tip: Block off two or three 90-minute periods daily, reserved for the most important activities.
These calendar blocks are something I have started to do at work and the results have been impressive. As a sales guy juggling many deals at a time, I’m guilty of trying to do everything at once. Using the above pro-tip technique, I have been blocking off time to focus on literally one thing. I dedicate the entire block to pure focus on getting it done.
The cell phone goes into Airplane mode. Email is switched off. I’ll play some meditation/focus music on YouTube. From here, what needs to be done is DONE.
For example: to write this article I shut down everything except for this single page. I didn’t go back to my multitasking and devices until it was complete.
Each morning (or even the night before) try to pick out two or three of your most important short-term goals and priorities. From there, block off the time without any background noise, and get them done!
Eliminate the macro distractions
“Build a wall of fire around the time that you need to be able to do the most important work.”
This was my favorite quote of Anthony’s entire video. I love visualizing my key goals with an actual ring of fire protecting them from outside influences; it’s a powerful thought. As you think long-term, you should incorporate similar thoughts in your own life when it comes to long-term planning.
Pro-Tip: Figure out your 3-6 biggest goals for 2018, and surround them with a wall of fire
It becomes so easy to get dragged down into mediocrity over the grind of a 365 day year, with all its ups and downs. In the past, goals of mine have fallen by the wayside due to boredom, change of environment, change of friends, and many other outside influences.
Building this mental wall of fire around your key goals for the year can go a long way to keep you on track when external factors might try to detract you. If they can’t break the wall of fire and you keep going strong, you know you are on the right track to crushing and exceeding your plans.
Using myself as an example again: I have been trying to get on a keto diet for weight loss for a LONG time, but every time I set that goal something has gotten in the way. Beers after work, having no food in the house (aka order a pizza), being lazy on weekends all have killed my goals of following through with a keto meal plan.
This time around, however, “two months of keto to start the year” has been surrounded by my own mental wall of fire and nothing is going to get between me and the goal. I had no food in my house last weekend and it was 2 degrees in Boston – perfect time to hit up Dominos for some junk food. I ended up making the half-mile trek in the cold to the grocery store and got my keto-friendly foods instead. Now I’m on day 10 and ready to see it through until the end!
Find your wall of fire
Figure out what you want to accomplish this year, surround it with a fire that would make Daenerys Targaryen proud, and watch yourself succeed like you previously thought was impossible.
For reference, here are some of my personal goals for 2018 – I’ll be using these strategies to make sure I hit every one:
- Fitness: Two months of keto dieting, followed by clean eating the rest of the year, and drink at least 1 gallon of water daily
- Professional: Make “President’s Club” in 2018 for my company by being a team leader and closing business above 100% of target
- Financial: Cross the $50,000 mark in total savings by July 1st (this includes bank account, stock portfolio, and real assets) – a huge goal for me has always been building as much wealth in my 20’s as I can
- College: Finish paying off remaining ~$20,000 of student loans by July 2019, with a monthly plan beginning in July 2018
Where do you see yourself this December?
To reiterate – these are a few steps you can take today and promises you can make to yourself to be accountable for time-wasting activities with an eye on your goals. Set up daily blocks for laser focus on your most important daily tasks. This will help you annihilate your short-term priorities. Visualize your annual goals as impenetrable accomplishments that you won’t fail on no matter what.
Hopefully the metaphors I pointed out here make sense and you can use this in your daily lives to start honing in on where you want to be by the end of the year. Put down the phones every once in a while and get it done! Wishing a very successful and happy 2018 to you all.
All opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of Home at 30 and are in no way affiliated with any other organization or institution. The purpose of this blog is to give general education and information about investing, wealth, careers, and college; It is not intended to be professional advice.
Author: Joe Savoia
Joe is a 2014 graduate of Northeastern University and currently works in a field sales role for technology company Acquia. He has worked internationally as one of Acquia’s earliest Australia-based employees and helped in the early stages to develop that region. Today Joe is based out of Boston and lives in Somerville, MA. Joe’s primary interests vary widely, including everything from robotics/AI to finance, blockchain, and the rapidly evolving world of tech we live in.