Every new year brings a slew of new goals for people. Most people wrap these in the form of resolutions, which are good in theory, but usually yield terrible results. My wife wrote a good post about that here. Think gym memberships.
This is really the only key you need to achieve both your short and long term goals:
Focus is everything. And in the world of smartphones, Internet, Netflix, and Kim Kardashian, absolutely everything is competing for your attention. And if you don't put your goals first, you will lose.
It's really that simple. And yet, it's the most difficult thing ever.
You don't like the channel you're watching, you change it. Don't like that Pandora track playing, thumbs down. Bored of the movie you're watching, what's next in your queue? That website spark three other thoughts you need to know the answer to right now - open up three new tabs and kiss the next three hours goodbye.
We don't know how to consistently pour our attention into something until completion. Unless you play Madden, then you're PlayStation focus is on point, but that's Sony's goal - not yours. Even though you just whooped your online opponent by 28 points, you're still losing.
This is a cultural issue. And I don't believe it's by accident.
Without focus, nothing gets accomplished with intentionality. You may stumble upon some completed items, or you may get something done because of someone else's deadline, but you will never organize your actions into steps you can complete one at a time until you reach your goal.
And if you can't focus on your own goals, you focus on all the places you're faltering, which makes you want to escape that mental space with more internet, TV, Netflix, Flappy Bird, porn or whatever vice suits your fancy at the moment.
It doesn't even have to be a vice. All it really needs to be is convenient and most of us are off hopelessly chasing the laser pointer.
Without focus we're doomed to a pattern of reactiveness. But by harnessing focus we can achieve almost anything. We can create amazing things. We can rally people. We can be instruments for change. We can heal our decaying mental state. We can intentionally become better in the direction we want to grow in.
Focus is everything.
Master this skill, and you can master your destiny. Your goals don't stand a chance.