As an immigrant at a young age, staying focused to my goals was another challenge that I had to overcome. I was still trying to find myself, and it was too easy for my young mind to become derailed. Life in the new world comes with a lot of new exciting things and choices that hit you all at the same time. The conflict between keeping your eyes to the price and derailing your purpose becomes inevitable. If you come from a third world country, like it is for my case, there is the extra challenge of the quicker, shorter roads that seem shinier and comfortable than the hard and long ones that led to the dreamed destination. In my case, coming to the US from a small country in the middle of Africa, even the mediocre life would have sufficed to satisfy most of the needs that I had in the beginning of my life in this country. A job at the local grocery store could have sufficed in paying for my rent and provided me with a slightly better life in this land. Temptations to quit present themselves to you from every angle and become a constant struggle that many of the young immigrants face in their early days. I have always believed in the proverb “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required”, and because of that I had to make sure that the main goals I had in mind the day I boarded that plane would keep me going. Like many of the young people my age when I left, I had the basic goals; to improve, to excel and to give back to society. So today I compiled a list of a few tips on how I stay focused and that I believe could even be applied to anyone regardless of where they come from.
1. Keeping record of your goals.
In the weeks before I came, I sat down and narrowed down what I wanted to become of the journey I was going to embark on. I prayed about the list and I packed the journal that I had written my goals in with me the entire time. There is something that pushes you to keep going when you have a constant physical reminder of what it is you are pushing yourself towards. Writing down your goals and consulting them often will also help your rethink and restructure them as you go, it helps make sure that as you grow and change you are able to update your goals to match you in your current self.
2. Distancing yourself from distraction head on.
As I mentioned early on, distractions will come at you in many forms, most of them will be gratifying at the moment, they will sometimes even present themselves as better options to what you wanted. The goal is to learn how to decipher those options in order to walk away from shinny bronze amongst them towards a dull gold at the end. Learn to steer your attention away from what you know will derail you from your goal, readjust your routine if need be, walk away from people and things that you know deep inside are leading you in the opposite direction than the one you are headed towards. I know it is easier said than done but then again that’s why the gold had to be buried deep underground, you will have to dig a little and dust it a lot in order for it to truly shine.
3. Acknowledging your progress or lack thereof.
The road to success is a stairway, you will have to climb a few steps in order to really grasp the edges of your goals. When you do get to that higher stair, learn how to look back and appreciate the step you just took. This took me a while to understand because I felt like that will be gloating before I get there. What if I rejoice from getting my associate degree and the next two years become harder to finish? How can I celebrate an associate degree next to my friends that are celebrating their PHD? Those are the thoughts that will come into my mind until I learned that my life is not a photocopy of anyone’s and that never reaching the top of the stairs doesn’t mean you didn’t climb it. So I started acknowledging the steps that I had already took on the way to the top of the stairs that I wanted. This not only helped me track my progress, it also reenergized me and inspired me to keep on climbing.
When you also find yourself in a stagnant position, it is very important to learn how to refocus, reevaluate your efforts and if need be move to the next step…which is,
4. Being open to new routes to your goals.
One of the things that can delay or even harm our goals is to refuse adapting to change that comes along the journey towards our destinations, sometimes we do discover new opportunities along the way that may help us draw closer to our end goals, other times we meet obstacles that knock us completely down that we don’t even know how to recover and to on the secret to know that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that the strength lies in picking yourself up, dust your behind and stand up again.
Another reason for this step is to make sure that your goals are still the same, goals need to be updated to match the new you. At some occasions goals can completely change due to new inspirations, bigger or better dreams, new directions that life is taking you and just a simple individual growth where your old goals need to be upgraded or changed (which is whole new topic for another day). This step is important to make sure that both the “now” you and your goals are still a match.
5. Staying the course no matter what.
This is the slogan of every success stories that I have ever heard of. My motto to this is that as long as you are alive there is always hope, just keep your feet on the right direction, even if you are not moving forward just make sure that you remember the gold at the end, do the little that you can in a situation you are in at the present. It is normal to get discouraged when you have been doing everything in your power to attain your goal but life keeps throwing at you obstacles that delay your progress. When this happen all you can do is making sure that in the back of your mind the end goal stays clear, there is a French saying that “petit à petit l’oiseau fait son nid”, which translate to little by little a bird builds its nest and the better English version to this goes like so “slow and steady wins the race”.
All these steps are but a few point that help me stay on track towards my goal, there might be some other way that you stay on track that wasn’t mentioned in this post, please feel free to share in the comment the steps you take to make sure that you accomplish your amazing dreams and goals.