Distractions That Keep Us From Achieving Our Goals

fear-pano_12224Losing our focus on our goals can not only be frustrating, it can put our goals out of reach and even worse, our lack of focus can become a habit. There is an interesting quote from Will Durant that says, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

Losing focus on our goal or our assignment that we are working on can happen with simple things that get in the way. We may get distracted checking email, text messages, social media, watching a video or going off on a wild search on a search engine. When we allow ourselves to get constantly distracted by outside happenings, it can become a habit or a way of doing things.

When we set a goal for ourselves to accomplish a certain task we may need to use several focusing techniques. We may create a list, prioritize, set a timer, take a few deep breaths – what ever we need to do to stay on task.  If we lack focus we are less likely to accomplish what we want most to accomplish and really get frustrated.

At that point we may want to ask ourselves if there are other issues that we need to look at.  – fear of failure, success, someone getting angry with us? Are we angry about an unresolved issue? Do we need to look deeply at our life so we can get focused on our greatest dreams and cares?

Focusing on our goals will bring accomplishments and failure to do so will create consequences that will not feel so good.

The Connection of Stress, Focus & Time Management

Stress is felt by individuals of all ages. When asked about stress in their lives, 9 year olds and up all admitted that the number of activities they had and deadlines to meet all brought not just stressful feelings, but created an inability to focus on one thing at a time. As we investigate that even further though, not focusing was really exasperated by a lack of time management.

whatplanThe lack of time management and organizational skills is really the result of not prioritizing the important things that need to be done. When discussing this with students they have much to do on any given day; homework, practice an instrument, practice martial arts, eat dinner, cleaning their room, chores, playing with friends, etc… Which one should be done first and in what order?

One of the most effective way I have seen for prioritizing is to make your list on any given day of the activities needed to be accomplished and then choose either the one that takes the most time or the one that is hardest for us to do and doing that item first. Once that difficult one is complete everything else seems a lot easier.

Planning also comes into the equation.  So many times we may have a project, school or work, and we know it is coming but we procrastinate on getting started until there is no time left and then the stress levels go up and focus goes down. Learning to plan ahead, either with doing a little everyday or setting aside a time to plan, to work on and to complete the project – with some leeway – will reduce the stress and allow us to get other items done that are on our must do list.  I often use the Ultimate Black Belt Test as an example of doing a little everyday to create a much larger result. Part of the test was 52,0000 push ups and sit ups. If you miss a week you are 1,000 behind.  Do just 150 per day and you complete ahead of schedule.

Planning, prioritizing and getting started is great for relieving stress and improving focus.

Life Skills: Focus – The Definition

Teaching Children Life Skills


Each month we will discuss a life skill with all of our students. This month the word is Focus. This word will be defined in the following ways for our students.



Young students: Focus: “I concentrate really hard on one thing at a time – and don’t let anything distract me!”

Older students: Focus means: ”Using laser-like concentration even when there are distractions.”

Each age group has a worksheet that parents can use to continue the discussion at home with their children, and one for adults to allow them to think more deeply about the skill and how it applies to them. Would you like to receive the worksheet? Stop by our studio at 133 Gibralter Avenue in Annapolis, MD and tell us the age of your child. We will give you a worksheet and invite you to watch Mr. Joe discuss the word with the students in class.  You can also follow our discussions here on this website.

If you would like to become a member of Balanced Life Skills, come TRY CLASSES FOR FREE.   We are not your typical martial arts school, in fact we are an education center, working with our students on physical skills along with empowering families with compassion, awareness and respect. We believe in every child and build their self – confidence.  Balanced Life Skills takes part in community service and encourages each student to do the same.

Come in and talk to the parents that are here and watch the class for the age group you are interested in.

Focus: this is our moment

All of us has had someone tell us that we need to focus.  It may have even been ourselves that we had a little self talk “Focus, Focus, Focus”.  So what is focus other than looking and listening with intensity.  This is what we teach our young children and for all of us it is really blocking out all of the distractions that keep us from focusing.

How do we direct our mind so that we can focus on our work, assignment or other things?  We must remember that the only thing that we have is this moment.  If we are washing the dishes then we need to be washing the dishes.  If we are talking to our child, then we need to be totally there with them.  This is the only moment that we have.  

All of the moments we had – are in the past and we cannot get them back.  There are no future moments that we are guaranteed – so NOW is all we have.  Still all of us have things that will be a distraction to us, so practicing being in this moment will take time.  

This week in our classes we will be talking about what distracts us and how we can keep ourselves focused.

Appreciation: No complaint zone

Have you ever known someone who is constantly complaining? I have and depending on our own relationship with them it may have various immediate impact on us. If it someone we are in love with, then we have a tendency to overlook it for a great deal of time. If it is someone that we are neutral about then it may wear on us to the point that we do not enjoy being around them.
But we are influenced by the people we hang out with and when we have someone around us who always dwells on the negative side of things we can lose our appreciation for what is good. As we live in this country we are indeed very fortunate. The families we have, the schools we attend, the cultural events around us, all of these add to the quality of our life.
But focus is a very funny thing. If you are an adult, have you ever been driving down the road and started to look at something in a field to your right or left and found yourself drifting in that direction, only to have to pull yourself back quickly?
This can happen to us in how we think too. If we show appreciation and focus on the good in our lives we will feel better emotionally and we will accomplish more in our daily life. Here is one way to do this with your family. When you come home and ask everyone in your family what they are thankful for about themselves, others, things, whatever and how do they show appreciation for that gift. You may be surprised by what they say and it may be silly at first, but the habit of speaking the words out loud will affect the evening and your personal feelings.
Try this and let me know how it affects you. As an individual you may want to keep a gratitude journal. Write down 5 things everyday that you appreciate – then review it if you are feeling a bit down.

Focus on listening shows respect

All of us like to be heard, listened to and shown respect for our thoughts.  This is true, whether we are 3 years old or 83 years old.  While we know how to listen with respect, (eyes on the person, nodding at appropriate times, engaged in the conversation), as parents we need to be sure we follow those rules when we are being spoken to by our children no matter what their age.  It was very funny in the classes this past week, that all the kids knew the answers about how to listen and they were very engaged when we talked about a person who was looking at others or fidgeting when they were trying to talk.
The reason I found that amusing was that I find myself doing that from time to time.  Listening is such an important skill and one that I am continuing to work on.  I told some parents this week that sometimes I find myself not devoting my whole self to the person I am talking to especially when we are in between classes and there is so much activity.  Just to let you know that I am aware of this and I am working on keeping my focus on the conversation and the person I am talking to.  Don’t you just love the lessons the ‘kids’ are learning!!!!