Focus or I’m Die
Losing momentum but having goals
— From Dayo, as she experiences and learns. Welcome to The Mind Palace!
At a Glance:
- On keeping momentum to accomplish goals
- Book club
- Song recommendation
Let’s go 🚀
On keeping momentum
I began this semester with the thought ‘I can kill myself, the phrase I cannot come and kill myself will not drop from me’. Of course, I will not kill myself literally but the point was and still is that I had chosen to do the work required and enjoy it while at it. (Cheers to the mental disciplines I set myself on just for school lol.)
However you see, as we run tasks on a daily, from the important to the repetitive to the redundant, the overarching goal becomes blurry. And when the goal becomes blurry, we lose momentum- the drive to continue so we finally, finally see the reward(s) of our efforts.
At this point, we do one of two things: keep doing but without remembering why we started, or completely stop doing because what’s the point, we’ll still live. The first ends with a prize alright but a wrong, different, not-the-goal prize, and the second ends with no prize at all. Both cases end with undesired results and have a similar, connecting theme: we lose momentum when we lose focus on the goal.
But thank goodness, the way out is simple:
But you see, while there are several reasons we can lose focus from a goal, they all boil down to the fact we get swamped with other pursuits, urgent or not, important or not. We allow ourselves (consciously or subconsciously) to get swamped with said pursuits. Of course, we can justify the many things keeping us busy. They are called pursuits for a reason. But if you have an overarching goal, you need to keep it glaring often, always so you don’t keep working only to win the wrong prize or stop working and wish you bagged the goal.
I started the semester with overflowing mental ginger* and worked, and the ginger lasted but there were times I was left with vague memories of how I was supposed to think. I would read for a test but with risky levels of overconfidence. Overconfidence in this context stems from laziness. If I were to kill myself over Pulp & Paper, I would read the notes and practise more than twice whether I felt I knew it so well or not. What I’m saying is I did the work alright but with a dropping intensity, and in some cases, it became easier to choose an instantly gratifying, less valuable option.
*mental ginger = great quantity of mental discipline and an even greater amount of ‘excellence or I’m die’.
And that’s when I went back to my goal write-up to remind myself of what I want to accomplish, and more importantly, why I want to. You see, we are more likely to drop a habit, a skill, or anything really when it’s not among the foremost things on our minds. Going back to the goal board is very similar to making sure a picture stays blaring on your mind. There is no recommended number of times we should go back to our mood boards, goal lists or whatever. Just do it as often as you need to.
You can also have subtle reminders to keep you going so you don’t go off track. In other words, remind you to focus (I’m not talking about an app reminder please). My wallpapers do that for me whether it’s a quote or a picture. (Does my wallpaper work? Yes). A friend even gave me a map of the world as a laptop wallpaper — why? because I said it’s a desire of mine to travel the world (this is a subtle note to you that you also need like-minded communities to achieve any personal goal but I digress). But that’s me, you have to find what works for you.
To not lose momentum, to ‘keep the fire burning’, we have to continuously remind ourselves of the point, the aim, the goal. So in a sense, we live and breathe the goal :)
I finished House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J Maas (that book is large!), and now I’m onto Deep Work (a blessed book btw).
I can firmly conclude that SJM is brilliant and the only reason I still read Maas’ books is that I live for the world-shattering war action and the plot twists. I’m just not sure if the cringing is worth it.
And the song recommendation for the week goes to: