By Ruth Soukup
June 21, 2018
MOTTO
Ruth Soukup is a New York Times bestselling author and the founder of Living Well Spending Less. You can listen to her sage advice on life, career and parenting on episodes on her new podcast, Do It Scared, below.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a goal junkie. I love setting goals. I love achieving goals. I love crossing things off my to-do list and feeling like I’m getting somewhere. And I am a total sucker for anything that feels like a clean slate to start all over again, whether that be a new year, a new season, a new month, a new week or even a new day.

Maybe I’m just overly optimistic, but I always just love the potential of what that fresh start could bring. Of course, I’ve also been guilty a time or two — or 100, maybe — of losing momentum on all those big ideas. Life gets in the way and I start to fizzle out. The reality of all those day-to-day responsibilities starts to weigh me down, and I don’t feel quite as enthusiastic. I lose focus. I’ll start working on one thing one day and another thing another day, and never really gain enough traction in any one area to feel like I’ve accomplished something.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who sometimes struggles to stay focused, or who feels like they are losing momentum and motivation when it comes to their goals. In fact, a 2015 study found that humans now have a shorter average attention span than a goldfish. Seriously.

And so the question is — what can we do about it?

That’s exactly the topic that I discuss in this episode of Do It Scared. In it, I share the biggest, most important thing I’ve learned about productivity, goal setting and staying focused, which is that setting a bunch of smaller goals that seem like they should be attainable is actually counter-productive.

Instead, the true secret to getting more done, staying focused and maintaining motivation is to start thinking big and to set stretch goals — goals that push you past your comfort zone and get your adrenaline pumping. If you’re ready to start setting goals that will actually keep you motivated, don’t miss these four practical steps that you can start implementing right away in order to achieve your aspirations.

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