Our biggest roadblock to success is execution. Everybody knows, for instance, that the key to losing weight is to exercise more and eat less. So why is it so hard to do? Every year more and more people are over weight and more people claim to have a new diet or weight loss strategy.
The real problem is not that we don’t know what to do – but it’s actually doing it. Studies have shown that it takes 21 days for new behavior to become a habit, but often within this time period motivation has waned, distraction has set in and success is tempered.
Every year we spend tons of effort trying to discover strategy and direction for all the different components of our lives … marriage, work, parenting, de-stressing… when what if the reason we are not successful in some of those areas is because we fail to execute?
I have been a motivational keynote speaker at fifteen or so safety events per year, where I hear over and over again that safety procedures are well laid out, but the ongoing challenge is that people don’t follow the procedures – they fail to execute.
We are well trained to plan but not to execute. Anytime I have had success it is simply from focus and perseverance. Changing strategy along the way is necessary to adjust to the shifting environments, but I would argue that the real basis for success is persistence.
The inability to say NO allows all the distractions along the way to sabotage our planning. We each only have so much time, energy and resources. Over-extending in areas that are not important to our goals can be fatal to results.
We need to prioritize and stay focused on one or two objectives. Taking on too much and expecting big results quickly is a recipe for disaster. We spend most of our day multi-tasking, feeling that we’re accomplishing twice as much by doing two things simultaneously, when, in fact, it has been shown that distracted attention usually dilutes results, to reducing productivity by 40%.
For example, I spend a good two hours a day answering emails, while I do this I am usually multitasking. I read an email while speaking on the phone and possibly even filing a document. At any one time however I am only focusing on one task at a time. I read the email, and then switch my attention to the phone conversation. Next, I will tune out the conversation on the phone to focus on placing the right document in the right file.
All of this is done so quickly that I don’t even notice the switch of attention. In the end, I know that I am not doing work that requires a lot of mental focus. All creative, innovative activity I could never do at the same time as other activities.
To combat this we need to create goals that involve uninterrupted time.
When you choose a goal, follow through with focus and execution. Remember that especially in the first 21 days (when the habit is not solid) it is important to your success to do these activities with a single minded focus. In today’s distracted world, you will be shocked at how hard this is.
Strategy, planning and research are the slow parts of goal achievement. Remember that action brings enthusiasm and results to the forefront, so continue to keep a forward motion and progress is guaranteed. Execute!
Jody Urquhart is a professional motivational keynote speaker and author. She has been inspiring associations audiences since 1996. She works and helps people of all the industries. She specializes in working with health care professionals to help them reconnect to the joy and meaning in their work. She is the author of the book “All Work & No Say”. For more motivational tips Check out her blog.