I’m sure more than a few are getting ready to read about the main culprit—your friends’ fabulous Facebook posts. Eh, those little social media scoundrels are amateurs when measured against real killers that cause your head to swirl at the flicker of any shiny white light.

When all is stripped away from the things you turn to when you’re unable or unwilling to concentrate, you’ll find there are three real reasons you can’t stay focused.

Before we consider those, I want to explain what I mean by focus. I’m not speaking of the four minutes you’ll need to sit still to read this juicy post.

I’m referring to the focus of your life, project, goals or anything else that provides you a figurative north pole. Let’s try to build you a compass.

The What. You Have No Vision or Blurry Vision.

If you can’t envision clearly what you want (to be) or what your goal looks like, you’ll meander. It’s a cold hard fact.

Let’s not worry just yet how your vision becomes reality. Let’s, uh, focus on first things first.

You might think you have eagle vision. Great! Does your “what” require others to help you achieve it? If so, they’ll also need to see your vision clearly.

Any architect needs great contractors who understand their purpose, the blueprint, and timeline.

If the team has blurry vision, you’ll get blurry results.

My vision, for example, is clear to me. It’s a mere fifteen words. I want to be a premier source of help for people who want to improve their lives and careers.

If something enters my life that doesn’t coincide with that vision, I quickly escort it to the door.

The Why. Don’t Forget Why.

I never want the “how” to drive the “what” or “why.” You shouldn’t either.

The first thing you need to figure out is what you want and why you want it. If you have a good reason, you’ll succeed. Just make sure it’s your reason and not someone else’s “why.”

You’ll succeed because your “why” will fill you with love and passion for whatever you’re doing.

People fall out of love with activities or efforts they undertake because they stray from their “why” or their “why” changes.

The reason I want to be a premier source of help for people who want to improve their lives and careers is because I love helping people and I want to have a positive impact on their lives and the world as a whole.

My desire to positively influence more people drives me to figure out new ways to reach more people. My vision hasn’t changed for some period of time. Neither has the reason I do it (my “why”). My tactics (the how), however, are continually improving.

The How. You Don’t Have a Map.

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You have your vision and you’re clear on “why.”

Sadly, many don’t make it this far because they let the “how” drive the “what.” This causes people to throw in the towel before they start because they don’t know how they’re going to get all the way to where they want to go.

If you undertake any journey, you don’t need to see the entire route. You need to see the first step, then the next, and so on. That’s the fun part, not the hard part. It’s better to try. Produce version one. Repeat. Produce version two. Repeat.

If you undertake something more finite, such as building a house, you should complete the blueprint first to ensure all the nails, boards, bricks, and pipes fit together. You shouldn’t start building before all the specifications are approved (at least if you intend to live in the house).

All three of these pieces are equally important to being directed and staying on track. If you don’t know where to go, anywhere will be fine. If you don’t care, anything will be fine. If you don’t have a map, any route will be fine. Do you want fine?

Read Out of Reach but in Sight: Using Goals to Achieve Your Impossible for more insight.

As always, I love to hear from you: What are your best techniques to staying focused on major undertakings?