We need goals to keep us motivated. But why is it that we always assume that “more is better?” This is the very thought process that leads people to eat too much and spend money that they don’t really have! I honestly don’t know if this is an American thing or a human thing. However, it is definitely prevalent in the U.S. where I am at.
The end results in both of these simple examples are regret, regret, and another steaming helping of regret! For the people who regularly eat too much, the thought of this analogy is just sickening….right?
If you agree with my thinking to this point, would you assume that setting more goals would be better?
Let’s stew on this idea for a few minutes, shall we?
I certainly agree that two is better than one. But at a certain level, it may start to become destructive. Let me show you exactly what I mean.
If I set 10 really big goals for myself, I could be setting myself up for failure and disappointment.
There is no way that anyone can effectively put 100% of their focus and efforts on so many moving targets at one time. It is stressful, and it will wear down your determination very quickly and make you feel like garbage. Anyone who has tried this knows that getting overwhelmed and missing some of the goals is going to happen, which just sucks. No one likes losing and momentum is much easier to maintain than it is to initiate.
We need to set goals that make us reach, but that we have some chance of actually reaching.
I am a fan of having a vision and then working backward from there. Next is long-range goals, mid-range goals, short-range goals, and finally daily habits. This is a systematic way to eat that big old elephant, one bite at a time. This also allows you to set a few goals, and crush them! Once you do this, simply wash, rinse, and repeat.
Think of this as a different path, with a higher likelihood of success, to the same result of reaching the 10 goals. If we continue to think of the same 10 goals that I just mentioned, you should try to prioritize them into 5 groups of 2 and then you can knock them out in a more narrowly focused approach. This is not only more efficient, but it allows you to build and maintain momentum!
I am an example of someone who falls into this trap more often than I would like to admit.
In fact, I am certain that a member or two of my team will start giggling while reading this because they will agree with my self-diagnosis. My intentions are honorable and sincere, but my eyes can become larger than my capabilities at times. When I start to run ragged and realize this, I take to my whiteboard and prioritize my goals and take the advice that I just offered all of you. It may take me longer to get some things done, but I find that my “to do” list gets cleaned up quickly, and the quality of what I produce increases too.
Honestly, I enjoy operating out of my comfort zone because experience has shown me that this is the place that the magic happens. I straddle the line between too many goals and the amount that I can handle and still remain effective. Most are more grounded than I am and should lean a little harder on the tamer side of this equation.
I feel like this is solid advice for anyone…maybe I should take it for a change?
In the book “Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want — Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible” Tracy presents a simple, powerful, and effective system for setting and achieving goals—a method that has been used by more than one million people to achieve extraordinary things. In this revised and expanded second edition he has added three new chapters addressing areas in which goals can be most rewarding but also the toughest to set and keep: finances, family, and health.
What is your approach to limiting the number of goals that you set?
I would like to hear your ideas and experiences with this and we can learn a little from one another. If you have something to say, please leave it in the comments! I will talk to you again soon.
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