I used to ask this questions all the time. How many goals should I have? Should I have just one big goal that I focus all my energy on? Should I have 3 goals so I don’t put all my eggs in one basket? Should I have more goals? Less? How the hell do I figure out how many goals I should have?!?
This was a really difficult question for me to answer for myself. I kept going around and around on the right number of goals until I made a couple of discoveries about myself. Like always, I sat down, opened up a couple of books and started diving into how goal setting worked and how to do it right. It only took me roughly 10 years to actually figure it out…
When I first started out, I used to set 1 goal. One target that I would work towards. This actually worked out fairly well for me seeing as outside of that 1 goal I was in my 20’s and spent most of my other free time doing dumb shit like most of us do in our 20’s.
There’s nothing wrong with that but it’s important to understand that at that point in life, having 1 goal can work great when you don’t really have a lot else that you are looking to achieve.
As I started to get older, a little more ambitious… 1 goal wasn’t enough. I didn’t just want more than 1 goal, I needed to have more than 1 goal. I started a career, a family, becoming a home owner, etc, etc, etc… I didn’t just want more goals I had a need for them and so I started playing around with the idea of 3-5 goals at a time.
This strategy actually felt like it worked less than 1 single goal. Where as before, I could dump as much time in as needed, as I was getting older, I was having less and less time for things, and having more goals was spreading me even thinner.
I stayed stuck in this sort of limbo where I had too much going on and then on top of that too many goals that I wasn’t actually achieving very much.
I had no problem laying out my goals in my mind and how I wanted to do them but I was terrible at execution. I just couldn’t make it all work out correctly. I would have a plan, but I just couldn’t execute on that plan…
Then one day, about 3 months ago, I made a new discovery…
The problem wasn’t how many goals I had set…. The problem was really two -fold. I had this expectation that I needed to achieve each of my goals at 100% perfection. So if I couldn’t get up and go to the gym and lift thousands of pounds for an hour straight, then I just wouldn’t workout that day. Perfection became my poison
I also then played victim to, “I don’t have any time to work on my goals.” What I mean is, I didn’t have time to sleep in, go to work, take care of my kids, watch movies, play video games, screw around on weekends, AND achieve my goals.
What I learned was I felt I had to be perfect and I felt I had to devote more time to my goals than I really needed to. Once I eliminated those two factors, I was able to take on multiple goals. Multiple…. like.. 10+ goals… and I’m actually able to achieve them.
You see when you stop worrying about being perfect and you stop worrying about needing all this time to actually do it you can have as many goals as you want and make movement on them! Let me walk you through an example.
Let’s say you want to:
1. Get in shape
2. Write a book
3. Start a new diet
4. Earn a promotion
5. Remodel your kitchen
6. Get out of debt
7. And read a book
That all seems like a lot, especially if you consider you probably have a normal life on top of that. A job, kids, a marriage, bills, housework… so how do we make all of that fit into a single day? By being in it for the long-game.
Instead of trying to achieve all of these things in day, or a week. Be in it for the long-game. Play the long-game here and chip away at each of these goals every day. So while you will still have to get up and go to work, pick the kids up from school, do homework with them, and do your housework, you should also then…
Do 1 sit up.
Write 1 sentence for your book.
Pack 1 healthy snack for tomorrow.
Write down 1 work item you can accomplish.
Buy 1 item you need for your kitchen remodel.
Balance 1 part of your budget.
Read 1 sentence in your book.
Not one of those items on that list takes longer than 5 minutes. And the more you keep doing each one, the more you do it day-after-day, not expecting perfection, but chipping away at it each day, the better you’ll get at it.
Before long, you’ll say, “You know I’ve been doing 1 sit up for 2 weeks now, I think it’s time to do 2.” And then you’ll do it again, for another goal, and if you keep doing that, if you keep chipping away….
Then in a year, you’ll have, completed 365 sit ups, written 365 sentences, eaten 365 healthy snacks instead of junk, completed 365 work tasks, taken 365 steps to a new kitchen, budgeted 365 times, and read 365 sentences.
You will have made so many more strides and steps towards your goals than you ever had before! So lay out your goals and lay out lots of them. Do as many as you want to do and plan to do them a little at a time. Small steps that chip away daily at the goal.
Play the long-game and you will reach your goals.