One of the pitfalls of goal setting is setting too many goals. There are so many things you want to accomplish, so many things you are excited about, that you try setting goals for ALL of them and end up accomplishing none of them. When you try to give yourself too much, you give yourself nothing because you can't put 100% of your energy into 100 different goals. To affect real change, and be as efficient and effective as possible in reaching your goals, you need to choose which goals are the most important to you right now and put your energy there. Goal setting is an amazing tool to help direct your energy and effort, attain new heights, and accomplish your dreams, but not if you're trying to accomplish all of them at once.
Try out this exercise to choose which goals are the most important for you right now:
Supplies: Paper, pen, scissors, envelope
Cut your paper into small strips.
- On each strip of paper, write out one of the things you would like to accomplish within the next six months to a year. Don't censor yourself. Write out absolutely everything you want to accomplish. Use as much paper as you need.
- Count the total number of goals and then put all of your pieces of paper into an envelope. Write the total number on the back of the envelope.
- Over the course of the next one to two weeks, each day you will remove some of the goals from your stack. Depending on how many pieces paper you have, actually calculate how many goals you'll need to remove in order to get to your top two goals. You might start by removing 2 to 3 each day and then in the second week get down to removing 1 each day. As you remove them, write down the number of goals you have left on the back of the envelope until you get down to your top two goals. Keep the envelope somewhere visible to help you remember or set a reminder in your phone to do this daily.
You may find that you will come to a point where it will be difficult to choose. This is an important step. It makes you identify:
Why this goal right now?
- Why is it important to me to accomplish this?
- Why would it be more important for me to accomplish this versus the other goals? How would it improve my life if I accomplish this?
- How would I feel about myself?
- Does this goal reflect the kind of person I want to be?
- Does this goal reflect how I want to live my life?
Don't be impulsive in your choices once you get to this point; really think through why you're choosing this goal above all others. Doing this will help with your goal commitment. You must choose. You must choose the right goal for right now. Making a choice doesn't mean that you don't want to accomplish the other goals, it just means you understand that working towards a goal takes energy, time, effort, and dedication and you choose to put that energy, time, effort, and dedication towards this specific goal because you've identified that it is the most important goal for you right now.
Come back and share which goals you chose! And once you’ve identified your goals, check out these other resources for tips on accomplishing your goals: