Everybody says you should have goals.
They say, “If you don’t have goals, you’ll never accomplish anything.” They quote slogans like, “Reach for nothing and you’ll hit it every time,” or “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.”
We set goals in different areas of our life: physical, financial, spiritual, social, learning, home improvement, business, character, and many others. We dream about what our life will look like when we finally get these areas under control.
It’s energizing to set goals. We get a clear destination in mind, and then break our goals into measurable steps. We put them on our calendar or to-do list, and we’re excited about where we’ll end up.
And nothing happens.
It goes OK for a while, but then we get overwhelmed. Life gets in the way, and then we get behind on one or two of those goals. We feel like we have to work extra hard to catch up, and get stressed because of it.
One by one, the goals simply fade quietly into the background.
Maybe next year, we think.
So, what happened? Isn’t goal setting supposed to be a good thing?
Yes – but one thing is worse – having too many goals.
When we were kids, we all remember taking a magnifying glass and focusing the rays of the sun on a leaf or a piece of paper (or if you’re a guy, you did it on ants). The sun had all this energy surrounding us – but if we could focus that energy, we could set stuff on fire.
Having too many goals is like standing in the sun. It’s warm, and it feels good – but nothing ignites.
Research has shown that three goals is the maximum we can realistically focus on at a time and hope to see results. More than that, and they all get diluted.
Several weeks ago, we talked about a question for the new year: “What one thing could you do this year – that you’re not already doing – that would make the biggest difference in your life?”
If you have a number of goals for the year, you might be spreading yourself too thin. Think what would happen if you focused all your energy on just three – or two – or even just one.
I have two friends who set goals last year. Ryan had 9 goals for the year, and started out like a hurricane. Terry had just two goals – ones that would make a huge difference if he were able to accomplish them.
Ryan scrambled to reach his nine goals, but ran out of steam after a few months. At the end of the year, he had accomplished two of them – and they were the ones that weren’t that important.
Terry put the same amount of energy into his two goals, but that energy was focused. He accomplished both.
Ryan warmed up his life. Terry set his on fire.
What would happen this year if you approached your most important goal with a laser focus? And how would your life be different if you achieved it?
Time to turn up the heat . . . !