We get a little ambitious at the end of the year. Maybe we make too many promises to ourselves or want too many changes. It’s okay to want change and it’s okay to be ambitious, but have you ever made too many goals for yourself?
Too Many Goals
You’re told to eat healthy, drink more water, and exercise regularly. You need to practice self-care, reach out to friends, and work for that promotion. If you have kids, you may plan to show up to more events or volunteer for more activities? Got hobbies or sports? Those present new goals as well.
It’s all very overwhelming. When you start putting together a daily schedule or a weekly to-do list, you may find there’s not enough time in the day – or lines on the paper – to fulfill all your needs. Working towards too many goals could lead to accomplishing none of them.
Ambition in Moderation
It’s great to be ambitious, but it’s prudent to be practical. If you’re trying to lose weight, write a memoir, launch a business, and learn an instrument all at once… You might just burn out within a couple weeks. Too many goals at once can overload our heads let alone our schedule. Small, attainable goals make for quicker progress. Quicker progress boosts our motivation and helps us change for the better. Maybe it’s better to be ambitious for daily tasks or short sprints to work on many things at once. At the same time, it may behoove a person to pick one important goal and focus solely on that until satisfied. Then you can refocus on other goals before the year is over.
Heavier or Lighter Loads
Think of it this way. Which is easier, carrying a crate of many small objects, or carrying one large object. Carrying the crate and the large object might be possible, but it’s a heavier load. It’s easier to make quicker trips with one of them at a time. It’s a lighter load and you’re less likely to drop something.
Using this theory, what happens when you have too many goals? You could plan to drink 2-3 tall glasses of water a day, eat a big healthy dinner, and work out 2-3 times a week in the mornings. The trumpet lessons can wait and you’ll continue working towards your promotion but without overtime just yet. Then, you start to feel better, healthier, maybe even lose some weight. You just built new habits for a healthier lifestyle and you hardly have to think about it. Now you can put in a few hours overtime, or look into those trumpet lessons. They both take time so you only pick one.
Healthy Path to Success
A nifty little group called Live Your Dream Board put it this way:
“As a rule of thumb, you will want to strive to have around 3 goals that you can dedicate your time to in a given year. Make sure that those 3 goals are hearty and complement each other too while providing genuine meaning when you complete them.” You can see the rest of their goal-setting tips here.
When you have too many goals and jump in head first, you sometimes overload yourself and drop them all at once. But if you look ahead and go in little at a time, or one goal at a time, you start to make progress. Time management is important and we’ve talked about that before. This leads to a healthier path to success. Moderation, pacing yourself, thinking ahead and practically… These things are tools to meeting your goals in both realistic and achievable ways.