During the weekend of my wedding, I remember asking my best man to look in my planner for a piece of gum (…don’t ask). As he opened the front binder cover, he literally LOLed when he saw one of my papers (…actually, it looked like more like a packet) entitled:
I had big ideas and I wasn’t ashamed of them. Unfortunately, I was also moving at a snail’s pace toward achieving them. I needed an accelerator in the worst way.
Thumbing through Twitter, I came across a quote that said:
“You can have it all, but you can’t have it all at once”.
– Oprah Winfrey
Taken literally, this can seem a little exaggerated. But the concept is solid.
One thought I had when reading this quote is that choices are necessary. If you have a lot of goals that are pulling you into 100 different directions, I have a strategy for you that makes choosing a little easier.
Since my wedding weekend, I’ve learned that it is fine to have 100 goals. But it is also unrealistic to pursue them all at once.
A strategy that helps me is to identify common themes among your goals. If you have a lot of goals that leave you more distracted than focused, here’s my suggestion for you:
Group your goals into 3 to 8 general goal areas.
I have a resource that helps my clients identify their goals in 10 key life areas (like career, relationships, finances, etc). Then they rate their satisfaction and progress in each area. You can do the same thing. That will help you to put your goals in order and see the relationships between them. See which goals depend on others. The goals with dependencies move further away. The goals that ladder up to bigger goals move closer to your day-to-day life. These smaller goals are more actionable.
And let me just add that this tip works, no matter what type of goal you’re dealing with. For instance, I completed a strategic plan last year for Teaiiano and my five big areas were:
- Research and Development
- Business Development
- Service Delivery
Now I rarely get stuck or feel guilty spending too much time on research. Without clearly defining research as a goal area, I would feel slightly uneasy when looking things up. But I’ve started a new business in an industry that’s about 20 years old, with a vision to expand using new technologies that serve the emerging millennial generation. That requires a fair amount of research. Looking at what I already do, led me back to this goal area.
Goals lose meaning when they are isolated from other goals. But when you begin to group them together and explore relationships between them, you are on your way to assembling a personal action plan.
And who doesn’t love it when a great plan comes together?
Thomas E. Anderson, II is a vision development coach who enjoys motivating and equipping individuals to pursue personal, professional and organizational goals that lead to a more fulfilling life. He specializes in life focus, vision development and goal acceleration.