How many goals should you focus on? It’s tempting to try and spin lots of plates at the same time, isn’t it? In this post, I look at the ideal number of goals to focus on and why.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to get things done, or you’re a perfectionist or an ‘all or nothing’ kinda person, this post is for you.
I’m all three of these things. So I totally understand the desire to check things off and want to change in every area – all at once.
And it’s been the biggest thing holding me back my entire life.
If you read my previous post about setting goals, it’s tempting to set a goal in each of those categories and try to move the needle forward in all of them simultaneously.
I mean, how hard can it be to drink 8 glasses of water a day? Read for thirty minutes a night or set aside money each week and so on. These are all fairly small actions, right? Yes, they are. But even small rays of light diffused over a larger area won’t have the impact that the same amount of rays concentrated on one area will have.
The power of focus
If you’ve ever held a magnifying glass in the sun and focused a beam of light on a specific area of paper, you’ll know what happens. The paper catches fire exactly where you were focusing the light.
This is the exact same light that has been shining on that paper for the past week. But it didn’t spontaneously burst into flames because the light was too far distributed to have an effect.
The same is true of your efforts towards your goals. When you focus your efforts in laser-like fashion on just one goal, you’ll be able to achieve something that you probably never would when trying to do lots of other things at the same time.
You’ll be able to progress with that one goal further and faster than you would probably have thought.
How many goals should you focus on?
One is the magic number.
It’s similar to Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball method. His method of helping people rid themselves of debt is to pay just the minimum on all of their debts. Except one.
On that one debt that they’ve singled out, he advises them to pay money towards it with fierce resolve. And he suggests that they focus on their smallest debt too.
The results people have are jaw-dropping. Debts as huge as a quarter of a million bucks paid off in just 18 months! It’s astonishing. And most people can hardly believe it even when they do it themselves.
How does it work?
It works because when you remove the distraction of all the other things you could be doing and pour all of your focus towards one goal, your efforts and resources become multiplied on that one goal. Just like bringing a magnifying glass to rest on one spot.
If you had that same magnifying glass and darted it around your piece of paper all the time, would the paper catch on fire? Not at all. It requires the focus of the magnifying glass yes, but it also requires the focus to stay there until the job is done.
That’s why Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball method is so effective at burning off debt. Intense focus until it’s done.
When you focus on one, you’re not neglecting the others
The initial resistance to how many goals you should focus on is this. It’s the thought that you’ll be neglecting all the other areas in your life whilst you pour all of your energy into your one goal.
But this is not the case. Similar to how Dave Ramsey suggests making the minimum payments on all your other debts, in life, it’s important that you make the minimum requirements of what’s needed of you too.
This is so that your house doesn’t fall to pot whilst you’re working on writing your book. Or your health, relationships or other areas don’t suffer whilst you work at improving the one area of your life you’ve decided to focus on.
How many goals have you been spreading yourself too thin over?
Which one will you choose to focus on and create that magic multiplier effect so that you will achieve more than you thought possible?
The temptation is to work on everything, but don’t.
Just as Dave Ramsey suggests paying the minimum on all other debts, you can also make sure that in the other categories of your life, things are ticking over. In other words, don’t go into debt on your other life accounts. Do what’s required in those areas. But choose a goal in one area to throw your energy into.
You’ll be able to pour your efforts into the other categories eventually. Just like the debt snowball, all of your life accounts will get attention and energy poured into them. Just at different times.
I hope this post has helped you to see how important it is to narrow our focus down with our goals. And what you can accomplish when you pour your energy in one direction.
If you’d like a resource to get your goal setting underway, be sure to grab the Goal Planner that’s part of Paper Me Pretty’s September bundle.
Paper Me Pretty is my monthly stationery subscription. Members receive a gorgeously themed digital stationery bundle each month. And right now, you can get one of the items in the bundle free!
What’s your one goal or your biggest takeaway from this post? Let me know in the comments!