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We need fewer goals

This article is for achievers’ eyes only.

Seriously, only someone who wants to make more of their business and their life will be able to identify with this.

I decided to write this piece to save as many people as possible from falling short of their goals as a result of having too many of them.

Let that sit for a moment…

Yes, I think we should all be focussing on far less. The best way to do that is by aspiring to fewer things than you did last year. Stay with me through this to the end.

I need to explain the cause of what is an unconscious and disastrous way of living, first.

It usually starts around November or December as next year’s planning phase kicks in full force. At this point, we optimistically try to transfer frustration from a year not realized into an epic plan for the coming one. We are certain that next year will be the one. It’s also around this time that we feverishly read tales of others’ success without falter and quickly assume, “They are only human. If they can do it, I can too.”

The truth about this statement is profound! You can realize success far beyond your own personal conquests as of yet. That being said, we often don’t take the time to truly understand how the all performing icon has reached their goals, how they execute. Instead, we take all that inspiration and head to a coffee shop to record our aspirations. While writing our goals we are pumped full of caffeine and adrenaline, producing dopamine hits on the minute!

We are full of confidence! We will work more hours in the days and months ahead than ever before! We might even buy into the myth of the “18 hour hustle”, even though we know very few people could pull that off.

When we sit back, our list of goals aligns quite well to our vision. This is a good thing of course; you must have SMART goals that relate directly to where you want to be at the end of the next year if you are to grow towards them.

From my experience, achievers come up with 6-10 different targets. Some are a refresh from the previous year and some are brand new.

But here is the exact point that you have created a losing scenario for yourself!

I have no issue with the energy and enthusiasm that just went into the exercise. Or the fact that you’re excited for the year to come. The issue isn’t that you have these goals, it’s that you have so many on the list.

Why is this an issue? The answer is more simplistic than you may think: your caffeine-fueled dopamine hits made you forget about the disruptive nature of life.

You may intend to work all hours of the day, which will be necessary to achieve that list you just made, but sh*t happens. The dog gets sick, the car breaks down, your mother-in-law falls off a ladder...again! (True story).

With all this build up, what are you going to do, the first day or week that your list of action items that map to your goals don’t work out? I know! You will likely quit and retreat back to the life of average you were creating the prior year. Depressing? Maybe. But it’s the truth for so many.

My intent with this article is to keep you from crashing and burning and to help you have a plan that works.

What can you do at the start to ensure you see an end that will satisfy you?

Start by cutting your list of goals down to by at least 50%. I would prefer to see you with 1-3 on that now empty looking list. Seriously, do this.

Instead of thinking that 3 or less means you’re not reaching for success, think that with fewer things to accomplish you can really knock them out of the proverbial park.

Once you have 3 or less on your list ask yourself this: “If I only achieve these goals, will I be happy?” If the answer is yes then there you go!

The reason that I want you to work on less is that I want you to do your best work. That is the only way that you find mastery. I encourage achievers to create extra bandwidth in their schedule to allow for innovation.

We can’t innovate when we are overwhelmed with work product. Innovation comes in those quiet moments of clarity. I like to think that 80% of your weekly schedule should be focused on doing (work product) and 20% on dreaming (innovating).

Once you have reset your goals and actions that map to them, you have everything you need except one very important item. This one is overlooked by most. It’s the ability to say no to distractions.

Yes, we all have competing priorities. This very premise is part of the reason why I insist that you shorten your list of goals. That being said, there are new distractions coming in the year which haven’t been accounted for. Usually in the form of an email… asking for time, money, expertise, etc. For this, you also need a plan. Have some canned responses to these types of interruptions. Let’s face it, most emails are from people asking you to prioritize their goals instead of yours. If you don’t want to be blunt and lead with a simple no you could create an easy to follow system that gives that person some quick value without it interrupting your schedule. This will be even more important after you have the amazing year you are planning.

The more success you achieve the more people will of demand your time.

In summary:

  • Cut your list of goals by at least 50%

  • Allow for time to innovate

  • Say no to distractions

Have an amazing year!

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