Your goals may be interfering with your success!
Imagine that it’s the new year, or a milestone birthday, or some other reason that causes you to reflect on your direction in life. Determined to make a positive change, you sit down to write out what you actually want to accomplish…
I want to:
- Lose 40lbs.
- Pay off all my debt.
- Spend more time with family and friends.
- Have a successful business.
Most goal setting programs talk about focusing on each area of your life so you write a goal for each. But then something comes up and one goal after another starts to slip away. Another year has gone by and you are still stuck in the same place you were before.
Is it possible that the goals you have set for yourself are actually getting in the way of your own success? Hmm, interesting thought. If you have more than one goal that you are working on achieving at the same time, the answer could be yes.
You see, every goal we set has a list of decisions we have to make in order to achieve that goal. Sometimes those decisions will take you towards achieving one goal but away from achieving another.
When you attempt to have it all at the same time, sometimes you get none of it. Therefore, it’s important to have a clear idea of what your goals are and what the extenuating consequences (both positive and negative) might be if you reach that goal.
Write them down
Most people don’t set goals at all. In fact, only 3% of people have written goals. It might be fine to have a goal that you don’t write down if you have a singular goal and you base every decision on whether it moves you closer or further away from achieving that goal.
Usually, though, if you have a singular goal in mind and you haven’t taken the time to work through the entire goal-setting process, you also aren’t making every decision that leads you to your success.
There’s no way around it. When you are focused on achieving your goal, you are sacrificing something else. The key is whether or not you are deciding what to sacrifice. Having multiple goals means making far more sacrifices than having one focused goal.
Right now you probably have goals for your business or professional life, your family, your finances, health and fitness, and community, just to name a few. Let’s look at some examples again:
Business – Make x amount of money.
Family – Spend more time with children and spouse.
Finances – Pay off debt.
Health/Fitness – Lose x lbs.
Community – Volunteer at least x hours per month.
On the surface, these all look like great goals. The challenge comes in when you start to outline how you will actually achieve each of these goals.
The Marathon or the Hubby?
One year, I set a goal to train for and run a half marathon. That same year, I had a goal to spend more time with my spouse.
Because of a variety of reasons, the ideal time of day for me to go on my training runs was around 6 AM in the morning whether it was a weekday or a weekend.
And my husband is a night owl. At that time, we spent an hour most nights of the week sitting in the hot tub catching up on the day and spending quality time together. But this meant I wasn’t getting to bed until 11:30 or 12.
Oh, and I do NOT function on little sleep.
When this first started coming up, I was having to choose between spending evening time with hubby or getting up early enough to train. In order to achieve one goal, I was having to sacrifice another.
Do You have Dueling Goals?
There is a very good possibility that, in order to make more money in your business, you must first invest more into the business. This could put you further into debt, which would be contrary to your financial goal of paying off debt.
In addition, despite the fads of the “Four Hour Work Week” all highly successful business people put in long hours most days of the week/month. If your focus and attention is required on your business 14 to 16 hours a day in order to increase the amount of money your business brings in, it leaves less time to spend with your family or in your community.
Investing in a virtual team can support having more free time, but it also may slow down the profitability of your business, but only initially.
By making decisions that first focus on your business goals and then on your family goals and then on your… you are ultimately taking the focus away from the other goals in that moment.
Focusing on multiple goals is much like saying you want to visit Oregon, California, Main and Florida on the same family vacation.
You set out for Oregon but then realize that the next road will more easily lead to Florida so you take it. Then you get to another interchange that says Florida – 500 miles, Maine – 250 miles so you decide to head off to Maine.
Ultimately, you’ve spent your entire vacation driving around aimlessly without seeing any of your destinations.
A better way to create the success you want to achieve is to rank your goals. For example, you might place the most emphasis on your business goals, knowing that making more money may ultimately lead to achieving some of your other goals as well.
Here’s an example:
#1) Business – Make x amount of money.
#2) Health/Fitness – Lose x lbs.
#3) Family – Spend more time with children and spouse.
#4) Finances – Pay off debt.
#5) Community – Volunteer at least x hours per month.
Now that you have ranked your goal priorities, you can set about creating your action plans. First work on the action plan for your primary goal. Once you have completed that, work on an action plan for your secondary goal.
Here’s the key, though. As you work on all subsequent goals, you MUST ask yourself this question:
Will this action interfere with any of the higher ranking goals I have set?
If the answer is yes, then that is an action that will get in the way of your ultimate success. You can then alter or cut the action from your action plan. Can’t come up with any action steps that won’t interfere with higher ranking goals? You may have to consider rewriting or eliminating that goal for the time being.
If I cancel my fitness club membership to get out of debt, will it interfere with my goal to lose weight?
You may want to focus on saving money in other ways if you can’t find alternative solutions to exercising without the use of a fitness club.
Are you ready to set your one goal but wondering which one to choose?
I’ve created a Goal Setting Worksheet to help you determine the right goals for you.
It’s important to be intentional with your goals. Focus on prioritizing them so that you can make more effective decisions. Those decisions will lead to better success.