Goals huh, don’t you just love them? Forever dangling out of reach, tempting us with their promises yet making us feel guilty when we neglect them for a while. It’s all so easy to make the mistake, especially with the amount of self-help literature out there, of having too many goals at once. If having one goal is good then having several must be better right?
There is no obvious right answer to this as every person is different and each of us has our own motivations, lifestyles and unique brain chemistry. Some people genuinely enjoy having many different challenges in their lives and it helps them remain focused and engaged. The problem is, unless we are experienced with actually setting goals and reaching them, having too much on our plate could have a detrimental effect on our productivity. Think of it like trying to run a marathon if you have only been training a couple of weeks. It just won’t be possible.
I am someone that is guilty of always trying to do too much at once, and I have no doubt that if I streamlined my goals, then I would achieve them a lot quicker. Every day I want to write something, every day I want to put in a few hours practice on the guitar, every day I want to learn German and most days I want to go down the gym. Not to mention I am also doing a degree in Computer programming and teaching guitar as a source of income. I also want to start training in Krav Maga or MMA. Thankfully I don’t have any ‘real responsibilities’ or my head would explode.
It just isn’t possible to do all of these things each day to a high standard, and I feel guilty if I leave some of them out, even if logically I know this to be okay.
I believe that excellence is born out of focus. To really achieve what you see in your mind’s eye, you have to place utmost importance upon it. Those who have reached great heights have done so by placing their number one goal up on a pedestal, above everything else.
If for example you want to be a professional musician, but you share your day with several other smaller passions, then you are just short changing yourself.
In my life now, I have learnt that my number one focus has to be on creating a good passive income for myself, to sustain my life and enable me the freedom to follow my passions in the long run. This means that most of my other goals and passions, in the short term at least, have to be minimised. That last sentence actually gave me a great analogy for this topic.
Imagine your brain is like a computer. When you have too many programmes open and running simultaneously then the computers performance will suffer because there isn’t enough RAM and power to cope with the workload. This is like your brain, but instead swap RAM for time and that is the limitation you have.
Sadly I am putting my German learning and my guitar practice on the back-burner in the short term. This enables me to focus on earning a living with any spare time being allocated for my degree, (The joys of part time tuition).
Focus on one thing at a time
So if you are finding that you aren’t achieving the goals you set, that your mind seems scattered and you feel like you can’t put true effort in any one endeavor Then consider focusing on one main area, your true passion and put some of your other hobbies on hold for a while. Prioritise your life and cut out the dead wood. I’m willing to bet that you will see a significant increase in motivation and performance.
Are you the sort of person who relishes many challenges at once or do you prefer focusing on one thing at a time? Let me know in the comment section below.