Updated: Feb 12
Do you ever feel like you’re spinning in circles with too many goals? Are most of them conflicting? The good news is, you’re not the only one who feels that way. It's very common, and you can help solve the problem. But you will have to make the distinction of goals you value and "goals" which you do not value. The latter may be a reason to let other "goals" go to break up the sense of feeling overwhelmed.
Here are some things you can do if you’re overwhelmed with goals.
1. Look for overlaps. Sometimes there is a natural and logical relationship between goals. Suppose you want to get healthier and to have more leisure time. Making time out for active leisure like tennis or running will accomplish both goals at once.
Sometimes two goals seem to be in direct opposition to each other, like wanting to travel and having more time at home. In this case, write out both goals and next to each of them write out why you want to do each of them. You might find that what you want is to be away from work. In this case, your real goal might be to change careers. Or, you might discover that you can satisfy your desire to travel with a short vacation or a long drive with the family. Get to the essence of the goal, and they’ll work themselves out.
There is an ancient Greek saying that goes: “If you want to make the gods laugh, tell them your plans.” - Vince Morales
2. Make the time. We tell ourselves there are "only so many hours in a day," and that we're "too busy" to take on anything else right now. Your time is precisely that – yours.
Instead of saying “I don’t have time to learn a language,” try saying, “I’m not making time to learn a new language.” We find the time for the things that matter.
3. Be flexible. It’s a good thing to put a timeline together and have definite dates and time-sensitive goals. But remember that life happens, and often it even gets in the way. There is an ancient Greek saying that goes: “If you want to make the gods laugh, tell them your plans.” Having milestones and plotting points along the timeline is good, but don’t hold yourself to it so rigidly that you cannot adapt to the occasional curveball.
If it feels to you like you have too many goals or if the ones you do have are fighting each
other, then find the essence of each one. That will help you determine what’s most important to you right now. Then work on one goal at a time. By concentrating on which one means the most to you right now, you’ll put those goals into perspective, until they don’t seem like so much anymore.
What does “We Measure What We Value” mean?
It means there’s a reciprocal relationship between something that is important (valuing it) and having a quantitative assessment (measure) of a thing.
We tend to measure something if we think it’s important. (How many hairs are on your head? It doesn’t matter, which is why you don’t know that number.) But once you put a number on something, people assume it’s important. To ourselves, if we put a number on it, then we view it as important. If we view it as important, then we give it much more focus. We need to be intentional and mindful of what we are valuing because we will be measuring it in some way.
For one thing, they may assume that because someone bothered to measure it, that person must have had a good reason — the number must be important. For another thing, imagine that two things are both important: say, an employee’s sales and an employee’s way of getting along with co-workers. But you can only measure one of those — sales — easily. Many managers will simply give up on the harder one, namely how well the employee gets along with others, and focus on the easy, measurable part of their performance.