How many goals should you really set at a time? We have people who say that setting goals are free thus, we can have as many as we want. There are some people on the other hand who say that we should only have a few. But which is the correct one? This article will answer how many goals should you have when it comes to the one that will produce the best result possible.
In general, you should set one to three goals at a time. Setting this amount of goals would yield the best result when it comes to achieving our goals. The reason for this is that it forces us to focus on goals which in turn leads to achieving more.
Setting goals at this range is the sweet spot. If you are someone who prefers having only one goal at a time, then this will work for you. If you are someone who prefers having many goals at a time, then having three goals will surely produce results. In general, the 1-3 goal rule is the best as I will explain more on it later.
This article will be about explaining why 1-3 goals are the sweet spot. Plus, I will talk about how can we minimize our goals if it seems too big. Lastly, we will talk about what do we need to do if we really have lots of goals like others who have more than 10 goals. The reason for this is that I get that there are dreamers that have lots of goals like me, so I will share what worked based on my experience.
How many goals should you have at a time?
As a rule of thumb, you should have around one to three goals at a time. It is the perfect number of goals if we want to produce great results. This is because it takes note of our ability to focus and prevents switch costs. This method works for almost everybody.
The 1 to 3 goal rule has been effective in lots of people.
As an example, my website grew significantly because I focused on this website. When I was new in website development, I was so excited that I made 4 websites.
What happened with 4 websites is that none of my websites succeed the past 2-3 years. The reason for that is because my focus is extremely fragmented once the count becomes four.
Right now, I focus on only one website which is this website. I give 80% of my attention to this site and it has been working really well.
Last month, my website visits increased by 50%. I’m really hopeful for the future.
Furthermore, the remaining 20% of my attention goes to my other 2 websites, which is also growing since I already know how to switch attention.
I know how hard it is to focus on only one goal if we want to have many. Thus, I will share with you what I did to produce results with 3 websites.
In my experience, going beyond 3 is too much. I learned my lesson the hard way when I had to close 2 of my websites out of the 4. I just can’t support their maintenance anymore and they aren’t really improving.
Some of us are really excited and have a lot of goals. Furthermore, you might be someone who gets bored quickly. Don’t worry since I also got you.
One of the reasons why I have 3 sites is that I get bored quickly when I focused on just one. I know that and when I am really bored, I then do something else and work for my other sites.
Because I focus on them from time to time, I can also see improvements. The improvements are not like this website of course, but they are also improving.
Thus, based on my experience, you can have up to 3 goals at once. It is perfect if you really want to see improvements while still having enough rest and sleep.
Choosing to have a lot of goals makes us get drained quickly since we have limited energy and time in a day.
But, just working for 4 hours focused on one thing every day will bring tremendous results. On other days when you feel bored, feel free to work on other projects but keep it minimum and to the maximum of only 3.
Are you not excited to create your goal list? Then, of course, I got you covered again. I actually have an article that can really help you out. I made a simple 11 step guide on making your goal setting 270% more effective compared to others. I know you will like it so here is the link: How to Create a List of your Goals
But going back on my point.
The point here is that if you are someone who doesn’t get bored and gets things done, then having one goal is the best since it will produce the best results. On the other hand, if you have a lot of goals or you get bored easily, then the maximum number of goals you can have at a time is 3.
Thus, 1 to 3 goals are the sweet spot.
In the next section, we are going to discuss why is it bad to have many goals. We are going to talk about what big and many goals can do to us when it comes to achieving our goals.
Why is it bad to have many goals
It is bad to have many goals simply because it fragments too much of our attention. The reason for this is that it takes approximately 15 minutes to focus on something. This means that you are wasting 15 minutes every time you switch focus.
Experts have already quantified that it takes a person approximately 15 minutes in order to focus on a task, and when he gets distracted, it takes another 15 minutes to fully go back in focus.
The best results happen when we are completely in focus. My best articles were made when I was in the zone.
It is the same with our goals. If we have our focus, we can reach our goals not just efficiently, but also fast.
The problem when we have too many goals(more than 3) is that it fragments our attention too much. This wastes a lot of our time and none of our goals will actually progress.
One of the reasons for that is because our goals always stay in our minds. For example, if I am making an article and I have a lot of websites in my mind, then the thought that I am not improving some of them will always be in my brain that prevents me from focusing.
It is the same if your goal is to run faster or to make more free throws, you might get distracted if you have other goals that you want to do, for example, building a bigger circle of friends.
We know that making more free throws and practicing will take much of your time plus focus. If our focus is extremely fragmented because we have lots of goals in mind, then it can be a big problem.
As I said, the trick I have is to focus on one thing per day. For example, today I am focused on this website. On another day where I am bored, then I am going to give the day to my other sites.
It worked like a charm and I saw improvements in all of my websites even if I am focused here.
But I hope you already got my point on why it is bad to have too many goals. My point here is that too many goals would fragment our attention too much and get us out of focus. Furthermore, too many goals cause us to procrastinate.
What I mean by this is that when we are usually in front of lots of tasks, we usually just want to hide in our bedroom and let the future handle it.
Have you ever wonder why sometimes, we just don’t want Sunday to end? There are 2 reasons for that. One is that you must really hate your job, and the second is that you have a lot of things to do on Monday.
Having a lot of things to do makes us feel like we don’t have whatever it takes to finish them, thus we always tend to just run away from our responsibilities.
The only exception for that is when we are motivated. But motivation is usually temporary.
However, if you are interested in motivation, then I have an article for you. In that article, I discussed the type of motivation that would be more permanent and how to get that type of motivation. Here is the link: Is Motivation Mental or Emotional?
But I hope you now get the point because if you lots of goals, then the next section will teach you the techniques I did to minimize our goals and to produce results.
What can we do to lessen or minimize our goals
It is normal for dreamers like me to have lots of goals in mind. For example, I want to have a good physique while being smart. I also want to learn how to code while building this website.
I also want to improve my circle of friends and have a deeper relationship with the people I care about.
That’s a lot of goals but I can tell you that I figured out a way around how can I stay focused while still having that many goals.
Here are the ways for us to lessen our goals while still be able to see improvements.
1. Find the Most Important Goal
This is perhaps the one that helped me the most when I was at the lowest point in my life.
The most important goal is the goal that matters the most to you at the given time.
For example, if your real priority is to fix your relationship, then that is your most important goal as of that time.
Finding the most important goal gives us a reason to stay focused on a certain goal. Even if we have lots of goals but the need arises for us to focus on one, we can actually stay focus.
This method can be done by having a quiet time by yourself and carefully analyzing your life. It is self-reflection where you find what matters the most to you.
If you want to know more about self-reflection, then I actually made a simple but effective guide on self-reflection. I suggest you read that one since it can help you identify the most important goal you should be doing. Here is the link: How to Develop your Self-Reflection Practice
Don’t worry, if you are not into having a quiet time by yourself, then the next tip would also work and it helped me a lot before.
2. Categorize your Goals
Categorizing your goals is really important if your goal is to minimize your goals. This way, you can see what is the purpose of each of your goals.
In there, you can see that you may have 3 goals but their purpose is only to improve one thing. So, you can actually reduce your goals from 3 to 1.
For example, before, I lost my job and then my investments failed. I was so down that I don’t even know what to do with my life. I have lots of goals but I realized something.
That time, I know that to fix my career, financial, relationship, and external goals, I can only do one thing. It is to earn a living that would make my life comfortable. That way, I can also eat healthy which solves my health goals.
As you can see, I might have lots of goals, but actually, if only I earn more, then it would solve like 80% of my problems.
That’s what I did and it worked.
Now, it’s your turn.
Categorize your goals and find the ones that would fit into lots of the categories. That means that the goal is very important and you should focus on that.
Here are the categories of goals:
- Financial Goals
- Health Goals
- Relationship Goals
- Psychological Goals
- Educational Goals
- Personal Development Goals
- Experience Goals
- Spiritual Goals
- Career Goals
- External Goals
If you need more information on how to categorize your goals, then I have a guide for that to help complete with examples: How to Categorize your Goals
3. Do the 80/20 Rule
Did you remember why I said that I put 80% of my effort on one website and 20% on another.
It is the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto principle.
It basically means that 80% of results come from 20% of our effort.
Thus, in my other websites, I am using my 20% effort to produce the best result possible. That’s the reason why they are still improving despite not giving a lot of attention to them.
For this website, I give my 80%. Since I am using 80%, the result is better but my other 2 websites are improving.
Find the thing that would make produce 80% results with just 20% effort.
Focus on the 20% and you will see significant improvement.
Always remember to find the one that would produce 80% of the result and focus your time on there. Other optimization can come later.
Can we still have many goals?
We can have many goals as long as we know how to handle them properly. You can have many goals if you know how to focus on the important ones first. This means that you should learn how to postpone some goals in order to achieve some.
I told you earlier about my goals.
That’s a lot, right? Yeah.
But I learned how to prioritize since I know that only by focusing on 1 to 3 things would I be able to produce results. Once I am finished with my goal, then I can take another one.
Even if I have lots of goals, I do not do them all at once.
It is the same for you. It is completely fine to have numerous goals provided that you know how to prioritize.
Because it is prioritizing that would help us achieve the results we are always looking for when goal setting.
No matter how manor big your goals are, it doesn’t matter as long as you know how to prioritize.