Goal setting is one of the skills that can lead you to a life filled with happiness and success. It is a powerful skill that we can learn in order to make all aspects of our life better. One of the most common frequencies of goal setting is by setting goals on a monthly basis. However, there are lots of people who fail in their monthly goal setting because they didn’t regard how many goals should they set.
So How many goals should you set in a month?
In general, you should set only about 1 to 3 goals every month. The reason for this is because setting too many goals will cause us to lose willpower fast that might eventually lead to burnout. Setting on 1 to 3 goals each month leads to consistency.
Of course, we will understand more on this topic within the article. We will dive deeper into why we should set only one to three goals, its reasons and how can we make our goal setting very effective. We’ll also talk about why it is bad to have too many goals.
How many goals should you have in a month?
You should only have one to three goals a month. The reason for this is that we tend to stick to our goals more if we only have a few goals. Furthermore, too many goals cause most to just freeze and get stuck in the planning phase without action.
Now, we are going to talk about why we should only set a few goals each month. Particularly why one to three is the sweet spot.
Humans are not really good at multitasking. In fact, the American Psychological Association discussed in their article a phenomenon called switching cost.
To explain this in an easy manner. Switching cost is the price we have to pay when we switch our focus. For example, when we work on a certain goal, and then suddenly switched to another, the adjusting phase on switching focus actually takes a lot from our productivity.
In fact, some experts say that every time you switch focus, it takes about 15 minutes to fully go back into focus.
So what does this have to do with too many goals?
Actually, working on our goals is focusing on something to reach it. For example, my goal right now is to write this article so I am completely focused on this task.
But for example, I have a lot of tasks to do in mind, then my focus will be completely fragmented since I am thinking about my other goals.
It is like being distracted all the time. Our mind reminding us of our other goals or to-do keeps us from maintaining our focus.
In general, having only one goal is best, but actually, we can take up to a maximum of 3 since we can still make progress is focus on 3 goals.
Any more than that would be a lot of switching cost which will lead to failure.
Is it bad to have too many goals?
It is bad to have too many goals because it causes a lot of switching costs. Switching cost is the productivity we have to pay for focusing on another goal. This constant switching of focus will massively hurt not just our productivity, but also the quality of work we do.
As I said, the maximum amount of goals you can take each month is only up to three. More than that will take a lot of switching costs.
My best example of switching costs and the danger of having four or more goals is when I first started building websites.
When I first started making websites, I was so excited about the possibilities of making lots of sites. For that reason, I built exactly 4 websites.
For 3 years, none of them succeeded.
The reason for that is because I was trying to work on all four of them at the same time. It took lots of willpower and productivity that I was not making enough progress to succeed in any of them.
Right now, I closed 2 of those sites and I am just focusing on this website.
As you can see, the danger of switching costs is really big. The ultimate reason for that is we won’t make significant progress in any of those tasks or goals if we focus on a lot.
To make significant changes, we need to focus on something for a long time. Too much change in focus will cause us to not move in any of them.
I hope you now get why I am serious about having only one to three goals each month. The biggest reason is that it hurts a lot of our productivity.
If you are interested, since you are checking on how many goals to set on a monthly basis, I have an article comparing all of the goal-setting frequencies (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly) on a separate article. It is a good article to read if you are interested in the advantages and disadvantages of each of those.
But now that we’ve discussed the dangers of having too many goals, let’s solve the problem in the next section. We will discuss effective goal setting.
How to do Effective Goal Setting
We can effectively do goal setting if we learn how to focus on fewer goals. This section will be about how we can decrease the number of goals we have to the most important ones.
I know you might be in a position where you should have many goals. Don’t worry because I’ve been there. I was there when I was at the lowest point of my life and it really is a big pain.
I remember when I was at my lowest point, I lost my job, investments, and everything seems crumbling.
What I thought of that time is to make a lot of goals so I can become better faster.
As you can see, it doesn’t work that way.
In fact, the reason why I got out of that situation is that I focused on only one goal at that time and that is to fix my financial goals.
The way to lessen the amount of goals you need to do is to find the goal that needs the most attention. Find the goal that will improve all other aspects of your life.
For example, if you have many goals such as being healthy, losing weight, improve energy levels, and increase brain power, then maybe you can lessen that goal into one which is to just exercise for 15 minutes daily.
But the general rule is that if you can find something that can improve all of your goals, then focus on that one thing. The lesser, the better.
I know it is hard to explain because it will need a lot of words. Thus, I actually made an article discussing how to create a very effective goal setting. In fact, it will make your goal setting 270% more efficient if you do it that way. Here is the link: How to Create a List of your Goals
In addition, to properly narrow down your goals, here are the categories of goals. By categorizing your goals, you can easily spot what category needs the most improvement so you can focus on just the goal in that category: How to Categorize your Goals