Goals Tip: Focus on 1, Not 5

It’s the time of year when everyone is talking about resolutions or goals.

Some people are only talking about them because they plan to avoid them.

But the reality is, all of us set goals at different times in our lives.

It might be the goal to lose weight, change a relationship, get a new job, ask for a raise or promotion, go back to school, read more and get outside and start a hobby.

Here’s a goal tip.

Focus on one, not five (or two or three or ten).

Too often we set out to change our marriage, help with a child’s school, fix our heart issues or problems, get ahead at work or school, lose weight or get out of debt.

Do you know what that will all take?

Time and energy.

A lot of it.

We often underestimate the cost in those areas when we set a goal or make a change.

Changing your marriage will not happen overnight. You can’t fix a problem that has been growing for 13 years in eight weeks. That pain or hurt you’ve carried around for a decade will not go away from a few counseling sessions.

It will take time.

And we hate that.

Be okay that it might take a year or two for major progress to be seen.

Many of our goals are not one month projects but life altering processes.

It will also take energy, not just physical energy but often emotional energy.

I remember when I lost 130 pounds in 18 months. Yes, it took physical energy and time, but it took a lot of emotional energy as I confronted why I turned to food and the role food played in my life.

This is never easy work.

I think that is why goals often get set aside, because we get into them and see how difficult they’ll be.

But it is also why we choose more than one. If we fail, we shrug and move on.

As you set your goal for the year, and I hope you do,

lay out the time and energy it will take. Ask, “Do I have the time and energy for this? Do I have the bandwidth to tackle this? What needs to change in my schedule, rhythm or outlook for me to move forward on this?”

Let me close with this.

Often we get discouraged not only because we don’t feel like we’re moving forward but because we feel like we are moving backwards or at best standing still. If you have a goal, this isn’t true (even if it feels like it).

Be okay with how long it will take. Enter that process.

But don’t try to short cut it and move past the hard things. It’s okay if you aren’t done, but (and this is key) don’t try to live like it is. Stay engaged in the change that is happening and what is going on in your life.