Guard 3 Goals and 3 Priorities with Your Life (and forget the rest)

I’ve been following some sort of annual planning process for the past 10 years or so.

One thing I’ve learned over that time is that the more goals and different projects or whatever that I have, the more difficult it is to get traction.

The old saying, “Man who chases two rabbits, catches none” would apply here.

My desire to tackle change in every area of my life was born from a good place. That Zig Ziglar Wheel (I think it’s Zig) of Goals that suggests having goals in each of the following 7 or more areas:

  1. Faith
  2. Family
  3. Work
  4. Finances
  5. Health
  6. Community
  7. Personal Growth
  8. Marital
  9. Parenting

And so forth…. If you’ve been around the personal growth world for long, you’ve seen some list of all the different areas you have to address in order to keep things in ‘balance’.

These suggestions often use that image of a wheel to emphasize that you have to keep all these areas in balance so your wheel will roll on down the path of life. If you’re over-emphasizing one over another, then you’ll be out of balance and your wheel will go thump, thump, thump down a dark, mis-guided forest trail.

But after years of trying to conquer and master every area of my life all at the same time, I discovered that it’s impossible to give max effort to every single area in your life at all times.

You also don’t want to half-ass every area to keep things in balance.

What’s the alternative?

Focus hard on 1-3 key goals while not losing intentionality around your main priorities.

In other words, have 1-3 measurable goals and get rid of the rest (for now).

You can’t learn a new language, lose 30 pounds, start a new business, become the top sales performer, learn to play the guitar, train for a marathon, read 4 books a month, begin weekly volunteering at the community shelter, commit to weekly dates with each child, your elderly parents, your spouse, learn to woodwork, and get completely out of debt all at the same time.

You can identify 1-3 items, and go all in on attacking those items. I say 1-3, because due to what I’m about to say next, you might need to keep it to 1. Laser focus on 1 goal might be all you have the bandwidth for, and it might actually be the best approach anyway.

Laser focus on 1. Accomplish it. Pick another and attack.

In addition to being able to maintain laser focus on a goal, you also will always have ongoing priorities (my uncreative term for them).

Mine are my marriage, my relationship with my children, and my personal relationship with God.

I must build in daily, weekly, and monthly practices to honor and be intentional about these ongoing priorities. I cannot let my pursuit of goals impede these, normally relational, priorities. My health would be a fourth priority, but right now it’s up in the goal section.

The final thing to do here…. If some sort of work or request or some other thing doesn’t fit in your 1-3 goals or in your ongoing priorities, think long and hard if it’s worth your time and energy. You only have so much of both.

Don’t waste it on things that are really just excuses to procrastinate on working toward your goals or building into the relationships that your ongoing priorities represent.

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