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  • Writer's pictureCassandra Martin-Himmons

3 Practical Ways To Narrow Down Your Goals When You Have Too Many

What do you do when you’ve got so much to accomplish and so little time?

You set a goal! But what do you do if you feel like you’re spinning in circles because you’ve got too many goals? No, you don’t throw your hands up in the air and give up – you press through.

Pressing through means that you’ll need to review your goals to figure out what you can accomplish and when. You’ll need look at things such as, are your goals in conflict with one another? If they are, don’t stress, because I’ve got good news, you’re not the only one who’s had that experience. I’ve been there, and it’s hard to know which direction to go in.

But, in my time, I’ve learned a few tricks to help me reign it in and organize my goals. Read on for three tips that will help you if you’re feeling overwhelmed because you’re dealing with too many goals. Because as always you want to manage your stress before your stress manages you.

Look For Overlapping

Form to prioritize goals as part of the goal setting process
Prioritize Those Goals!

When you have a lot of goals, chances are that there’s a natural relationship between at least two of them. For instance, you may have a goal of getting healthier and you also might want to start a hobby as well. So, what are you gonna do? You would brainstorm about different leisure activities that are active.

Activities like golf or running would take care of both of those goals at the same time.

Sometimes you’ll find that you have two goals that seem to be completely opposed to each other, like wanting to travel and also wanting to be at home. So you’re going to need to figure out how you can either accommodate both desires or how you can prioritize them. To start take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle and then write out both goals.

Under each goal write out all the reasons why each one matters to you and why you want to do them. As you go along in the activity, you’re bound to make discoveries.

You might discover that the desire for travel is coming about because you’re having a hard time dealing with stressors at work – so you want to escape and get away from it all, while the wanting to stay at home all of the time is an indicator that you’re not spending enough time with your family.

So, the result of these two conflicting goals might be a change of careers to something that you enjoy more which allows for better work/life balance. Or, you might figure out that mini vacation or long road trip with the family can satisfy your desire. Get to the essence of the goal, and usually it works itself out.

Person writing goals down in a to do list
Make Time for Those Goals

A lot of us tell ourselves we’ve only got "so many hours in a day," and that we're "too busy" to take on anything else right now. I’ve said both of those things plenty of times myself. But in many cases, that’s just not true. Your time is precisely that – yours. And you have the power to control how it’s used.

If you have a goal of learning a new language but are busy, 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 tend find the time for the things that we feel matter. So ultimately what you should say is, “I’m am looking at my calendar and I will find time to learn a new language.”

To make time for your goals, write them down and prioritize them. From that list, take your top 2 - 3 and write out all the steps necessary to achieve each goal. Once you do that you then have a to-do list or action plan to help you achieve that specific goal.

I’ll tell you a story from a time when I did this. My hubby and I had a trip planned to go to Cartagena, Columbia and I needed to brush up on my Spanish. I planned to use an app called Duolingo. So, I wrote out all of the steps which included visualizing myself opening up the app, doing Spanish language exercises on the app, and practicing my Spanish.

Cassandra having dinner in Columbia after meeting goal of brushing up on Spanish
Met My Goal!

Writing out the steps motivated me to the point where I was pumped up, set aside time each week and did my lessons instead of putting them off. As a result, I was able to get my Spanish in good enough shape to speak with locals in Cartagena, which really added to the cultural experiences of the trip.

And of course, it goes without saying that your goals are smart ones. 😊

Be Flexible

It’s important when you’re trying to achieve a goal thing to put a timeline together and have definite dates for achieving key milestones especially if it’s a multistep goal. But remember that life happens, and usually its at a time when it derails you the most.

“Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” - Allen Saunders

There’s a quote by Allen Saunders that goes: “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” Having milestones and plotting points along your timeline is a good practice to help you stay organized and on track, but don’t hold yourself to it so rigidly that you can’t adapt and pivot when life gets in the way.

If it feels to you like you have too many goals or if the ones you do have are fighting each other, then it’s important to look at the essence of each one. Take your time. That’ll help you determine which one is the most important to you right now.

One Last Thought

If you’re still overwhelmed by having too many goals, consider working on one goal at a time. You’ve prioritized them, so you know which goal means the most to you. By concentrating on the one that means the most right now, you’ll put your goals into perspective, and they won’t overwhelm you anymore.

So that’s it. Three simple steps that you can take to help yourself when you have too many goals.

Let’s talk, what steps do you take to help keep your goals organized? Let me know in the comments section.

To Do list photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash


Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a trainer, wellness coach and consultant who believes in empowering her clients and providing the tools that they need to make positive changes in their lives to manage their stress and increase their self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or Linked/In

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