When you sleep, you dream. Even if you don't remember those dreams when you wake up, you do still have them. The thing about dreams is that we have them one at a time. They don't overlap. They are content to wait in line and be taken one at a time.
Your goals should be like your dreams—one at a time. Here are a few tricks on how you can decide on your next goal.
1. Find the ONE goal. It might be that the reason people make nebulous resolutions instead of New Year’s Goals is that a goal is a big thing and can be overwhelming. But losing the big picture means losing the prize.
Ask yourself these questions:
◦ Why are you doing what you’re doing? The why provides motivation even when you're discouraged. Knowing the why will also help clarify your goal.
◦ Next year, what achievement from this year will have the most significant impact on your life and get you closest to achieving your goals? If you’re looking to become healthier, this might be becoming a non-smoker. If you’re looking to change careers, it might be going back to school for more training.
◦ What takes your full attention while you’re doing it? Where does your passion lie? Are you consumed by cars? Perhaps being a mechanic is what you need to investigate.
◦ What do you believe that is worth doing that maybe other people wouldn’t? That is a question designed to give insight into your personality. In the 1960s Rosey Grier played pro football for the Giants and later for the LA Rams. He was 6’5” and 300 pounds. He famously passed the time between plays knitting. It was his passion.
What makes you so passionate that you don’t mind standing alone to do it? What drives you or from what do you take comfort? How can that be a part of the goal? Or can it become the goal?
2. Translate your goal into a number. Numbers are easier to remember. What number? Consider your goal is to become an ex-smoker. If you smoke a pack per day at $5 per pack, that’s 5 X 365 or $1,825 spent each year on cigarettes. That’s a good number. Call it $2,000 by the time you factor in all those trips to the gas station for cigarettes. Does that number make the goal real?
3. Keep your eyes on the prize. Get out a sheet of paper. Write that number down in big, bold, colorful numbers. Use crayons if you like. Post that number where you can see it. Often.
Learn to prioritize your goals. By doing so, you will find it easier to pick the one that means the most to you right now. Then put your focus solidly on that particular goal until you get to where you want to go.