The Problem of Too Many Goals

A few times a year, I sit down and reflect on where my business has been, where it is, and where it's going. I do this at the beginning of the calendar year and again on my birthday in August.

This year, I realized I had a major problem that was stunting the growth of my business: I had too many goals. Because I was torn in so many directions, I wasn't accomplishing much toward any of my goals.

What's worse is that because I was spending so much time working, I stopped doing a lot of things I'm passionate about. That led to unhappiness with my business and feeling like my work wasn’t paying off.

For my mid-year analysis, I looked at the areas of my life and quickly saw if I didn't take time to relax and recharge, my business would only suffer more as my creativity drained away and my passion burned out.

The first thing I decided to do was take a hard look at my goals and where my time was going. I quickly realized I had two types of goals:

1. Someone Else's Goals.

These were goals someone else had given me – either by making them sound like something I should want to do or by asking me to help them with a project. Making six figures per year and self-publishing a business book were on this list.

2. My Goals.

These were goals that got me out of bed in the morning and kept me up late. They were the things I was truly excited about accomplishing, like being featured in Entrepreneur magazine and getting Sara Blakely (the creator of Spanx) to notice my new venture,

It was hard to make progress on my goals because they were getting pushed aside to make time to work on someone else's goals.

I decided I didn't want to spend my time working toward a goal I wasn't 100 percent in love with. It wasn't easy, but within a few days, I had "resigned" from all of the goals that weren’t mine and freed up quite a bit of time.

Next, I decided to spend an hour every day doing something I used to enjoy. The only requirement was it had to be fun and get my creative juices flowing. I chose to read fiction books and get outside more. On the days when the weather is nice enough to read outside, I get a double dose of enjoyment.

So far, the results of my streamlined goals and doing more things I enjoy are:

  1. My stress is almost completely gone.
  2. I have more energy and passion for my projects.
  3. I've read more books in two weeks than I did in the past six months.
  4. My creativity is back and writing is much easier.
  5. I'm not struggling for ideas because my brain isn't exhausted or numb.

I’ve always thought reading is important, but after the past month, I truly believe reading fiction is essential to writers. Just in case you won't take my word for it, here is what some famous writers have to say:

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

– Stephen King

“Be awesome! Be a book nut!”

– Dr. Seuss

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."

– Richard Steele

So what about you? How do you take time to recharge? Join the discussion here.

Tomorrow, I'll be back to talk about the benefits of building your business slowly.

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Published: November 19, 2012

8 Responses to “The Problem of Too Many Goals”

  1. This is so true! I get more done in a day if I have only three or four things written on my to-do list. If I have twenty then I don't do any of it.


  2. Christina - great thoughts. And it is so true about other people's goals! Often we don't realize we've adopted them until it's too late and they've already sucked away tons of energy. Congrats on re-aligning!

    Jennifer Adams

  3. Christina,

    This is FABULOUS. I've been pulled in so many different directions and doing none of them well. About a week ago, I reealized what I was doing. Thanks for laying out a simple plan for simplifying.

    Beth Carson

  4. Wow Christina!
    You're right-on with this. I needed to hear it now. THANKS for writing about this!

    I feel I've been chasing my tail, not getting nearly enough done... and then beating myself up about it. More stress ensued. And it was all really just this thing you described above!
    Sometimes we get so focused on the task of digging, we don't realize we've dug too deep & now we're in a hole!

    Ahhhh... (that's me taking a deep breath) This week - I realign!
    Thank you, marvelous lady!

    Paula High-Young

  5. Great article, Christina. Thanks so much!

    Great point about following someone else's goals. Another person's goals may attract us at first. But it's our own goals that sustain and drive us over time.

    As far as unplugging is concerned, nothing quite does it like some good jazz music. Music feeds the soul and takes you places you can't go to physically.

    Thanks again for the article, Christina. Keep up the great work!!!


  6. Just wondering why reading FICTION is important to a writer. I consider myself a writer and I have quite a few things published, but I always feel like fiction is a waste of time. I approve of fiction, but I don't want to spend time reading it. I read about things that interest me, normally. Maybe sometime you could elaborate on that.

    Guest (arlean)

  7. I used to have a daily 6 most important things list. Those were written on the top of the paper. At the bottom were MANY other things. A spatter list if you will. Once the 6 were done I could pick up a spatter. It worked once. I am going to see if it will work again.


  8. Wonderful insights, Christina. Thank you for sharing. And this ties in well with your essay " A simple solution for really focusing " when you have just a few goals, you can "get er done "pete obrien

    Pete OBrien

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