Practical Ways to Narrow Down Your Goals

Do you ever feel like you’re spinning in circles with too many goals? Are most of them conflicting? The good news is, you’re not the only one who feels that way. It’s ubiquitous, but you can solve the problem. You can narrow down your goals.

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Indeed reviewing last year’s goals I had set for myself, I saw by March I had crossed off two of my goals. These were goals that I really do want to accomplish. But in reality, I had set my too many goals that were time-consuming.

Too many goals? Narrow down your goals thoughtfully.

woman narrowing down her goals
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So I chose two of my goals to set aside. Not forever, just for now. This season, when I need to focus strongly elsewhere. Indeed to narrow down your goals is not always easy.

I struggled with it – but once I let go of them and opened up that time, I was able to move forward with my more essential plans and made genuine progress.

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We really can’t have it all. At least not at the same time! Don’t let having to modify or even throw out your resolutions or aspirations get you down. Do it thoughtfully and carefully, and you will gain peace and satisfaction.

“Capitalizing on the enthusiasm and energy you have for a goal will give you the drive to accomplish that goal. It’s okay to leave some other ambitions on the table and come back to them later when you have more space in your life to pursue it.”

Narrow Your Goals, Eric Ravenscraft

Here are some things you can do if you’re overwhelmed with hopes. 

  1. Look for overlaps. Sometimes there is a natural and logical relationship between objectives. Suppose you want to get healthier and to have more leisure time. Making time out for active leisure like tennis or running will accomplish both goals at once. 

Sometimes two plans seem to be in direct opposition to each other, like wanting to travel and having more time at home. In this case, write out both goals, and next to each of them, write out why you want to do each of them. You might find that what you want is to be away from work. In this case, your real goal could be to change careers.

 Or, you might discover that you can satisfy your desire to travel by a short vacation or a road trip with the family. Maybe you don’t have too many goals! When we narrow down your goals we sometimes find the overlaps and it becomes less intimidating.

Get to the essence of the intention, and they’ll work themselves out.

  1. Make the time. We tell ourselves there are “only so many hours in a day,” and that we’re “too busy” to take on anything else right now. Your time is precisely that – yours.  

 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 find the time for the things that matter most in the season we are in. 

  1. Be flexible. It’s a good thing to put a timeline together and have definite dates and time-sensitive goals. But remember that life happens, and often it even gets in the way. There is an ancient Greek saying: “If you want to make the gods laugh, tell them your plans.” 
Woman narrowing down her goals
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Having milestones and plotting points along the timeline is good, but don’t hold yourself to it so rigidly that you cannot adapt to the occasional curveball. Or in many of our lives – the daily curveball! Too many goals can leave us feeling defeating. Narrow down your goals so you can breathe.

Again, if it feels to you like you have too many goals or if the ones you do have are in conflict with each other, then search for the essence of each one. 

That will help you determine what’s most important to you right now. Then work on one purpose at a time. By concentrating on which one means the most to you right now, you’ll put those goals into perspective, until they don’t seem like so much anymore.

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