How Many Goals Should You Set At Once?

How Many Goals Should You Set At Once?

When I finally made the decision to start setting goals I went into this frenzy of goal setting…

Setting goals become the goal. And I wound up with so many goals that I didn’t know which one I should start with or which goals were important.

Which lead me to the question, how many goals should you set at once? You should set as many goals as you need to accomplish the one major goal in your life. The more complex (or long term) the goal the less you should have. This leaves room for easier (or short term) goals that you can check off your list on the way to completing your major life goal.

Achieving Multiple Goals

No two people are alike, so it is no surprise that not everyone will attempt to reach the goals the same way. However, we can all utilize some simple techniques that will help us to get to the final goal easier. Like any task you face, a list is essential.

Create a simple list of things you will need to accomplish before your goal can be reached.

Most goals are reached in steps, so write down all of the steps that will need to be accomplished in advance before the final goal is reached. You can also make a list of items you might need to buy, books you might need to read, or just little things you can do to prepare for the finalization of your goal ahead of time.

Think about realistic goals versus unrealistic ones, and then only establish goals that you can feasibly conquer. For instance, if you want that dream car that costs $50,000 and you know you can never afford it, it might be time to take a step back and re-evaluate your goal. Maybe the compact sedan for $15,000 is something you can actually afford to purchase and may be what you will really enjoy.

Take some time to really think about which goals are “doable” and which ones might be beyond reach. Or, you can set a smaller, less lofty goal and then slowly work your way towards your dream goal later. Often, the most essential part of reaching goals is the process and not the goal itself.

Do not be too hard on yourself if you falter along the way to reaching your goal.

Everyone makes mistakes, and this is how we learn.

Without these little fumbles, we miss out on some very valuable lessons in life. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move forward. Keep in mind that each mistake you make should be a learning opportunity and just be sure not to repeat it in the future.

Get organized, and keep track of your progress.

If you are quitting smoking, keep tabs on how many cigarettes you have NOT smoked in a day, week, etc. Tally up the money you’ve saved. If its weight you are trying to lose, make a food diary and write down what you eat each day as well as your calorie and fat content, so you can more clearly see how everything is progressing.

A list written in your day planner, entered into a PDA or iPhone, logged online, or simply written on a notepad can really help you see where your progress is being made. In addition, every small step or thing you complete gives you a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. This feeling only helps to encourage you to push forward and reach for the stars.

Depending on what your ultimate goal is, you might even want to recruit the help of a friend. Perhaps you and someone you know have a similar goal in mind. It can be something as simple as getting more exercise, or something as lofty as starting your own business. If you have a support system, you are more likely to be successful.

Plus, your "goal buddy" might be able to offer some helpful advice and you can learn something from each other along the way. Having a true support system makes a huge difference between achieving your goal and just thinking about it. In addition, having someone walk down the path with you can make it much more fun, and seem less like a task that you feel you HAVE to do.

Sometimes, a matter of achieving your goals can be as simple as your frame of mind. Try some meditation techniques to help you feel calm and more relaxed. Yoga, walking, relaxing music, and just plain old quiet time can do wonders for your psyche.

Try to eliminate some of the more stressful elements in your life. By doing this, you are allowing more room in your mind and more time on your hands to focus on the more important things. Do not let things upset you as easily as you once did. Instead, learn new coping skills so you can quickly solve problems and turn your attention back towards your goal.

Utilize the new technology that is available to you. You can use a myriad of goal setting and tracking software for everything from weight loss to business achievements. If you own a website, there are a great deal of web tracking software programs that will help you analyze your current sales and help you reach your goal. Make the Internet work for you by searching for goal related programs and websites that will be your ally throughout the process.

Think about things like time management, and how these programs can assist you with it. In fact, time management is another key part of accomplishing a goal. By better being able to manage how you use your time, you can see where there might be room for improvement and then focus on how to gain more time to get what you want.

Consider your personal habits when you set a goal.

For example, do you drink often or even in excess on the weekends? How is this getting in the way of your goal? Do you have a messy household that constantly needs cleaning?

Come up with a list of personal habits that might be considered unhealthy or harmful, and think about how you can change these habits so that you feel more comfortable with your life.

Eliminating negativity will do wonders for your life as well as your ability to reach your goals.

Goals Are Good For You

Goals are important because they help to give you clarity of the final result. For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds, setting small, incremental goals can help encourage you and keep you moving in the right direction.

Once you reach your final goal, a true feeling of achievement takes hold and you gain courage to try something else. Perhaps it may also encourage you to do something much bolder, like go rock climbing or learn a new sport. Small goals are wonderful stepping stones towards helping us reach that final outcome.

Aside from helping you move towards the right direction, setting goals make you more accountable to yourself. If you hadn’t set a personal goal, there is no repercussion if you falter. On the other hand, if a goal is already put in place, you can begin to create some rules and boundaries to help you stick to it.


Let others know about your goal and keep them informed of your progress. This way, someone else is aware of what you are working toward and can help to encourage you. Any goal is designed to help you be responsible for the mistakes you make, or for any learning curves you might experience along the way. It helps keep us focused with our eyes on the prize, and allows us to better understand what it is we are trying to achieve.

Keep in mind that most successful people began their journey with some kind of goal in mind. No famous business owner, movie star, or sports hero began their journey expecting everything to simply fall into place the way they wanted it. Instead, most likely they decided what they wanted in advance, and then worked hard to get there. The same can be applied to us in our day to day journeys: if we want something big to happen, WE have to make it happen. This is where the role of setting and sticking to goals comes in.

Related Questions

What are the 5 S.M.A.R.T. goals?

One good strategy in creating realistic goals is to follow the SMART goal setting.

SMART means:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Result Focused

T – Time bound

If you are able to do this, you are on your way to achieving your goals. With SMART method you can never go wrong as it is basic yet effective.

There are ways to help you set achievable goals. This method is commonly known as SMART goal setting technique. It is a basic outline that you can utilize in order to come up with goals that are attainable and realistic. It allows you to experience both material and emotional fulfillment when you have attained your goals.

SMART is defined as: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound. If you are able to meet these criteria you can be sure that you can transform your goals into a flaming reality. To follow these steps consider the elaborated discussion below.

1. Be very specific.

Being precise of what you want to achieve only means that you understand and discovered what you really want. Therefore, you will be more inspired to achieve your goals every detail is important to you. The more precise you are in stating your goal the more confident you will become that you will indeed arrive to your end destination.

2. Make a measurable plan.

One way of evaluating your progress is by measuring the number of completed task, deadlines that are met and other tangible points to check if you’re indeed progressing upward or downwards. Use dates, numbers, rankings and other relevant check points.

3. Focus only to what is achievable.

While you are high in driving yourself to reach your goals, do not forget to stay real. Ask yourself if you are capable of doing the task that you will incorporate in you action plan. Also, consider other forces around you when you plan out because they can also affect you in many different aspects of your life.

4. Maintain relevance in your plan

Keep on doing only what is relevant to your plans. The idea is clear, you cannot practice dancing if what you want to achieve in life is to become a singer.

5. Make use of timeline

Time limits are useful as it gives you the drive to really beat the deadlines. Also, it is a great check point to measure your productivity and progress

What is an effective goal?

Forget The Goal, What’s The Aim

Right after choosing your goal, you have to identify the aims under it.

But remember that it’s easier to say than it is to actually do it…

So, in order to avoid not getting it started (and finished), see it first within yourself.

What are the passion, motivations, interests and energy that drive you?

Some people even relate their goals to sustainability and making themselves better than what and who they are as of today.

Once you have set that overall aim, you can now brainstorm the steps and procedures that you will take in order to arrive to your goal. Determine what necessary sub-aims and actions are relevant to the task at hand.

Then write them down.

After that, start putting together the knowledge, network, finances, skills, expertise and other relevant things that you must consider in your actions to be able to attain your aims. Learn about the things that still need improvement and the most attention.

Begin exploring the real existence through it. There will be some things that will hold you back, like insecurities, anxiety and being uncomfortable, but keep moving forward.

Just think that you can do it and you will gain the positive energy, self-esteem and confidence that you need.

Don’t be so serious and get frustrated. Instead, let it play out and never let the problems rule you. Rule them!

Making a simple outline will help you greatly.

But before you start this outline, you should first have a clear goal set in your mind.

Whatever aim you have, good planning includes the following:

- A well-defined aim

- Related stages, elements or steps (comprises your knowledge, resources, actions and others - the features of cause and effect)

- Achievable and relevant timings and proportions (for stages, steps and elements)

Remember that the overall vision or aim doesn’t need to be constrained or limited.

Your aims that should be concerned with anything that is possible for you as an individual.

If any of your aim seem to be too large to realistically imagine, then break it down into simpler chunks which may be more realistic in nature.

Even the most impossible aims and plans can be achievable when they are given more time and broken down into smaller chunks.

A plan to achieve your vision or goal is usually best attained by working toward the back from the aim. From time to time, you must ask yourself “what should take place before this?”

Then, start planning to hit each aim by working backwards in sensible bite-sized bits.

To summarize on how you can attain your goal with setting your aim:

1) Begin with an apparent aim.

2) Understand and define the factors that can help you to achieve your aim.

3) Break these factors into further chunks and recognize if what will permit these to take place.

4) Guarantee that each listed entry is can be tracked back into feasible enabling features that achievable as to its terms of time and size.

5) Keep it in your mind that enabling and causal factors approach in all sizes and shapes. It is also advisable for you to research about these factors concerning your aim.

6) Always remember that success is often based on knowing about what is necessary for it prior to setting out in achieving it.

Below are samples of enabling factors which can affect your aim:

- Qualifications

- Experiences

- Learnings

- Contacts

- Skills

- Reputation

- Outlook and Attitude

- Space and Time

- Support and Encouragement

- Resources

- Style

- Wisdom and Maturity

- Tools

- Enthusiasm and Energy

- Commitments and Decisions

- Persistence and Determination

- Prioritization, redirection and reallocation

- Disasters and Mistakes

- Other Assets and Money

Once you have identified the enabling factor, prioritize and redirect it going towards your aim by taking in consideration the following significant contributory factor/s within your plan. Factors such as time and money which are enablers but often wasted and misdirected.

You should also keep it in mind that in every factor lies a cause (your reason why). If you come to each aim with this way, then it will be more achievable for you, as it will have more stick-ability (in regards to your long term goals)…

I am certain, this approach will help you a lot.

Because, this method is uber-effective in achieving your goals through setting your aim.

How Many Goals Are Too Many Goals?

Now that you have set your aim by setting realistic goals you have many things that you want to accomplish in many areas.

But, now you have a problem becasue you only have a fixed amount of time and energy. So if you have too many goals that you are trying to focus on at once then you won't be able to give the individual goals the attention they need and deserve.

This is when you need to use a rule setting that is called the "quality, not quantity" rule. You need to set an order of importance to everything that you have now planned to accompolish over the next year. Then break that down into chucks, each quater (or every 3 months) and then pick three goals to focus on.

Remember, the success of your work towards a goal rests on focusing on just a few things at a time. If you limit the number of goals you're working on, you'll have the time and energy you need to do things really well!

At the end of the day your success rests on your ability to focus on those three goals. So by limiting the number of goals you're working on at any given time, that will ensure you have the time and energy you need to do to achieve your goals. The last thing you want to do is be one of the many people that create a new problem, by setting a ton of goals but then end up asking themselves, "Why can I never achieve any of the goals I have set?"

About the author

Weston I. Nash

Weston I. Nash was born on the 3rd of July. He is a grandson, son, husband, father and visionary. He has lived around the world, the U.S.A, Asia, and The Middle East. He is the creator of the website You may be asking, what is the significance of his birthdate and the reason for it being the first line of his bio? This is the day the positive energy that makes up his existence was collected and harnessed. And it is the most important day of his life just like the day you were born is the most important day of yours.