Were you also thrilled to set goals for the new year? Convinced that this will be my year, with everything turning out the way I would love it? Well, it is February now, and you might not be quite as optimistic any longer that you will reach your goals.

Reach your goals with focus

Which goals had you set for yourself? If you had written them down, have a look at your list. Chances are that you will find an agglomeration of diverse wishes: personal dreams and professional objectives, little tasks and big challenges, old familiars and new ideas. Honestly: You know nobody can reach so much at a time. And, well, you did not last year/last month/last week, did you? So, should you just toss your list?

Of course not.

Choose one goal.

You should rather have a close look at your list of goals. And take a decision. What matters most to you now? Which change would help you most in your current situation? What has been bothering you for a long time? Choose a goal from your list.

Only one. The other goals will be waiting for you patiently.

Why only one goal?

1. Because people cannot multi-task. When we believe that we are working on several tasks at once, we are actually switching back and forth between them. Each switch of attention reduces your ability to concentrate.

2. Because having just one goal helps against procrastination. If you have a second goal, that other goals will seem so much easier as soon as you are hitting challenges with your first goal. So you will end up switching back and forth, lose focus and end up frustrated. It will slow your progress and you will not experience the joy that stems from solving difficulties.

3. Because focusing on one goal you will reach your goals faster, one at a time. Focus on one challenge will help you tackle it faster. Once you have reached your goal, you can choose the next one.

Block time for working towards your goal.

Most of the goals on your list are probably projects in the Getting Things Done® sense. That means: You will have to do a number of tasks before the world will look the way that matches your outcome vision. So, it will take a while. Next week, block fixed timeslots for the activities for the goal you have chosen. These times are only for work on your goal. We often do not finish projects because they do not feel urgent. These are projects that typically end up on goals lists. Projects that are important, but not really urgent. Here it helps to deliberately take time for reaching these goals through what is called time-blocking.

Write down your goal.

You can reinforce the focus on your intention by writing down your goal. Penning it on paper will help you clarify what you want to accomplish. Plus, you will always have your goal in front of you. If you work with written weekly schedules, you note your goal on your plan. If you like a creative touch, you might want to draw a picture or choose one that symbolizes your goal. A post-it note on your screen works wonders as well!

More on the topic

If you would like to know more about focusing on just one goal, you might want to have a look at The ONE Thing. The take-away message of Gary Keller’s book is to spend your morning only on the one task that will make everything else easier or unnecessary.

A great exercise that I got to know through Ryder Carroll’s book The Bullet Journal Method, is 5-4-3-2-1. Here, you sort your objectives by how long it will take you to reach them (5 years, 4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days, 1 hour). You will then choose one goal from each group. That is useful because it is unlikely that you will focus only on building your house for two years straight. You might want to deal with other goals at times as well.

Photography: Christiane Kasack