060: The Power of Focusing on One Goal at a Time

Listen to the latest episode of Live It Out With The Planning Woman to learn how you can achieve more goals by focusing on one at a time.

It’s the middle of September and I know a lot of us are getting focused on the upcoming months that will be filled with many obligations including holiday celebrations. And right after that, the calendar will turn to 2020 and we will shift our focus to a new year.

Often when we think about the new year we tend to begin to think about our goals for the year. You know, though, we still have three and a half months left in 2019. I believe that even if you haven’t made any progress on the goals you’ve set for yourself this year that it’s not too late to do so.

In episode 15 I shared why it isn’t too late to set goals at this point in the year. What I shared in that episode was that we tend to be more successful in achieving our goals if we set them for 90 days at a time. Instead of setting 10 or 12 goals at the beginning of the year and trying to achieve them all at once, it’s better to set one or two and work on them for 90 days to try to achieve them.

I know there are some goals where this is not possible. Like losing more than 20 pounds. It’s unrealistic to think you can lose 20 pounds in 90 days in a healthy way. For a goal like that, you would have to set mini-goals every 90 days until you achieve your overall goal.

But for the most part, I think managing our goals in 90-day increments is doable.

I’d like to take this a step further to help you be more effective in achieving your goals. And that is to focus on one big goal at a time. I’m stressing big goals here and not smaller goals that could be achieved fairly easily and quickly.

Here is an example of what I’m talking about. For many years I’ve had as an overall goal in my life to become healthier. And the way I tried to flesh that out into action is by watching what I eat and exercising. So every year I have some goal related to losing weight and exercising more. Some years I’m successful, but mostly I have not been successful. 

I’ve come to realize that changing my eating habits and working out are two things I say I want to do but have found very little motivation to actually follow through with. Oh, sure I might do well with one or the other of these things. However, I rarely have had success with both at the same time.

So, I’ve decided for these next 3 ½ months to focus on just one thing. And that is to get my eating under control. That’s not saying I won’t try to exercise. But I’m not going to beat myself up over it if I can’t do it as consistently as I’d like.

So my plan for the next few months is pretty simple. The end goal is eating healthier foods, cooking more at home, and having a good meal plan each week.

In order to achieve the overall goal of getting my eating under control, I’m starting with meal planning this month. In all the tasks I’ve had as a wife, mother, and homemaker, meal planning has been my biggest struggle. However, I know meal planning is key to seeing success with getting my eating under control.

You may be thinking “Jennifer, I have a lot I want to accomplish. How can I do that if I’m just focusing on one goal at a time?”

I have a couple of answers for you. First, while I am focusing on getting my eating under control this fall, I do have a couple of other goals I’d like to achieve as well. I’m working on decluttering my home and helping my mom finally dispose of some of my dad’s things. 

The idea behind focusing on one goal at a time is to put your time and energy toward achieving that one goal. That means when you plan out your time for the week, that goal has top priority. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you spend all of your time working on that one goal. It just means you have devoted a significant amount of time to it. You don’t allow other things to take over and keep you from working on that goal.

Second, you may have goals for different areas of your life. And that’s great and perfectly ok. While I’m focused on the goal of getting my eating under control, it’s definitely a personal goal. I have other goals I’m focused on with my work with The Planning Woman. But even within my business goals, I’m putting a bigger focus on one thing at a time.

Running an online business that’s just starting out means that the owner is pretty much taking care of everything. I can’t afford to hire help right now, so I have to take care of all the work. And those things take a while to learn and implement.

I’ve been working on an online course about Instagram so I can make better use of that social media platform. But I’ve not made as much progress on it as I’d like. So my goal for September is to buckle down and finish up the course so I can implement what I learn and create a good strategy for that social media platform.

I’ve got other courses related to different aspects of my business to finish, but I’ve decided to focus my efforts on the Instagram course for more impact to my business. 

So what does this mean for you when it comes to focusing on one goal at a time? Especially when there are a lot of things you’d like to accomplish by the end of the year.

I would say start with the one goal that you know will make the biggest impact in your life if you were to achieve it by the end of the year. To do this you may have to make a list of what you’d like to achieve. Then you could go through each item on the list to evaluate and see which one would make the biggest impact on your life.

Maybe you’d like to get your health under control but your house is a mess and you can’t get into your kitchen to make meals or you can’t focus because of the clutter. Then maybe your main goal to focus on these next 90 days is to get your house decluttered. I know from personal experience that if there is a mess in my house, I have a hard time doing anything else until it’s cleaned up.

And we don’t always realize the negative impact our clutter can have on all areas of our lives. So I’d say getting your home in order would impact your life more. It will open up the door for you to be able to do other things.

Think through what would make the most impact on your life if you were to focus on it for the next 90 days. One benefit of focusing all your efforts on one goal at a time is that once you achieve that goal, you can start working on another one. 

So let’s say you achieve your first goal in 40 days. Then you can pick another one to work on for the next 90 days. You don’t have to necessarily wait until the first 90 days is up to start on a new goal. I think that’s one of the best benefits of this method. Because you are giving all your attention to one goal, you can usually see results quicker than if you spread your attention over several goals at one time.

Think about it this way. If it takes you an average of 30 days to complete each goal, then you will have achieved 12 goals over the course of the year. Can you even imagine how much different and better your life will be because of the goals you achieve?

I’ve often started the year with 10-12 goals and feel lucky if I complete even one or two of them by the end of the year. I think one reason I haven’t been able to achieve more, and this is for me personally but could apply to you, is that I think that because I have all year to complete my goals I tend to put off working on them until later in the year. Then I run out of time to achieve them. 

So by narrowing my focus to just one goal and giving myself 90 days to complete it gives me more motivation to work on it and see success. 

Episode 60 of Live It Out With The Planning Woman

Another benefit of focusing on one goal at a time is that it relieves the pressure you feel to do all the things. If you’ve got 3-4 goals you’re working on at any one time, your focus is divided. And if you’re anything like me, then your mind is constantly thinking about those goals. You aren’t able to settle down and work on any one goal. You will always be thinking about what you need to do on the other goals.

So what do you think about this concept of focusing on one goal at a time? Do you think this is something that could help you to ultimately achieve more goals?

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