I have been doing different things. At any given moment of time, I have tens of goals to achieve.
I am always working in 10 different areas. Currently, I am working on to improve my business, improve my health, improve my relationships with others, and all this while I am learning 5 different things.
I am learning email marketing. I am trying to learn and follow stoicism. I am learning how to create Chrome extensions. I am learning the psychology behind selling and I am also planning to start my Piano lessons.
If we become goal-oriented in everything we do, It becomes very hard to track all the goals. If you want to make progress, follow either of the two ways.
- Have a laser-like focus on a single goal.
- Become a complex system of integrated habits.
I have tried the both ways and each of them have pros and cons.
If you want to make fast progress on something, 1st approach works best.
Laser-like focus on a single goal
This approach works best if you have a single primary goal. Like if you are appearing for some exam in 3 months from now. Here you want to make fast progress on your studies. You want to cover up your complete syllabus and be the best position to clear the exam.
You need laser-like focus here. If you have 5 different adjacent goals, you are more likely to fail at most of them.
Like if you want to clear exam and also you want 6 pack abs. You also want to become the product manager at your company. You also want to learn machine learning while travelling across the country. Good luck with that.
Most of these goals are complex goals and it takes multi-step process to achieve them. If you have more than 1 complex goals, you are likely to fail.
Become a complex system of integrated habits
This is the slow approach to achieving your goals. This works well if there is no time-limit for you to achieve your goals. Like if you want 6 pack abs and also want to read 50 books this year. You want to learn machine learning and start a career in machine learning.
What you need to do is break down your goals into habits that can be followed every day.
Getting a 6 pack abs becomes working out daily, eating healthy.
Read 50 books could become read 20 pages every day before sleeping.
Machine learning career goal becomes study for machine learning 2 hours/day before breakfast.
Now all of these goals have become simple habits which if followed would result in achieving your goal.
Start with incorporating one habit for 1 week and once you are successful with that. Add another habit on top of your previous habit. This works well if you want to achieve your goals but there is no time-constraint for it.
Often when we try something new with our lives, we become too optimistic. We cherry-pick the things we want while avoiding the things we don't.
The idea is simple: If you want to make fast progress on your goals, you are not allowed to have more than 1 complex goal. And if you want to achieve tens of your goals, then you can't make fast progress on all of them.
Figure out first what you want and what are you willing to sacrifice. Then choose the approach which might work for you.