We are turning our minds will turn to setting goals for 2019 and making New Year’s resolutions. We often set several goals for the major areas of our lives, such as finance, career, family and health. For most of my life, I’ve had five to seven goals. Sometimes, my goals appeared simple but often I struggled to get where I wanted to go.
In the introduction to Think & Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill says: “One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. Every person is guilty of this mistake at one time or another.”
I find the cause is often to do with willpower. This is because willpower is limited. There is a certain amount we have access to daily and trying to achieve too much means we don’t have enough willpower in our tank to keep going on all fronts. Psychologists call this “ego depletion”. It can be made even worse when we have conflicting goals, e.g. wanting to spend more time with our family but also wanting to become a classical violinist. Both take lots of time.
The solution is not to have few goals but to have one big one. Focusing on one big goal and developing the discipline to achieve it affects how we operate in other areas of our lives. So, ensuring we’re clear on what our one big goal is, avoiding conflicting goals and creating the habits required to achieve our goal improve our chances of success in everything.
To identify your one big goal, go through your list of goals and systematically question how important each one truly is. Cross them off the list until you end up with one goal. This is your primary goal and that’s the one you should focus on for the next 12 months. Of course, there will be other goals subservient to it, but you have created an environment where you can achieve them.