Stop trying to make layered cakes when you’ve never baked a simple one. Don’t try to juggle four balls until after you can play catch with two. If you’ve never run in your life, don’t choose to strap on your sneakers for the first time and run a 5K.
Goal setting can be a dangerous activity if you are not careful. Make no mistake, I’m not advising against it, but being overzealous can backfire and do damage to your future and deflate your self esteem. There are some of us out there that are very disciplined and have been systematically setting and achieving goals for years, and if you’ve got your system down pat, then this probably isn’t for you. But for those of us who still aren’t satisfied with our systems, strategies, and accomplishments, goal setting is both challenging and necessary. It must, however, be done in wisdom.
One of the worst things you can do to yourself is write down all the wonderful amazing ideas that you have in your head, making a list of each cause that touches your heart or each habit you would like to develop, and then fail to prioritize which ones come first and which ones can wait. I understand the appeal of attempting to multi task and tackle everything at once, but just because you’ve had an epiphany about changing every area of your life, that does not mean it’s possible to make it happen all at once.
If you’re going to be successful in reaching the goals you set, you’re going to have to accept a few basic guidelines. I’ll give three, but the list is not exhaustive by any means.
1. If you are trying to change habits, be specific and realistic. Choose one habit at a time to work on, and master that before moving to another.
2. If you are trying to set long term goals, make sure you set short term goals that correspond to your overarching journey.
3. If you are trying to conquer the world, recognize that you are going to have to be serious about prioritizing your time, energy, and resources to align with what you are trying to accomplish.
Finally, for all my people with “goal fever”, meaning all of us who think we’re in “extreme makeover: the my life edition”, just stop! Inhale, take a breath, ask for some advice, and ask yourself these questions to figure out where you should start.
1. Which of my life goals do I believe are most important to my destiny and my purpose?
2. Which of my life goals is most appropriate for me to pursue RIGHT NOW, based on my circumstances?
3. Am I prepared to commit the necessary FADD in order to accomplish this goal?
Answering these questions can help you calm the “goal fever” that infects so many of us and keeps us from ever fulfilling our God-given potential.