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Prioritising Goals

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 9 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Setting Goals Prioritising Goals Goal

Many people would achieve far more in life if they didn’t procrastinate so much. How often have you heard others or even yourself say any of the following:

“I’ll give them a call tomorrow” or “I’d love to do that but I don’t think I’ve got the nerve.”, or “I’ll do it next week.”

In setting yourself attainable goals, however, you are giving some kind of commitment to achieving them. Some goals will be long-term, some you’ll be able to achieve in a relatively short space of time. Some will be easier to achieve than others. The important thing is to make a list of your goals and then work towards them step by step.

Organisation

There is no set format for prioritising your life’s goals. In a work situation, however, this might differ where you might be required to work through a list of tasks in a particular order because of deadline pressures or because a set routine has to be followed but if you’re in the process of setting yourself some ‘life’ goals, these rules need not apply.

Usually, the main reasons for setting goals is to decide what you want to be, what you want to do, what you want to have and, perhaps, what you want to give and they will usually, but not exclusively, be related to categories such as your personal life including friendships and relationships, your professional life including work, education and professional ambitions, your spiritual life, your health including diet and fitness, your family life and your financial affairs. This may not be an exhaustive list. There may be other categories in which you feel you need to set some goals too.

Be Realistic and be Flexible

Ensure that the goals you set are realistic ones. There is no sense in you trying to reach for something that is completely unattainable as your failure to meet that goal will have a negative impact upon you and may even weaken your resolve to attain all your other achievable goals.

Once you have drawn up a list, you’ll probably notice that some goals will take longer to achieve than others so you need to divide the list into two columns, one of which will be short-term goals and the other long-term.

Then, you should look at each goal individually and break each one down into stages. Each stage or step will be an outline of what you need to do get from one stage to the next and give yourself a time frame in which you hope to achieve each step by. Don’t try to do too much too quickly. Whilst having a target date can motivate you, an unrealistic one can destroy your motivation.

It’s also important to not be too rigid about placing the amount of importance on each goal and placing more emphasis on one over another. If you do that, you will tend to find you devote all of your efforts to one particular goal at the expense of all the others, then, if that one goal doesn’t work out, you can be left with nothing. When you think about things logically, all of your goals will be important otherwise you would not have written them down. It’s far better to think of your goals from a ‘timing’ perspective as opposed to a ‘prioritising’ mentality.

For example, one of your goals may be to spend more time with your family in the evenings after work whilst another might be to save enough money to take them all on holiday in a few weeks’ time. Your boss may then call and ask you to work a number of extra evenings. Whilst you know this will prevent you from achieving your first goal of family quality time, you also appreciate that the extra money will be vital to pay for the holiday in time so it’s always important to keep reminding yourself that it’s OK to adjust the emphasis on your goals occasionally if your reasons for doing so serve a more useful purpose.

Therefore, always hold on to the thought that it’s not important to prioritise one goal over another but to prioritise what you’re going to focus on right now.

This approach also makes goal attainment more enjoyable as you can flit between your goals and devote time to them all individually whenever it’s convenient for you to do so. So, you don’t need to be rigid in telling yourself that, for example, “Monday’s the Gym, Tuesday’s taking the kids to the cinema, Wednesday’s cooking the evening meal for the wife etc etc.”

Arranging and Dealing With Importance

Staying flexible means fitting goals in at times that work for you and then shifting the emphasis to others at different times.As you work your way across your various goals, remember to keep a log as to what you’ve done to work towards achieving them. Put this down in writing too alongside the dates by which you reach a particular milestone. You may find you’re ahead of schedule with one goal which will then leave you with more time to devote to another.

The important thing is to have fun with goal setting. Yes, they can be very useful in terms of using them as a motivational tool but, if you live your life by them or make them too unrealistic, they can be daunting and can cause you even more stress so yes, making goals is good but keep them attainable and don’t be too hard on yourself if you fail to achieve every one.

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