You may be like me – you have about 100 things you want to do or learn, and you want to do them all.
How do you pick your goals?
That’s what this article is about how to know and decide on which goals to pursue.
Let’s get started.
Note: If you are the opposite – you know you need to set goals but are not sure about what goals to do, check out our article 45+ Questions You Need to Ask Yourself to Discover, Write, and Accomplish Your Goals.
Table of Contents
1. What are you most passionate about?
The first question to ask yourself is: what are you most passionate about?
What inspires or would inspire you to get up in the morning? What do you get excited about?
If you are passionate about your goal, you are more likely to push through the tough times and get it done.
If you aren’t passionate about it, if it’s someone else’s goal or you are doing it because you have to, or “just because” or you just think it’s a good idea, you aren’t as likely to finish it.
What goals do you have the most passion for? Remember those. It may not be the top deciding factor, but it’s important.
2. What one goal would have the greatest impact on your life?
This is probably one of the best questions you can ask for deciding what goal to pursue: what one goal, what one change, would have the greatest impact on your life?
Take time to think about it. Which goal, above all the others, if and when you made it happen, what has the greatest impact on your life, now and in the future?
Which goal would have the biggest impact on accomplishing your other goals?
At one time, for me, learning to read faster (speed reading) was it. I had a lot of other things I wanted to accomplish, books to read, and ideas for my business, but what held me up the most was how fast I read.
Once I learned to read faster, it affected so many other areas of my life positively.
I’m sure you have many great ideas that you want to do – take the time to look to see which one may have the greatest impact.
For example, going back to school may have the biggest impact. It may be hard for a while, but getting that education could change so much or your life.
Or maybe it’s exercise and eating healthy. If you start doing that, you look better, feel better, have more energy, and so on. That energy then can pour into more goals and ideas.
What if it’s not something you’re the most passionate about?
Let’s say that you are more passionate about other goals, but you feel this one goal would have the biggest impact, maybe even on the other goals you want to do.
Which should you choose?
I would suggest going for the one with the greatest impact over passion. When you are pursuing it, find reasons to be passionate about it – look at why you are doing it, how it’s going to help you, and how it’s going to help you pursue what you are passionate about better.
Finding your why in the tasks you are less passionate about, seeing the picture and how it fits, can help you focus and get those goals done.
3. What one thing would have the greatest impact on those around you?
If you are having trouble deciding between which tasks have the most impact for you, think more about how it affects those around you as well, if you haven’t already.
Which goal, if you did it, would have the biggest impact on your relationships? On your family? At work? With your friends?
How would pursuing this goal not only impact you, but your community and those around you?
4. What matches your current season of life?
Throughout our life, we have different seasons: as kids in elementary school, high school, possibly college or work, single, dating, married without kids, married with kids, single or married with little kids, single or married with big kids, kids leaving the house, starting a new job(s), being at a job for years, retirement, and so on.
As you look at your goals, what goals match your current season of life? If you have three kids under five years old, the goals you pursue will likely be different than when they are heading off to college.
The goals you pursue, when you are entering the workforce, are different than if you are about to retire.
Take time to look at your season of life and see what matches now and what you may need to put off for later.
5. What matches your values and priorities
This partially goes with the one above but adds to it.
What are your priorities in life right now? What goals match those?
What are your values? What’s most important to you at this time? What goals match those?
Looking at your priorities in life right now and your values can help you filter which goals to put off, which to drop, and which ones to consider doing now.
6. Do you need challenging goals or easier goals?
Generally, easy goals don’t motivate. Challenging goals do.
A challenge can motivate you to push hard and push you beyond everything you thought possible.
If you have decent to high self-confidence, looking at goals that are challenging, at least a little, could be a good choice.
On the flip side, if you have a lot of self-doubt and a lack of belief in your ability to accomplish goals, you may not want really challenging goals to start off with. You likely would want some easier goals to do so that you can get victories under your belt before doing something more challenging.
Or you may set your goal into easy victory steps so that you can build that victory.
7. Go through and prioritize your goals
Now that we looked at different questions to ask and possible criteria to use when picking, it’s time to prioritize.
Write them out
I recommend writing out all of your goals on one (or more) pages of paper or typing them up on the computer. Then go through them one by one and ask the questions above.
What would have the most impact? What would challenge you or give you easy victories to build confidence? What matches your priorities the most? What fits your season of life? What are you passionate about?
You could mark them as 1,2,3 etc. in the different areas or as a whole. You may even want to write with each one the impact it would have or other notes.
Sometimes just reading through and asking that question can cause one or a few goals to pop out. You may already “know”, but doing this can help you say, “ok, this is really the one I need to do.”
Another exercise you can do is go through them one by one and compare the goals. This is easier if done on a computer.
Compare two of them, which of those two would have the most impact, etc. Put that one above the other one. Then go through each one that way. Then go through all the other goals, until you have them ordered by your chosen criteria of what’s most important, etc.
You also could go through them and rate each one with the different questions. What is good for my season of life right now? Mark those. How passionate am I about that goal? Mark that down (say, 1-10).
What would have the most impact and to what level? You could do that with a 1—10 or another scale.
Whichever way you choose, go through your goals using the questions and criteria.
8. Now pick the goal
Don’t worry about being wrong. Often, there isn’t a right or wrong. It’s likely that most of the goals will have a positive impact on your life.
Don’t fret over whether you will pick the best one or not. Just do your best, pick, and then go for it without second-guessing yourself.
Only pick one (or a couple)
And only pick one, two to three at the most.
Why? Because when you pick one or a couple of goals to pursue, you are able to take more time to focus and get them done.
When you pick and try to pursue a bunch of goals at one time, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, and burned out, and you won’t put that much time into any particular goal.
9. Your next step
Now that you’ve decided on which goal to chase, now it’s time to make it happen. Check out the articles below to help you along your way.
How to Achieve Your Goals (7 Simple Steps to Make Them Happen)
The Definite Guide to Goal Setting: How to Set, Write, and Accomplish Your Awesome Goals
The Definitive Guide to Business Goals (Hot to Set & Implement Them In Your Organization)
Also, let us know below which goal you are choosing to pursue so we can encourage you along the way.