I recall being a rather uptight teen. There were lists for everything and I always had multiple goals scribbled between the lines of my college ruled notebooks- 5 year goals, 1 year goals, tomorrow goals, right now goals. These various goals were all of supreme importance in my mind. Letting one of these goals slip was like pulling the trigger on my glossy future. Years passed and focusing on multifaceted lists of goals and strategies began to wear on me. I began to feel less human than I did like a robotic claw in a factory assembling a product on a conveyor belt.
The personal growth realm is known for celebrating intricate goal lists just like the ones I was so consumed with growing up. Of course you should have a 5 year plan, a handful of New Year's resolutions and a list of day to day goals to make sure every decision you make throughout the day will keep you on track. Right?! I call BS. Contrary to common belief within the personal growth world, I believe that there is indeed such a thing as having too many goals.
For one, we are human beings, not human doings.
It is easy to forget that our purpose as human beings goes beyond what we do each day. Much of the fuss over this existence thing boils down to the simple moments- watching the sunrise, sitting by a fireplace listening to the wood pop against the flames, coming home from a long day at work to be greeted by a puppy who is exuberated by your presence. These moments pull us from the hectic demands of the day and into the underrated joy of simply being. An over-endowed list of goals takes away from your ability to take part in these simple pleasures of life, because the pursuit of these goals pushes you into a state of constant doing. There is a time to hustle, don't get me wrong, but a well-balanced life also requires you to make room to go with the flow.
Having too many goals hinders your intuition.
Intuition always has your best interest in mind. It's that inner voice that speaks to you in random impulses and effortlessly leads you to the right people, places and things. Intuition is a powerful tool that all of us can access if we allow ourselves to be receptive to it. Being receptive to intuition requires some introspection and flexibility on your part. You must be tuned into yourself enough to distinguish the voice of your intuition from your own self-doubt and the opinions of others. This requires you to carve out blocks of time where you demand nothing of yourself. Intuitive hits come to you when you have a clear mind, whether you're in the shower, on a long drive, meditating or working out. A big part of why I'm opposed to long laundry lists of goals is because it clutters your mind and your schedule. This inhibits your ability to receive the intuitive hits that come to you during moments of introspection.
It isn't effective.
Last but not least, having a large amount of goals simply isn't as effective as honing in on a select handful of goals. When you are focusing on many goals, your energy is scattered. This means that you are forced to spread your attention thinly across many areas, often failing to delve deep into any given category. While you may cover a large amount of territory, the results that you receive are often negligible because notable improvement requires a significant amount of time and attention- time and attention you cannot give when you are hellbent on doing it all. On the other hand, going all in on a select handful of goals - no more than 3- allows you to invest more time and energy into these areas and as a result you set yourself up to receive greater returns.
If you're like me, setting goals and conquering them is like scratching an itch- the satisfaction you get from this process will never cease to be. Be still, beating heart! You can still set your goals. Just aim to be more selective about the goals you set for yourself and to approach the process with a less is more attitude. This way you remain tuned into your intuition, your efforts are more likely to yield greater outcomes and you will still have time to enjoy the little things- like taking off your bra after a long day at work.