Hello everybody, welcome to episode 237 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. Today's question comes from someone who feels like they've set too many goals for themselves.
I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino reminding you before we begin that if you have a question you would like help with on the show, we welcome you to email it to us at advice AT oldpodcast.com
Now today everyone we’ve got a question from a man who’s trying to do it all! He’s got a lot of goals in life, a lot of values that he’s trying to tend to. Nothing too crazy, but a lot to balance nonetheless. He’s wondering how to do it, how to make enough time for all of these things that are important to him, yet with only so many resources to work with. Let’s do our thing and see if we can help him out a little. Here’s what he has to say…
QUESTION: “I can’t find the time to do my job, expand my knowledge base, spend quality time with my family, cook healthy meals and exercise; while at the same time balancing resources to clear off debt, save for retirement, invest in myself and set up a small business. It is difficult trying to balance these goals with finite resources.“
Too Many Things to Do
The plight of a modern man! Love this question and all these moves you’re trying to make for yourself in the right direction. Thanks for sending this in asker, and for being part of the movement towards wholesome, balanced living. Definitely my style. But, yes, it comes with its drawbacks, doesn’t it?
I mean look at this question. Look at all you’re trying to do. Timewise, it’s not impossible to check all the boxes. There are enough hours in the day to contribute at least a little to all of your goals. But actual time is different from your perception of time; that being what you feel is enough time, enough attention and enough energy spent on each of these things.
And if you’re someone who prides yourself on achieving a lot and doing so actively and with presence, that’s harder to do than just saying you spent an hour on something and being ok with that.
I can only assume this is the type of person you are, because you’re conscious of being attentive to all these areas of life. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have submitted this question. But like many of us who enjoy trying to make the most of our lives, you’ve put a lot on your plate here, and I don’t want you to fall victim to the innate human negativity bias and beat yourself up too much over all these things you promised to do but didn’t get around to.
The Problem with Having Too Many Goals
Having all these goals is admirable, but it means more goals that you’re at risk of not meeting. The answer to this is absolutely not to abandon your goals entirely, but rather to not invest your entire identity in completing them. With that being said, I think that the goal most realistic and beneficial to you is not trying to excel in all of these areas and never feel as though you could’ve done more.
Instead, I’d recommend making it your main goal to be kind to yourself in this pursuit.
Ask yourself: How are you treating yourself while trying to balance all of this? Are you forgiving and understanding, or do you feel like a failure each time you feel as though you come up short in one of these areas? If you’re never patient with the times that you come up short in spite of full days and your best efforts, you never will be.
And as your goals get loftier – like when starting your side business turns into making a profit with your side business turns into making a million dollars with your side business – the demands on yourself will increase, as will the shame for not having delivered quite the way you wanted to. Not ideal.
Maximize Your Time
And look, practically speaking, there are strategies you can deploy to maximize your time. You can list and really get clear of which of these you value you most, what’s most urgent when it comes to your base needs versus what can wait, and schedule your time accordingly.
You can save time by ordering a healthy meal delivery service – we’ve got discounts for HelloFresh, Green Chef and Thrive Market in the network! You can stack habits by reading and expanding your knowledge base while exercising on the elliptical or the treadmill. You can go on weekend hikes with your family or go to the library with your family.
So if you’re looking for ways to gain efficiency, I think there are plenty of moves like that you could pull to integrate several of your values into the same time slot.
And that’d be valuable for you. But what I think is most valuable here and really your best chance at committing to slow and steady progress in the areas of life that are important to you, is to focus on walking the line; imagining you can achieve all of this so that your actions reflect that and you inevitably make improvements, but not being so attached to certain outcomes that you’re unable to be kind to yourself, as well as not being so lenient with yourself that you stray from goals that are truly important.
Too Many Goals: Conclusion
Maybe that sounds too formulaic and like a lot to juggle, but it can be broken down quite simply. At its core, its detaching from the narrative that you need to accomplish all of this to do right by yourself and your loved ones. It’s not emphasizing result, but emphasizing effort and intention, which you have plenty of. It’s remembering that you’re not the sum of your achievements any more than the people you love and respect most are the sums of their achievements.
And that’ll do it for today, folks. Asker, I really hope this all made sense and that you’re able to reframe this journey of yours to one of compassion rather than accomplishment. I do declare that more compassion will lead to more accomplishment over the long term even if it doesn’t feel that way at first.
You seem to have the necessary ingredients, though. I have no doubt you’ll be able to find the proper balance here.
So thanks for tuning in today everyone. Have a wonderful Monday and I’ll talk to you in the next episode when we look at a question about how to stay positive in the job search. See you Wednesday.