How to Prioritize Goals

Sometimes, it is necessary to step back in life and have a Joey Russo “Whoa!” moment. (That’s a Blossom sitcom reference for all the youngens reading this. Boy, don’t I feel old now? But not that old since I watch a lot of TV Land and networks that show only reruns.) In fact, there may be many periods/instances in life that a person may need (or just want) to take that step back for reevaluation. Because, face it, life isn’t always simple or straightforward. People are complicated. Being rigid in thinking can be restrictive and/or counterproductive.

I usually begin a post with a background of what sparked the post. Today, the reason is simple: disappointment. Disappointment a nasty phenomenon that uninvitedly inserts itself into a person’s life. So, for months, I was hoping (maybe even anticipating) on a specific event’s occurrence. When it didn’t happen, I drug me down in spirit. Part of me was saddened while the other was angry and frustrated. I’d wasted my time working toward a goal that did not pan out—time that could have been spent invested in projects that would have benefited me and been successful. This wasn’t the first time I’d found myself disappointed (and I’m sure it won’t be the last), but by golly, there’s no rule that says I can’t attempt to minimize that time. Being prepared and knowledgeable in any situation leads to the most success. Therefore, I needed to take a moment to evaluate what when wrong and why.

Let’s start today’s post by identifying those times when a step back is required.

  1. Plans are not going smoothly or as thought. This may mean one needs to revise or restructure the current plan. Maybe when the plan was first designed, it was not well thought out. This is why having a Plan B is always useful.
  2. One is feeling unsatisfied or unfulfilled with the current progress of the situation. A designed plan may be working accordingly but may not be yielding the craved results. For example, a person wants to be promoted at work and decides to accept extra duties to advance. The person may be receiving recognition by his/her supervisor for doing a good job but the person realizes he/she does not like the work. This may cause that person not to want the promotion after all.
  3. One feels undervalued or not appreciated. This is related to the previous point but in reverse. Using the same example, say the person who wants to promote does the extra work to be promoted, but the boss does not recognize the extra effort. Or maybe the boss does recognize the increased effort but does not care. Perhaps the boss feels that person should be doing extra without any compensation or acknowledgment.
  4. New factors/events emerge in the situation that are significant and/or changes options and outcomes. This is self-explanatory. Variables that were not present in the beginning later develop and create obstacles. Staying with the promotion example, suppose there’s a company takeover and the new boss has different expectations of his/her employees or job descriptions are changed.
  5. Something does not feel right. In other words, one’s sixth sense kicks into hyper overdrive and warns that a change is necessary. Sometimes, a person just needs to go with his/her gut feeling.
  6. A decision initially was made in haste but as time has elapsed reconsideration is necessary. Maybe when the plan was formed, the person did not have much time to come up with a solution. Therefore, the plan may not have been the best solution.
  7. Laws, rules, guidelines need to be considered. The person creating the plan may not have initially considered these things or maybe those things changed. Either way, it is important to contemplate these issues when deciding what to do.
  8. Clashes or differences of opinion of someone else involved. One may form a plan, and it may be a good plan, but to continue the plan creates more problems. Say a boss lists the job duties of a position as XYZ, and the employee lists them as ABC. Even if the employee is correct in his/her assessment, it is the opinion of the boss that matters most. Therefore, the employee may need to alter his/her plans to include XYZ in order to be considered for the promotion.
  9. A compromise is necessary for the good of the whole. There is some truth in the proverb of catching more bees with honey than vinegar. A person may incapable of achieving the desired goal without the assistance of others. And others may not be willing to assist with the person’s current plan because that plan does not benefit or include them.
  10. The personal desired outcome is a conflict with what needs to happen. Likewise, sometimes a plan is so personalized that it ignores what is good for everyone. For example, a person accepts a promotion that includes more money. However, the pay for the position is lowered because the person promoted does not have the qualifications for that position. While the company and the promoted person may benefit, the customers may not receive quality service. Other employees more qualified may be passed over and forced to accept lower-salaried positions. If this becomes a pattern, then less money is paid towards social securities, taxes, and retirement. Lower salaries mean less money spent in the local economy. In the long haul, this may create devastating effects.

So, now that the reasons why one may want to reconsider goals, one needs to ponder how to organize or prioritize them. Here are some points to consider.

  1. This is the most obvious but also the most deceitful. Sometimes what a person thinks will cause them to be happy is not the thing at all. An associate confessed that she was unhappy in her marriage. She sought and was granted a divorce. She later regretted it, as in time, she realized it was not her husband that caused her to be unhappy. By the time she realized it, her ex-husband, who had been hurt by her previous behavior, had moved on and was not interested in attempting to rekindle the relationship. He stated that the trust had been damaged irreparably.
  2. One needs to account for how much time it will take to achieve the desired goal and how much time one has. For example, if a woman wants to be a beauty pageant queen, she will need to enter the pageant before she ages out if there is a maximum age. She would need to plan accordingly.
  3. Time Part Deux. Not only does one need to consider how much time one has to do a task, one must consider how much time it takes to perform the task itself. One may choose to start on smaller goals first to get them out the way. Others may want to begin working on the goals that require the most time first to ensure he/she has enough time to finish.
  4. Three Times the Charm. Setting goals is a wonderful first step but means nothing if one does nothing to fulfill those goals. Wishing and hoping does little without action. It is important to designate time to work on completing the goals. If a goal is important to a person, the person should be motivated to achieve it.
  5. Investigate what needs to be done to accomplish the goal and conduct the prep work. The more important the goal the more effort that will be spent on it. This means more time spent prepping. It also means this prep work will begin before that of other goals.
  6. One should ask himself/herself if the goal truly is important to him/her. Way back yonder in the day, I attended a high school that expected all students to attend college post-graduation as if there were no other options. For the most part, students bought into this ideology, and approximately 98% did attend college. A close friend enrolled in a JUCO but dropped out freshman year. She stated that she did not like “doing homework.” Since I assumed homework would be a part of the college experience, I was neither shocked or distressed by it. The point being, college probably shouldn’t have been on her list of goals, and she could have saved herself time and frustration.
  7. If the person who sets the goal does not find the goal exciting, chances are this is not a goal that should be high on the priority list.
  8. Some goals are made because a person has a need. For example, a person who is homeless may have finding shelter high on his/her list. He/she likely will have a short-term goal of having a place to sleep for the night and a long-term goal of buying a house. Shelter being a basic need will take priority over other goals.
  9. There are some people who will argue that anything is possible. However, that may not be true. Say a person wants to win a million dollars in the lottery. He/she buys a ticket every day. This does not mean the person will win a million dollars. This is because this goal is one that is based upon luck than skill. Unless a person is clairvoyant or has knowledge as to how to rig the computer system, the person has no control over the outcome. That’s not to say one can’t or won’t win the lottery but the odds aren’t in one’s favor.
  10. Some goals are set because they are the right thing to do.

Ice Gladiators

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.


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