Goal Stacking: Why You Should Only Start One Goal At A Time

At the beginning of the year, we tend to come up with a laundry list of new goals and that’s part of the problem. We are trying to do too many new things at one time. In our effort to make sweeping changes in our lives, no change gets made at all.

If I challenged you to learn 5 languages at the same time you would be overwhelmed. But if I said master Spanish first, and then Mandarin, and then French, and then Portuguese, and then Swahili, you would have a greater chance of success. When you study how people master multiple languages or instruments, they didn’t learn them all at the same time. They learned them one-by-one.

When you focus on one thing at a time and master it, three things happen:

1. You master the subject matter or skill

2. You master the process of mastery

3. You master yourself

While some languages have similar words and structures, that’s not where the advantage is in learning a second language. The real edge is in the 2nd and 3rd forms of mastery. Because you mastered the 1st language, you know what mastery requires and can apply that to the 2nd language which will accelerate how fast you learn it. And finally, because you’ve mastered yourself, you now know your learning style and what works best for you and can tailor your development accordingly.

This is why I believe in goal stacking. By goal stacking, I don’t mean stacking on as many goals as you possibly can in the New Year. I actually mean the opposite. By goal stacking, I’m suggesting that you add on one goal at a time.  I’m not saying that you should only “do” one goal at a time. I’m suggesting that you should only “start” one goal at a time.

On January 1st, you may write down all of your goals for the year, but on January 2nd, I want you to only choose one to focus on for the month. Throughout January, you will have to say “No” to your old ways of being to create space for the new goal you want to do and you’ll have a month to successfully integrate the new goal into your life before stacking on another one in February.

By the end of January, the new rhythm of your life will feel familiar. Your mental capacity to take on a new goal will increase throughout the month because you won’t have to think about going to the gym or writing daily—they will have become habit. Goal stacking gives you ample time to redesign your life piece-by-piece instead of trying to destroy and rebuild it in day.

For instance, in January, I may only focus on hosting a Guaranteed Goals group which I want to happen monthly throughout the year.

If I succeed at goal #1 in January, in February I will add on my financial goal.

If I don’t succeed at goal #1 in January, I will try again in February and push back all of my other goals one month because it’s likely that I’m not going to succeed at an additional goal if I didn’t succeed at my January goal.

And the process continues throughout the year.

Goal stacking also helps in that some goals are seasonal and some goals don’t take all year. For instance, growing a garden can only happen during certain months of the year or writing a book is expected to only take 6 months.

Through goal stacking, I’m certain that you will increase the probability of your success and accelerate your success even though it may feel slower at first.

Wishing you more happy hours,


P.S. This post is an excerpt from chapter 2 of Guaranteed Goals: How To Guarantee You Succeed At Any Goal You Set In Advance