Fitness goals have this property. Going to the gym three days a week requires me to set aside an hour or so three days a week for lifting. If I set a rowing distance goal or a running distance goal, that's just me saying that I will spend so much time on the rowing machine or on the roads running. Even performance goals like finishing a marathon or setting a new 10K PR require a prescribed amount of time for training. By making the goal I accept the training plan, or, to put it another way, I decide to set aside a particular period of time for training.
The more of these time volume goals that I stack on myself, the more I have to negotiate goal conflict. I'm thinking of setting a sleep goal this year. Going to bed at a particular time each night means that I may have to cut my reading time short. That puts my reading goal at odds with my sleeping goal. I want to get more sleep so I feel more energetic when I run in the morning. The sleep goal is not in conflict with a running goal (run a marathon will be a goal, I kind of like setting a new 10K PR, that might make it in too).
Some goals are clearly free from any kind of conflict. Avoiding goals rarely face goal conflict. Buying no books stands by itself. It takes no time and does not limit my reading choices considering that I own 175 books that I've yet to read. Losing weight (or whatever way I choice to state that goal) is kind of in a hybrid position. Working out contributes to weight loss, but healthy eating will drive more of my weight lose than exercise.
Volume goals are definitely the challenge. More rowing would eat into my reading time, but it would help with losing weight and could improve my running. A goal priority could eliminate this conflict. If I decide that getting in my reading is more important than rowing, the reading goal would take priority. Fitness over reading, and the treadmill comes before the reading. Putting the sleep goal first would make everything secondary after 10:30 or whatever time I set for my bedtime. I gave myself a bed time a year or so ago and it actually worked pretty well.
There is no doubt that reading has been my top goal this year. Finishing 52 books this year has become a near obsession. But even that goal has become secondary to completing the Concept 2 Holiday Challenge. I used several chunks of potential reading time to get in rowing machine meters today. I may miss that goal, I need to row 11,000 m Christmas Eve Eve and Christmas Eve, but I'm keeping the possibility alive by getting in over 9000 m today.
The volume goals are all about time, but there is a certain amount of energy management involved in these as well. I was working out in the evenings when I first started writing this blog. I would drag myself downstairs at 10 or 10:30 to get in the garage and exercise. That doesn't work for me anymore. Getting up at 5 to run two days a week requires an entirely different energy management strategy. If I stay up too late the night before a run, that messes me up for days. I'll be extra tired that night. It's hard to read if you're falling asleep.
Managing energy is really the key to meeting any goal. With that in mind, sleep will be a big goal for me this year. This is a key strategic decision as the shape of my other goals is profoundly affected by this one decision. I was already going to go conservative on the reading goal, 25 books. That's half of what I've read this year. More rest is also good for testosterone maintenance and will reinforce my physical training efforts by enhancing recovery. Sleep is good for testosterone health as well. So sleep will be my primary volume goal. I've tried this before and it didn't work so well. Maybe this year will be different.