Whenever I teach goal setting I always tell the participants that no matter what your goal is you have to put a date on it. I call this step in the process, throwing a dart out there. I call it that because we don’t always know exactly how much time will be required for us to see the goal through to fruition. However, the reason the date is so important is that without having it you have no timeline. Therefore, you have no understanding or comprehension of the fact that where you are today and who you are today, will be very different from where you are and who you are when you achieve your goal.
The second component is that you will have no way to measure your progress without knowing when you expect to achieve the goal. If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it! Furthermore, you will have no way of knowing whether or not you are on track towards the achievement of your goal. One of the things to remember is that to get what you’ve never had you must DO what you’ve never done. Goal achievement is all about action.
By setting a date you are able to work backwards. Think to yourself, “what is the last thing that will need to happen before I can say I’ve reached my goal?” From there continue to plot the reverse course of action all the way back to where you are today. This enables you to embrace all the action steps that you will need to take in order to see your goal through to fruition.
For example, let’s say you wanted to lose 30 lbs of weight within the next 12 months. Right away we know (simple math: 12/30 = 2.5) you will have to lose 2.5 lbs per month in order to achieve that goal by the end of the 12 month period. The next step is to plan what ACTION steps you are willing to take in order to lose 2.5 lbs per month. Lastly, deploy the plan. Now, at the end of the first month you will know whether or not you are on target to reach the goal. If you’ve only lost 1 lbs by then end of the first month you will immediately know you need to tweak the ACTION steps in order to get on course.
By throwing a dart out there (setting a date) you are able to plan the ACTION steps you need to take. Furthermore, you can begin to MEASURE almost immediately whether the ACTION steps are moving you in the direction of your goal and whether or not you are on target. This way you can tweak your plan right away if you are not on track. This date is not set in stone and it is not there to make you feel bad if you require more time to see your goal through to fruition. It is there to help you get STARTED on the road of ACTION steps so that you will see the results you are looking for and achieve your goals!