Goal Setting Principles | Set Clear DeadlinesGoal Setting Principles | Set Clear Deadlines

There are many goal setting principles we should take note of when setting a new goal. Is it clear? Is it specific? Measurable? Attainable? Is it big enough to inspire you without being so big that it discourages you? Goal setting is simple, but it’s not easy. If it was, there would be a lot more people out there achieving the life they desire!

One of my favorite goal setting principles is setting clear deadlines. Setting goals is fun… achieving them is even better! A clear deadline gives you a target to shoot for. Without a clear target, you are likely to wander aimlessly from day to day without any clear path to your goal.

Having a plan of action is important, but a deadline is what makes that plan turn into magic! Let’s look at this example:A goal tells you where you want to go. A plan of action tells you how you are going to get there. A deadline tells you how much needs to be accomplished each day to make that goal a reality.Let’s imagine for a moment you are taking a road trip across the United States:

You are currently in San Diego, California and you want to get to Orlando, Florida. That is your goal. 

You look up directions online and see that your trip will consist of 2,432 miles, about 34 hours, by way of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and finally Florida. That is your plan of action. 

Now it’s time to set a deadline. You could get there in as little as 34 hours if you and a friend agreed to split the drive time and take turns sleeping. If you wanted to stop every night you could probably make it in about 3 days. If you wanted to stop and see all the sights along the way, you could easily take anywhere form a week to a couple of months

You see, without a deadline your goal is still not CLEAR!

For the purpose of this example let’s say you decide you need to make the trip in 5 days. By setting the deadline you realize you need to travel an average of 486 miles, or almost 7 hours, per day in order to reach your destination on time!So as you can see, setting a clear deadline is one of the most important goal setting principles out there. It gives you something on which to gage your plan of action. It gives you something on which to measure your progress each and every day!  So what is a good deadline for your goals?

Long term goals can span over a number of years, but I think it is always a good idea to break your long-term goals down into short-term goals to make it easier to measure your progress. A good length for short-term goals is 90-days.

If you reach the end of your deadline and have not achieved your goal, don’t worry! Take the opportunity to re-evaluate and set your goal again, this time with a revised action plan and a new target date.

Implement this goal setting principle into some of your goals today and get ready to watch yourself soar!

Need a little more help with goal setting? Pick up a copy of my book: “Lifetime of Achievement: 7 Goal Setting Strategies that Work!”

“Crystallize your goals. Make a plan for achieving them and set yourself a deadline. Then, with supreme confidence, determination and disregard for obstacles and other people’s criticisms, carry out your plan.” ~ Paul J Meyer

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