Setting a Target Date for your Goals

Setting a Target Date for your Goals

As with most aspects of goal setting there are several schools of thought regarding making a goal ‘Time Targeted’.

The common denominator is that a time, date or occasion should figure somewhere in your goal setting and getting.

It is of course summarized in one of the ‘WH …’ questions which are constantly asked and reviewed by successful people – and that is, ‘When?’.

Attributing a time frame to a goal certainly has its merits when done correctly and realistically.

The other side of the coin is when impractical timescales are allocated to a specific goal; it can be very discouraging when you fall short of the target.

One of the amazing things about the effectiveness of setting and working towards goals is the unexpected speed at which things change or happen.  Having said that any action or sequence of actions takes some degree of time by necessicity and this must be factored into the equation.

Classic example:

It is late February and you are well aware that the recent end of year celebrations haven’t helped your already overweight, unfit appearance.

Your partner announces that they have just booked an early season bargain beach holiday for the first week in May.

You try on last year’s swimwear and cannot believe what you see in the mirror!               Panic mode sets in!

You make a goal to lose 20lbs and have an enviable figure by May 1st.

April 30th arrives.  How do you feel?

1)      If two months had been a realistic time frame for your particular situation and you had worked hard on your goal, your first venture on to the beach may be fairly comfortable.  Or;

2)      If your physical shape and weight was so bad that it sensibly required 4 months dedicated effort to achieve your goal (and stay healthy), you might well spend your vacation thinking up excuses to stay in your hotel room!

Certainly it can it can be good to set time targets to help you keep focused, allow you to implement ‘Reverse Planning Strategies’ and get things in perspective and alignment with your overall life plan.

The danger can be that if the time frame is impractical and doesn’t factor in allowances for situations that unavoidably involve the passing of an amount of time it can be very discouraging.

It is also important to accept that, of al the elements involved, the ‘time’ aspect is one that can be altered if necessary without loss of face or incurring excessive disappointment.

Just as we accept with surprise and gratitude when things happen faster than anticipated, we should  be prepared to acknowledge the hold ups or interruptions that life throws at us, and then press onward toward our (may be delayed) goal.

In the previous few posts we have looked at some of the basics of setting so-called,  ‘S M A R T‘ goals.  To take it a stage further, in our next post, we’ll discuss how to make our SMART goals SMARTER.

Tony James, Life Coach Tony J James, Basic Author



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  1. Pingback: Setting Smarter Goals | Tony James-Life Coach

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