Why set goal deadlines?
A goal without a deadline is a hopeful wish. The reality is, we all work on deadlines.
For those who, just reading the dreaded 'deadline' word causes stress, think about not setting a deadline when you place that delicious dish in the oven. Every step cooking that dish, has a deadline. The ultimate deadline is how long to cook the dish to perfection. Undercooking or overcooking will destroy all your hard work.
Goals are no different. We either take control of our deadlines or they'll control us. When it comes to setting goals, establishing a deadline shows commitment to completing the goal. It doesn't necessarily equate to being able to accomplish the goal in that timeframe.
While unexpected setbacks can occur, understanding the impact to the deadline allows you to either extend the deadline or modify the goal. Instead of a date on a calendar holding you hostage, it sets the stage to take control of your daily actions needed to meet the deadline. Stress levels are produced when you focus on the daily action, rather than the long list of actions required to achieve the goal.
Failures often are caused by not taking enough time to set up your goal for success. Goal setting is more than writing it down.
Taking a bit more time upfront, will free up your mind to focus on action, rather than strategy. Correctly setting up a goal has benefits which will help you succeed.
- Establishes commitment.
- Allows you to take a large goal and break it down into smaller daily actions.
- Maintains focus.
Let's go back to the original analogy of goal deadlines applied to cooking. To create a meal, we break it down into phases.
Discovery Phase - Learning what options are available. What we feel like eating. What others will enjoy eating.
Strategy Phase - Making a list of what ingredients are needed, if we have them, or if we need to purchase. We also evaluate our time and commitment to making this meal.
Design Phase - With all our ingredients in place, we begin making the meal. We may follow the recipe or get creative. Execution Phase - Where we sit down and enjoy the meal. When you think back on the last time you ate, you'll naturally see how deadlines were implemented.
Each phase had its own deadline, in order to meet the deadline of when you wanted to enjoy the meal. You can take this same pattern and apply it to every aspect of your life. Purchases, outings, and everyday duties all naturally have deadlines we apply.
Why then do we stress over setting a goal deadline and applying the pattern to succeed, when we naturally do it every day? Fear... Goal setting conquers fears.
Applying it back to cooking. If the meal is ruined, you naturally have a backup so you don't go hungry. Your goal... to eat, is reached whether your cooking was successful, you ate a bowl of cereal, or went out to eat. When a setback happened, you adjusted the smaller goals to still achieve your primary goal of putting food in your mouth and stopping the rumbling belly.
The fear of failure didn't stop you from achieving your goal. If your meal got burnt, you trashed it, learned from your mistakes, and moved on in a new direction to achieve your primary goal. The biggest obstacle in goal setting, is your mindset about goal setting.
Dust off those old goals and look at them again in a different perspective. Isn't it time to take your goal setting to the next level?
STEPS to Success program takes you step-by-step to understanding goal setting and how to set up a goal for success.