When setting SMART goals it is important not to leave out the last guideline – make your goals timely. Without a timeline it’s easy to put things off, to let life get in the way.
Goals are dreams with deadlines.
When my clients tell me that they want to start running the first thing I suggest is to sign up for a race. This sets a deadline. Skipping a 7am run is a lot less likely when you know you will running 10k (as your friends and family cheer you on) in a few short months. There’s nothing like the fear of failure to get your butt moving! But in all seriousness, I’ve seen it work time and time again. Plus you are usually hooked after your first race and likely to become a lifelong runner. Join the club!
Another common example is declaring that you want to go back to school someday. The problem is that “someday” usually gets put off. If this goal is important to you, maximize your chances of success by giving yourself a deadline.
“I graduate with my MBA in June of 2014.”
Talk about a powerful statement. With the clock ticking you know just how much time you have in order to submit your applications and arrange your finances. It makes this goal a reality rather than just a distant dream.
Use your agenda. Write your goals down on your fridge calendar. Add them to your iCal. Highlight important dates. And if you miss a by-when? Don’t dwell on it. Acknowledge your miss and determine what held you back. Make necessary changes, adjust your timeline and move forward.
My latest deadline?
I run a 3:35 marathon on May 27, 2012 to qualify for the 2013 Boston Marathon.
I’ll check back with you tomorrow with an update!