“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Unknown
A goal can be defined as something that you want to accomplish in the future. It is a future achievement that you desire to realize.
Goals, when clearly defined, give you purpose and direction, they keep you focused, they help you turn your ideas into reality.
Without goals, some short term (example, to achieve by the end of the week or month), some medium term (example, to achieve in a year or the next two years) or some long term (example, to achieve in the next five years or next ten years), we tend to just take life as it comes, we end up living a life without a plan, because we are on a journey with no destination in mind.
Now, don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that you need to plan out every aspect of your life but if there are some major milestones that you are want to achieve, setting goals is like having a road-map to achieving them.
Why do goals need timelines?
- Allows for accountability
If you are not holding yourself accountable when setting personal goals, who will? Accountability keeps you dedicated to the specific task at hand as you have to answer to someone even if it just yourself.
- No timeline encourages procrastination
If you have until “whenever” to complete a task, why not start it next week instead of today? If your goal does not have a specified time in which it should be completed then you really don’t have any reason to begin working towards your goal today and you can end up postponing starting the task in the first place.
- Motivates you
When you clearly define your goal, in some instances by breaking it down into more manageable tasks with deadlines attached you feel more resolute and encouraged to complete your goal. Because you can now see your goal as a series of achievable steps. This helps you feel more inspired and self-assured as you know how to go about completing the task at hand.
PS. After you complete each task along the way, you should take some time to celebrate the moment as this will help build your confidence and motivate you to continue striving to achieve your ultimate goal.
- Helps you prioritize your work
When you write down your goals (including a series of tasks necessary to achieve this goal), it allows you to be able to prioritize your work. You can organize your task based what needs to be done first, second, third on the way to achieving this goal.
Your goal is to start a successful blog with a following of lets say 1000 persons. You feel like you want to share your voice with the world, express your opinion on a particular topic or topics, get feedback, start a conversation etc.
It will be unrealistic to say in one day I will start a blog and I will get 1000 persons who actively participate with me on my blog especially when you never even created a website or even know anything about blogging in the first place.
Instead, if you separate this goal into a series of smaller goals / tasks, your big goal may no longer seem like a mountain to climb but instead a mountain with a series of steps. For example, to achieve your blogging goals as a first time blogger you can instead break it down for example:
- Research how to create a blog online and tips and tricks for first time bloggers (2 days)
- Create interesting and engaging content for the blog (ongoing) (eg. one need post per week)
- Create a blog on wordpress.com or blogger.com (eg. 2 days)
- Customize your blog (eg. 3 days)
- Continue creating content, uploading content, sharing your work, commenting on and reading other blogs that are of interest to you (ongoing)
- Goal of 1000 subscribers ( 1 year after creating the blog)
Setting goals with timelines are important. They help you concentrate and ensure that your make efficient use of your time. Your goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and of course, Time-bound).
Have you set any goals recently?
Maybe its time you write down some goals, both short term, medium term and long term with some timelines attached for any aspect of your lives!
I will leave you with a final quote by Pablo Picasso:
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle called a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”