A Word On Goal Setting: Why Your Timeline Is Important
I’m not really one for making a New Year’s resolution. It’s nice in theory to simply ‘wish’ change into your life but practically speaking change doesn’t come without action. And action doesn’t come without being intentional. Change can take on many forms in a new year, one type of change could be linked to a project you’ve always wanted to commit to but haven’t found the time or motivation. Writing has always been something I’ve wanted to do more of, but it wasn’t until I finally decided to start my blog that I was able to put this wish into action.
Once I had made the decision to start the blog, the first thing I did was select a launch date that would give me 6 weeks to compile my first set of posts and create a timeline for upcoming ones. My web designer and I agreed on this timeframe and checked in mid-way to ensure it was still doable. Then, just under a week before this date I was sidetracked by the impending launch of another project. Not wanting to launch on the same date, I let my date slide and thought to myself, ‘Its ok, I’ll just wait a week’. Unfortunately, it wasn’t ok. The morning after, I woke up feeling SO disappointed with myself for not following through, and letting other factors influence the goal I had set for myself. What seemed insignificant (just one week) ended up having a significant effect on my outlook. In the end, with the help of my awesome web designer (Techopaul) I was able to pull together the remaining pieces and was only one day late in making my site live. However, the experience had me thinking about why both setting a timeline and sticking to it is so important:
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. I feel like they need to add a 6th letter to this acronym, for others. Okay, maybe the word wouldn’t make sense at all with an O at the end, but seriously how often do we let others influence the goals we have set for ourselves? It’s not that we can blame shift for not sticking to our own goals, they likely have no idea they had any effect on you at all. Yet, it can really be demotivating to let your focus become distracted by the happenings of others. When following through with the steps of the SMART goal philosophy, remember the imaginary O!
If you suffer from procrastination as I often do, you will forever find yourself in the 11th hour trying to pull things together. If you pull it off at all that is, because chances are it will be another thing that forever sits on your to do list. You can have good intentions all day long but without a specific timeframe it is unlikely practical action will follow.
It’s symptomatic of society to squeeze as much as we possibly can into each day. Juggling work, family and life schedules, racing from place to place, I think our biggest health risk is anxiety. When you put together a goal that is timely, meaning you have enough time and resource to logically make it happen, without stress, your health is going to thank you for it. Ok, maybe it’s a little unrealistic to think that setting a workable timeframe will alleviate all stress, but I think it will greatly mitigate your stress levels. And it just feels so good when you accomplish something in a timeframe that did not cause so much stress you wonder if you just knocked a few days off the end of your life.
Firm yet Flexible.
While it’s so important to be firm on your timeline and goal for the above reasons, it’s still important to be flexible. For example, if you are working with a client that is slow in giving sign off on a project, which stresses your own timeline, it can definitely be frustrating! However, for the sake of client relations, you are best to suck it up buttercup! Being flexible will go a long way in positive client relations. Same goes for projects that have collaborative components; set a timeline but don’t burn bridges if those you are working with require additional time.
Author: Jessica Bakken | @jessicabakken | To see more of Jessica's work, click here.
Cover Image via Mikayla Lune