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January 14, 2013

Goal Setting Tip: Decide When

From time to time throughout 2013, I’ll be sharing goal setting tips to help all of us on our 13 in 2013 journey. Today I’ll share my first goal setting tip for the year.


It has been said that a goal is a dream with a deadline. Have you heard that one before? Well, I used to really love that statement...until I began to see that deadlines, for some people, can be really counterproductive. Instead of being a motivator to take action, deadlines can become paralyzing when you fear missing your deadline, or worse yet, when you see missing a deadline as failure. (Yikes! That’s a quick way to take the fun out of goal setting, isn’t it?)

I do think it is important that goals have a time component—such as setting 13 goals in 2013. But in some instances, there are other, more productive ways to add a time element to your goal than to use an arbitrary deadline. Here's way:  if you’re doing something you’ve never done before how could you possibly know how long it is going to take?

If setting a deadline for your goal feels arbitrary or you have a hard time bouncing back when you miss a deadline, try this approach. Instead of deciding when you will finish your goal (the deadline), decide when you will start your goal and how often you will make progress on it. For example, instead of setting a goal to finish organizing your home by the end of the end of March, set a goal to start organizing your home today and make progress for at least 15 minutes a day between now and the end of March. Big difference, right? And here's the best part. When you decide to start and decide when you will make progress on your goal, the finishing will fall into place.


Take action! Pull out your calendar and decide when you will take action on your first goal for 2013. Mark it down as a series of recurring appointments with yourself, and then, go take some action, just for fun. Let me know in the comments when you’ve decided to work on your goal. Thanks for sharing!


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Big difference, I've noticed that lately also, putting things into positive verbiage rather than negative.


Absolutely Kelli. Thanks for sharing your tip!


Sometimes getting started is the hardest part - so taking little steps makes it doable. For example: starting a weight loss plan. You don't have to go all out - but make one positive change a week - that will be 52 positive changes a year!! Started mine last week - several of them - thanks to your motivation Aby!


I've loved your tips about the importance of making progress rather than aiming for perfection. When I made my list for what I wanted to get done over the weekend, there was something I wanted to get done, but the idea of doing it all just made me tired. So, I set my "goal" as making progress... and I was able to get that much done. Thus letting me view my weekend as successful and productive rather than a failure.


Awesome, Shanon! I'm so glad to hear this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It really is so important to set yourself up for success and to give yourself permission to make progress. ~ Aby


Such a great way to look at it - 52 positive changes in the year! Just think how great you will feel. :) Congrats for taking those first steps.
~ Aby


As you keep mentioning in workshops and newsletters, turn big goals or jobs into smaller, bite-size projects... So my big goal is to get caught up with all the digital photos I have, and I started 2013 about 4 1/2 years behind. I've tried to commit to getting on iPhoto or uploading photos to Shutterfly for at least 15 minutes a day. Real life has gotten in the way the past two weeks, but I've been able to make more progress on the weekends, and now I'm caught up through 2010 :) Thanks for the advice and encouragement!


That's fantastic Michaela! Good for you for making so much progress so quickly! :)
~ Aby

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