How are you setting goals right now? Are you just dreaming? You want to a better work/life balance… eventually. You want to save up for a deposit on a house … at some point. You want to make enough money to live comfortably … somewhere down the road. Without an end date, you have nothing to shoot for. It’s nothing more than a daydream. It’s so difficult to actually make your goals a reality and be accountable to them without any form of measurable time. This means that goals without an end date are dreams.
This post is part of a series of hacks to help you reach your goals. You can read all about how and why to stop thinking of your goals as resolutions which touches a little on the point of this point. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. For more information check out my full affiliate disclosure.
Setting An End Date For Your Goals
To turn resolutions into reality, you need to know what you’ve got to do on a weekly or even daily basis to make it happen. And you can’t do that unless you have a set end goal. In other words, start at the end, and then figure out what it will take to get there.
Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you want to get out of credit card debt this year. You own $/£6,000 on your cards combined. That means you need to pay of $/£500 a month in principal to wipe out your entire credit card debt over the course of a year. Making a $/£500 payment each month sounds a lot more doable than looking at the entire sum, doesn’t it? And by setting an end date of December 31st, you know exactly what you need to do each month to get there. From there you can work on an action plan. You can pick up a little extra work each month to make the extra money to pay it down. Or maybe you cut out things like Cable TV for the year and skip your daily Starbucks trip.
Why You Need to Set An End Date
The point is when you have a resolution or a goal and an end date you have something to work with. You’ll reach your goal much faster than if you just make a resolution of paying off your credit card debt and paying whatever is left in your bank account at the end of the month. Chances are that isn’t going to be much and you’re less likely to keep your resolution month in and month out.
If you have an end date and break your goal down into monthly (or weekly or quarterly) chunks you start to see some progress. And that will keep you motivated to make it to the next milestone and then the next. Before you know it you’re getting pretty close to your goal. Doesn’t that sound like a much better strategy?
How to Keep Track
I’m a big fan of having some sort of tracker that you can use to physically check off when you’ve achieved the smaller chunks of your goals. You may find breaking them down to daily, so they’re even smaller, can help, too. If you have a planner (digital or physical) you can use it to track on a daily, weekly and/or monthly basis, too.
Actually seeing your goal happen like that is very satisfying. You’re also much more likely to keep up with it, too.
As well as ensuring your goals have an end date, you want to make sure they’re goals that align with your ‘why’ and purpose in life. If this is something you’re struggling with at the moment I recommend checking out Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map book and Workbook. In it, she helps you work out how you want to feel, and then design your life and goals around those feelings. It has been monumental for me, personally. Her planner is then fantastic for keeping track of your core desired feelings and goals, ensuring they all align.
So, Give it a try. Instead of “just” making a wish or a dream, make a goal and plan it out. It doesn’t have to take you the entire year. If you can reach your goal sooner, all the better. Setting an end date is also part of creating Smart Goals, which is a fab way to make sure you’re more likely to reach them. I’d love to hear what time frame you’re giving your goals and how you plan to track them. Either comment below or come and join our online community of Chronic Entrepreneurs and share with us there 🙂