How to Set a Time-Frame to Achieve Your Goals
When setting goals, you want to set both short-term and long-term goals.
Short-term goals could cover one day, or a few days or a few weeks, up to six months. Long-term goals can take six months or longer to complete. As you set and reach short-term goals, you will be more motivated to reach your long-term goals.
Sometimes, short term goals are part of the necessary steps to get to achieve you more ambitious long-term goals. That's why it is really important to have a mix of both short-term and long-term goals. Here's a breakdown for setting a time-frame for your goals…
For doing your life goals, you need to be prepared to have quality time alone. You hear about people having bucket lists, which are things they want to do or see before they die. Bucket lists are included in life goals, they are not separate. On bucket lists, it could be just a few words like, “I will sail around the Fiji islands and drop anchor at the sweetest places.”
To do a complete life goal and remember this is something that you really need, schedule one or two days of the week and retreat somewhere quiet. Here are the things you want to cover in your life goals and it is like a life manifesto:
- Your health and fitness is a must. In life goals, you need to imagine how taking care of yourself will allow you to live well into your 80’s or 90’s. But don’t stop there, visualize how you will feel and look. You want to set your goals so that when you reach that age, you are flexible and still strong. You’ll be able to hike, perhaps even mountain climb. Your digestive system will work like it did when you were a kid. Mentally you’ll be “as sharp as a tack, as the old saying goes.”
- Learning should never stop. Write out how many books per year you want to read and what type. Consider adding taking university courses on subjects that interest you and when will you do that? Will you take a course on history this year and then perhaps get a degree in archaeology when you retire?
- Speaking of retirement, what are your goals career wise for the next 5, 15 or even 20 years? How will you fund your retirement and will you retire early at age 55 or 60?
5 Year Goals
A lot can happen in five years. To make it a positive five years, spend some time writing out the story of your five year life. What is going to happen in those five years? Include what your finances will look like. Where will you be working, the same job or is a career change going to occur? How will your physical and mental health look like? Will you start a martial arts program and make it a goal to go from a white belt to a black belt in five years? Will you shed a significant amount of weight? What about your habits, will you work diligently to change bad habits to good?
Think of the five-year story as if you are writing a short memoir for Amazon Kindle and you write it as if it has already happened. Once you have your short story written, start breaking down what needs to happen in tasks and time-frames.
You can use SMART goals for achieving your Kindle story. Then make an action plan for each SMART goal in order to stay focused and on track.
1 Year Goals
For one-year goals, you can pick 2-3 major goals. Then using your calendar or planner, break it down to sub-goals for each month in order to reach your 3 major goals. So in January, you might have 10 sub-goals to work on, while March may have 6 sub-goals.
As you look at the entire 12 months of sub-goals, adjust them where you see there may be potential problems and then visualize what accomplishing each sub-goal will look like and how it will lead to success for your 3 major goals.
90 Day Goals
In 90 days, you could take 5-7 big goals and break them down into doable parts. Many people find that going beyond 7 major goals in 90 days, leads to overwhelm.
Take stock of which goals are the most important to reach in 90 days. If your health is good, this is a goal you can leave out while focusing on cash flow for instance. What goals if reached in 90 days will have the biggest impact on your life? As in the SMART goal system, these 90 day goals must be measurable. Exactly how long will each task for one goal take to reach.
Be realistic, can you do it in 90 days and if not, you need to work on a goal that can be accomplished.
These goals take serious time management. You have 30 days to complete a goal and you need to know at what speed you can work to do this.
For example, if you want to join a 30 day challenge to learn how to build and use a vision board, you need to break down the steps in the challenge. Will there be a lot of reading and how fast can you read? How many hours per day can you put towards working on the challenge? Will there be webinars associated with the challenge and can you attend them?
You may consider using a bullet journal to list out the task involved with the challenge and the time required for each task. With a bullet journal you will have the information right in front of you and then be able to make a decision if this is a goal for you this month.
For weekly goals, you take the goals from your longer goal frame of 90 days or yearly and then break them down into what needs to be accomplished every week. Next you block time on your planner/calendar for each task.
It is also good to write at the top of the planner why this particular goal is so important to you. Motivating yourself each and every day of the week, starting on the big Monday, will keep you on track. Write down beside each task, when you will start and finish it, with the total hours required at the bottom. Be clear on your time frame.
You have to take the first steps, putting one foot in front of the other. To walk ten miles, it requires you to take a step at a time. Daily goals are the first steps of your long range goals. To lose fifty pounds, you need to start with the first pound on day one. Writing up daily goals means putting together the daily action plan that will lead to the end goal. It might look like this:
- Eat fruit for breakfast
- Do yoga before work
- Have lean meat and veggies for supper
- Take a 45 minute walk after supper
For each of your big goals, saving money or paying down debt as an example, break down the steps that must be done each day with an action plan.