Is having a deadline for your goal detrimental to actually achieving it? I’ve never been one to make concrete goals that have to happen by a certain date. I understand the importance of setting goals and will incorporate them in all aspects of my life. As Alan Lakein said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” I definitely do not want allow the remote possibility of failure in my life so I’d better have a plan/goal.
I set my first goal for my financial freedom journey to have money on March 1st. So far having a goal kept me focused on being productive daily, I attracted a lot of amazing positive experiences, and it really helped me gave faith that my journey will hit its first milestone. However since my deadline is approaching I’ve found myself paralyzed in the midst of “what ifs,” “will it happen,” since I haven’t had any money come into my experience yet. I have faith it will happen but since I’ve set a goal that has to happen within a certain timeline, I’m wondering if I set the goal too big or too soon. Is the time frame on a goal necessary?
I haven’t found a guru, coach or teacher that doesn’t emphasize the importance of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. Here’s a great definition of what S.M.A.R.T goals are I found on Top Achievement.
Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Specific: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:
*Who: Who is involved?
*What: What do I want to accomplish?
*Where: Identify a location.
*When: Establish a time frame.
*Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
*Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a health club and workout 3 days a week.”
Measurable – Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set.
When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as……
How much? How many?
How will I know when it is accomplished?
Attainable – When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.
You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.
Realistic– To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.
A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labor of love.
Timely – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a time frame, “by May 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.
T can also stand for Tangible – A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing.
When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.
I completely understand why setting a deadline keeps you motivated. What if I had said I wanted to achieve financial freedom in the next 25 years? Would I be working constantly on achieving it like I am now? Doubt it! However how can you combat that sense of urgency that gets mixed with negative feelings when your deadline is approaching? I’ve been keeping up momentum and feel I am on track, but I can’t shake the feeling “But will it actually happen by that date?”
Back in December 2013, I made a 90 day outcome in Big Idea Mastermind’s 30 days to $10K plan. March 1st, 2014 is the date when my goal is be manifested. Here is the outcome I wrote:
“Today is Saturday, March 1st, 2014 at 10am. I am logging into my online banking at the computer in the living room to check my account balance. I smile to myself as I see that my personal checking account has $10,000 in savings and over $10,000 available. A chill rushes through my entire body when it finally sinks in that I can and will make my goal of financial freedom. I found the path! I hear the kids playing and I call them over to me. “Hey guys, guess what?” I call out. They come rushing over and I feel Amanda and Jonathan’s hands on my shoulder while Kayla crawls onto my lap. “We’re going to Disneyland today and tomorrow and spending the night down there!” The kids start running around screeching while I just close my eyes and realize that I am going to be different. I will succeed on the journey and this is just my first milestone.”
That’s a great goal outcome and I truly believe I will get there, but now there are only 24 days left. Currently I have $230 in one account and my other account is negative. Plus I still have to figure out how to pay my bills this month because all my savings are gone and my credit cards are almost maxed. I invested all of my money into my financial education in the fall and took them time to give it my all. I feel I couldn’t have made this goal happen this quickly (as in years down the road!) if I kept trading my time for dollars in my business, so I took the leap of faith to take unpaid time off. I truly believe I will succeed, so how come I can’t shake my self doubt?!
I’m really keeping the faith, but this goal deadline is really stressing me out. So it the deadline a bad thing? The pressure keeps me motivated, but at the same time has me doubting if it possible. Last week I felt writing my first book is a great manifestation that my outcome is going to be achieved and “knew” it was going to happen. However when I had difficulty publishing my book for the next several days, immediately the self doubt began to creep in. Now I’m trying to figure out what’s my next step to get my message out there.
Today my friend and hypnotherapist coach Christopher Harris told me that my “what ifs” will prevent me from achieving my goals. I need to expect success just like I expect an apple to fall if I throw it in the air. I have everything I need to succeed already. I just have to get out of my own way! I’m really working on my mindset and must stay vigilant against self doubts. The time frame of my goal is raising these doubts, but now that I think about it I’m glad they’re coming to the surface. If I’m going to master my doubts, then I need to be fully aware they exist rather than turn a blind eye with faith to truly annihilate them. I think that’s the biggest issue I’ve had with faith. Previously faith has seemed like a cop-out when people get into situations that are too difficult to bare by themselves. Faced with challenges many people put all their faith in a greater power to solve the problem and/or get them through their the difficult time. My thought has always been solve the problem myself rather than put faith in something else. Now through studying the Law of Attraction, faith has come back into my experience. However it is different this time as I am creating my own experience through my thoughts, feelings, and actions and then having faith the universe will deliver it.
So is goal setting bad? No! You need something to focus your energy on so you can manifest the positive changes you want in your life. But what having a time frame for your goal? Is that detrimental? I’m still up in the air about it. On the one hand I see that by not having a deadline you can meander around and never accomplish anything. However the impending deadline can arouse many latent negative thoughts as well. By allowing doubts in such as “it’s not going to happen by that time,” “how did I think I could do it?” or “I’ll never be able to succeed by then,” you are now changing your vibration or intention. Thinking negative thoughts is all the universe needs to make those doubts become true. Remember what you concentrate on becomes present in your experience.
Having a time frame for your goal seems to me like a necessary evil! You have to have one to keep yourself motivated. But by having one it can arouse doubts about completion that can deter you from ever accomplishing it. You must be determined to combat those surfacing doubts and continue to keep the faith that your goal can only be manifested.
What are your thoughts about having a deadline on your goals?