Imagine that you’ve done all the prep work you need to do to successfully achieve your goal. You’ve brainstormed tactics, you’ve prioritized actions, and you understand the purpose behind your goal.
However, there’s one important milestone that can make or break your success…
And that’s actually getting started.
Getting started with anything in life is a huge milestone in and of itself. It means you’ve beaten procrastination and are gaining momentum.
But for many people, getting started is the hardest part of achieving their goals.
In our 10-part goal-setting series, we’re teaching you how to gain clarity around setting goals and develop a master plan to achieve them. In case you missed the last installment in the series, How to Impactfully Set Goal Deadlines in 3 Steps, you may want to read that first before continuing here.
This article will help you kick off all the actions you’ll take to reach your goal. So, please… start your engines!
Why Are Strategic Goal Start Lines Important?
There’s no harm in getting caught up in a daydream about achieving your goal. You may wonder how you’ll feel when you’ve finally grown your business or finished your first marathon, and this kind of visualization is a good motivator when it comes to teaching your subconscious mind new habits.
The problem is: Many people spend so much time thinking about the finish line that they neglect the starting line.
Although starting isn’t as much fun as finishing your goal, the start line:
- Stops procrastination: Procrastination can kill your goals. It’s easy to pursue immediate gratification while you wait to feel motivated to take action. Accept that the motivation to pursue your goals won’t always be there, because it likely won’t. Establishing a start line helps you eliminate procrastination.
- Makes actions real: What’s the difference between thinking you should go to the dentist and having a dentist’s appointment on your calendar? You get the gist. Thinking about taking action won’t get you any results. Actually having actions on your schedule means you have a greater chance of showing up to accomplish them, just like you wouldn’t bail on your dentist appointment.
- Solidifies habits: When you make something a habit, little to no thought is required to get it done. Forming habits around your goals is one of the most effective ways to achieve them. Habit-building allows you to devote your mental energy to other areas, such as problem-solving, while your habits create results for you in the background.
- Provides you with commitment and accountability: If you schedule lunch with a colleague, the chances you’ll show up for that lunch are high, right? The same is true for scheduling your start line. When it’s on your calendar, you’re committed to doing it.
- Helps you with weekly scheduling: One of the secrets to our success at Arootah is the weekly scheduling process we use with our team. At the end of each week, each team member identifies their priorities for the following week, then schedules them on their calendar. We’re locked in for the next week to handle our highest priorities.
By setting a strategic start line, you can reap all the benefits that come with simply getting started. The cost of not doing so could mean that you don’t hit your goal at all, or you fall so far behind it becomes problematic (and stressful) to get caught up.
Setting Your Goal Start Line
Setting a start line is similar to setting your deadline for a goal. You should actually create your deadline first, so you know your ultimate target. From there, work backward to see what fits best as you schedule your actions.
Once you’ve set your deadline, here’s how you should set a start line:
- First, set a start line for each goal and put it in your calendar right away. This makes your goal tangible and helps you beat procrastination.
- Next, set the start line for the top two action items for the goal. At least one of these actions should line up with your overall goal start date.
Setting a start line for your goal and actions isn’t a complex concept, but so many people skip this critical step.
Imagine all the abandoned ideas out there that people never got around to actually starting: mountains of unrealized book ideas, trips, and businesses, all because their owners never scheduled a time to get started.
Another element to keep in the back of your mind as you’re getting started is how to allocate your time.
The age-old excuse for never achieving a goal? “I don’t have the time.”
Most people don’t have several extra hours in the day to fill with whatever they want. The people who actually achieve their goals know it’s going to take time to do so, but they’re realistic about how much of it they’ll be devoting to their goal. Creating a start line forces you to realize just how much time you’ll be devoting to your goal.
Evaluate Your Goal’s Start Line Before Getting Started
As you approach the start line to your goal, reevaluate your plan of action by considering these criteria:
- Factor in those goals that might be more urgent, meaning more time-sensitive, than other goals or actions.
- Factor in the sequence, or dependency, of which goals or actions you might need to complete first so that you can complete others.
- Be sure to space your actions out. You can’t start everything at once.
Know that it’s OK to revamp your schedule after you’ve gotten started. In fact, you should expect to shuffle some action items around, so remember to leave room in your schedule for flexibility. The important thing is to just get started.
The Bottom Line
Getting started is a huge milestone on the path to achieving your goals. And being strategic about your goal start lines sets you up for success from the get-go.
Goal start lines are just one important piece in the goal-setting (and goal-achieving!) process. If you’re seeking a more holistic approach when it comes to your goal-setting activities, learn this process directly from Arootah CEO and Founder Rich Bello by grabbing your free copy of The 10 Step Arootah Success Formula. This playbook contains a simple, straightforward process you can use to achieve your goals.