Without a timeframe, goal setting is useless. But how do you ensure you’ve chosen the right time interval for the goals most meaningful to you?
Unfortunately, 92 percent of people don’t achieve the goals they set for themselves. While this statistic may seem dismal, analyzing why this happens can help you prevent it from happening to you.
If you want to join the 8 percent of people who do achieve their goals, you should never leave anything to chance that you can control yourself. It’s critical you first take control over your goals by outlining the time interval in which your goals live.
According to Parkinson’s Law, a task will take up the amount of time it’s given, no matter what. This means if you fail to set a timeframe for your goal, you’ll never accomplish it. By intentionally setting the proper time intervals for goals, you can ensure that you accomplish them.
6 Primary Time Intervals to Consider When Setting Goals
1. Mission Statement for Life
Naturally, the deadline for your life mission statement is the end of your life. This isn’t to say that you’ll never accomplish a goal like this but that you’ll continue to work on the goal throughout your lifetime.
Many people may find that a goal like this keeps them on track with their values and gives them something to work towards.
Here are some noteworthy excerpts from the life mission statements of previous Arootah clients:
- To leave the world better than how I found it.
- To help those who are less fortunate.
- To use my personal strengths to make people happy.
Once you’ve set a mission statement for your life, you can use it as inspiration for several smaller goals.
2. Annual Goals
These are your priorities for the year. While you may use your life mission to set annual goals, it’s important you don’t fall into the trap of setting goals that overwhelm you. According to Gate’s Law, “Most people overestimate what they can achieve in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in ten years.” By focusing on accomplishing realistic goals, you can make every goal as effective as possible for the purpose it serves.
3. Quarterly Goals
Setting quarterly goals is an effective way to make drastic progress towards an annual goal. Quarterly goals provide many companies with an opportunity to set goals that require a lot of detail, but also offer a high return. Quarterly goal setting also allows these organizations to reflect on their annual goals.
4. Weekly Goals
When setting weekly goals, it’s important to remember that this is where the rubber meets the road and you either compound or lose progress on your goals in this timeframe. Weekly goals are also effective in management. When leadership assigns these goals to members of a team and requires them to report on their progress, for example, the accountability keeps many teams on track.
5. Daily Schedule
By designing a daily schedule at the start of the week and refreshing yourself on the contents of the schedule each night, you give yourself maximum visibility on daily goals. Day-to-day accomplishments ultimately feed into longer-term accomplishments.
Daily goal setting is primarily an individual’s responsibility. By breaking down how you’ll spend every hour of a given day, you can maximize your return on time.
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6. Now: Taking Ownership in the Present
This is where results happen. When you decide where to spend your time and energy, you’re taking ownership over the present moment.
Is your “now” aligned with your top values that will bring ultimate fulfillment—or are you succumbing to the temptations of immediate gratification?
Having a goal for the next hour or half-hour is vital for long term success. In fact, it’s the smallest action step you can take towards completing your mission statement.
The Week: The Ideal Period for Scheduling
While there are six time intervals for setting goals, the week is the ideal period for scheduling.
If you schedule mission, annual, and quarterly goals, you’ll likely feel demotivated by the block of time in front of you. On the other hand, daily and now goals are too narrow and don’t leave you with enough time for planning or setting up appointments.
Therefore, the week is ideal. Take time every Friday afternoon or Sunday evening to identify your goals for the coming week. Schedule them in and show up to complete those goals as if you were showing up for any other appointment.
In designing your schedule, make sure you complete your highest priorities first. More specifically, all your goals should be scheduled in priority order. This means you need to schedule in the first priority first, second highest next, and so on. In this way, you set yourself up for success by ensuring that you get the highest return on your time.
Once you’ve prioritized your goals, you’ll need to design a plan for your highest priority goals, then prioritize the action items within those plans. Only after you’ve identified your most important actions for the week, you create your schedule.
Oftentimes, the action items that have the highest impact on your goals are the ones that have no urgent deadline. This is why scheduling is so important: it guarantees you’re making progress on tasks that don’t demand attention but have a high impact.
The Scheduling Process
Instilling key habits in your life is crucial for success. The habit of scheduling your weekly priorities then reviewing and amending your schedule daily, is a key part of the process of achieving your goals.
You should aim to spend one hour each week designing your schedule, since you’re unlikely to meet your goals without a schedule. Get into the habit of clearly scheduling goals based on an effective timeline.
The Bottom Line
By intentionally setting the proper time intervals for goals, you can ensure that you accomplish them.
When inspiration strikes, it can be tempting to cram several goals into a timeframe that’s too small for them. This will lead to overwhelm, and in turn, procrastination. Once you succumb to procrastination, you can make very little progress on your goals.
To combat this, it’s essential you have a clear idea of the time intervals in which you’ll complete your goals. If you’ve given yourself the appropriate amount of time, you’ll never be in a rush to accomplish a goal.
To become even more effective at goal setting, grab a copy of our free eBook, The 10 Step Arootah Success Formula. By reading about our formula, you come one step closer to completing your life’s mission.
Have you ever assigned a goal in the wrong timeframe? What is your favorite interval to set goals in? Let us know in the comments!