Step Four: Set a General Timeline for Completion
This part of the process has the potential to fuel your efforts, or stall them completely.
On one hand, setting a deadline can be incredibly motivating. It can urge you to stay focused, push yourself to work harder and smarter, and be proactive in overcoming obstacles.
On the other hand, a deadline can cause immense impatience and frustration if things don’t move along at the pace you expect.
Read the last word in the sentence above again: EXPECT.
Our expectations get us into trouble more often than we’d like to admit. If we expect something to go well and it doesn’t, we feel angry and disappointed. If we expect results by a certain date and it doesn’t happen due to circumstances beyond our control, we can lose all hope and give up because it seems futile to continue. I’m sure you’ve experienced situations like these before – most of us have.
While it’s favorable to set a GENERAL TIMELINE for completion of your goal, you would be wise to DETACH EMOTIONALLY from any firm expectations.
What do I mean by “detach emotionally”? I mean don’t get hooked on the idea of certain things happening at a certain time – especially if those “things” are largely out of your control.
Instead, focus more on your actions than the results. Set a timeline for completion of each of your ACTION STEPS, rather than the results you see from your action steps.
Also, be sure not to set unrealistic timelines. Don’t create more stress for yourself by taking on a massive project and expecting to complete it within a few days. Moderate, consistent actions will be more effective than getting burned out.
List your key action steps on your paper, with an estimation of the time needed to complete them:
Now set a GENERAL TIMELINE for completion of your ultimate goal. When you’ve finished, move on to –> STEP 5
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