Formula for Success, Part III – Have a Clear End Date

To review, the Formula for Success has 5 steps.

1.  Clearly state your goal.

2.  Have an end date for your goal.

3.  Get accountability partners.

4.  Take action daily.

5.  On the projected date of completion, close down.

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This blast is part III of a seven-part series describing the Formula for Success.  We have already talked about the need to state a clear goal in writing.  Now we will talk about the value of specifying “by when” you will have achieved your goal.

Step Two:  Have an end date for your goal.

“Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.” –Jim Rohn

Though it is often scary, it is very important to set your goals in relation to time.  Setting a date for completion is vitally important so that you (1) move forward with urgency in order to meet your ultimate goal by a date certain; and (2) have a date on which you will know if you have been successful or not.  Then you can close down, re-assess, learn what worked and what didn’t and start again.  (Step 5 of the Formula for Success.)  Energetically, it is draining to have ongoing incomplete goals hanging over your head.

Whether you are just starting out in business or have been practicing for awhile, you should have long-term goals such as one-year, five-year and ten-year goals, as well as short term goals such as weekly and monthly goals.  It is less effective to have only a long-term goal or a short-term goal without the other.

For example, imagine you are just starting your business and your one-year goal is, “to gross $100,000 and to figure out what type of law I want to practice.”  If you do not set weekly and monthly goals that help you attain the one-year goal, it is easy to forget about the long-term goal.  Then you get to the end of year one and you look at the goal and say, “Oh yeah, I was going to try different types of law and see what suits me best.”  But you didn’t stay grounded in that goal and on track to its achievement.  Year one of a new business can be chaotic and overwhelming.  Without a long-term goal to keep you on track, you will do whatever is in front of you and whatever seems most urgent on a day-to-day basis.  This makes it far less likely that you will achieve your long-term goal.

At the same time, setting only short term goals is not as effective either.  If you say, “My goal is to get a new client this week,” that is great, but it will be more effective to have this weekly goal be part of a larger goal toward which you can see the weekly goal will move you.  Otherwise, you live day-to-day, which can feel scattered and unfulfilling.  And even attaining your short-term goals may not lead you in the direction you want to go.  When you make monthly and weekly goals and track your progress on them toward your longer-term goals, you will stay much more committed to attaining what you want in the long run.

The most effective practice is to set a one-year goal and even five or ten-year goals if you like; then chunk down that goal into milestones – where do I need to be at the end of each quarter, each month, each week in order to reach my one year goal?  That way your longer-term goal directs your actions, while your short-term goals keep you taking action.

Your assignment this week is to go back through your written goals and make sure that they have end dates.  If your goals are only long-term, create some shorter term goals.  If  your goals are only short term, make sure you have longer-term goals.