Plan Your Goals

Ready … Set … Hold up.

Now that you have your SMART goals with key motivations and have chunked those goals into bite-sized goals, it’s time to start planning your attack. Like any plan, you want to assess what you’re up against and chart a course for battle.

If you haven’t already made your way to an electronic form of goal setting, now might be a good time. I recommend using Google Docs or any text editor. The main thing is use something you can access from your computer or phone, anywhere. (Later, we’ll discuss the importance of having your goals easily available.)

Create a folder and name it so you know it contains your goals for the year (i.e, “Goals 2015”). Convert all of your goals to documents. I recommend one goal for each document. State your goal at the top of the document, maybe provide some kind of description if needed, then list your key motivations. This is very important. You will need to read those when resistance comes.

List your chunk goals below your key motivations. This will tee you up for the first step in planning your goals. Then, you’ll go from document to calendar, and from calendar to to-do list. Here’s what you can do.

Arrange the Chunks

If your chunks are not sequential, arrange them now. Remember, these are consecutive steps toward the SMART goal—one step comes before the other. For example, you need to “Set up a savings account” before you can “Set up auto-transfer from checking.”

Allocate the Time

Chunks should be small enough for you to estimate time to complete them. Most chunk goals should be rounded to days, not hours. Although a chunk may take a couple of days, you will likely have only a few hours in a day to do it. Write the estimated time out next to the chunk.

Add the Time

For SMART goals with definite, non-recurring deadlines, you will need to add up the time you just estimated. The sum of all your chunks in a particular SMART goal will tell you how soon you need to begin your attack. Put that number somewhere near your SMART goal title.

Appoint the Deadlines

Now, you can assign the deadlines to each chunk goal. This step gets a little messy for me because I have to move my goals around until they all fit. I like to print out a calendar of the entire year on one sheet, compliments of TheTimeNow.com. Find your deadline on the calendar and count back the number of days needed to complete the goal. (But keep in mind weekends and holidays, and give yourself some cushion.)

Assign the Chunks

Finally, you need to get these deadlines into an electronic calendar. I use Google Calendar and Apple’s Calendar together. Assign your chunks to the days of the year so they can be easily accessed from your mobile device and computer. You can also print these out each week in a colorful calendar. We will discuss that next time.

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