Deadlines are important motivators in goal setting, that’s why the T, in SMART Goals, refers to the term time bound. Time bound means the time you allocate for you to complete your goal. An obvious start and end date for your goals are a momentous piece of your goal-setting plan. When you set start and end times for yourself, you are better able to stay on track, give you the ability to focus on your goal and give you something to work toward. Mini-deadlines will help you keep up motivation because you will celebrate your smaller successes along the way. Deadlines will also help with time management, making your goal more easily accomplished. Managing your time well will help you allocate your time where needed, toward achieving your goal. Parkinson’s Law states that work will expand to fill the time allotted. So, unless you must carefully distribute your time, your goals may fall to the wayside and become overtaken by everyday tasks.
Time-bound goals have start and end dates. Setting a time frame for yourself in whom you expect to complete your goal, will give you a sense of urgency. Time bound goals also keep you focused on the task you have laid out for yourself by helping prioritize your everyday tasks. It’s easy to get caught up in the things we have to get done in life, work and family obligations often take over. Parkinson’s Law states that work will expand to fill the time allotted; meaning that other tasks will take over, if you let them. But, when the goal is time bound, it helps keep the goal in the forefront, with a sense of necessity.
Mini-deadlines are another way that time-bound goals help ensure success. You can set yourself some smaller deadlines within your primary goal and reward yourself for those mini successes along the way. For example, let’s say your goal is to walk for 30 minutes, 5 times a week for 3 months, in the evening when you get home from work, to get healthier. The deadline here is 3 months. An example of a useful mini goal could be at the 1 week mark. If you check in with yourself every Friday evening and you have followed through with walking for 30 minutes every evening after work for that week, you have successfully completed your mini goal. If you allow yourself a small reward for achieving the mini goal, you will further solidify success.
Time sensitive goals are an important part of the SMART Goals method. Setting deadlines will increase your productivity and help ensure your success.