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Step 4 - Goal Planning: Use Deadlines As Lifelines

When goal planning, deadlining is another crucial step in the goal achievement process.

Karl Kraus (1874-1936), Austrian satirist, once gave this definition of a journalist: "A writer whose skill is improved by a deadline: the more time he has, the worse he writes."


No offence is intended toward journalists. This satirical comment does emphasize one thing - a deadline gets results. It creates urgency, it sharpens thinking, it makes things happen.

Which goal planning exercise is more likely to be achieved?

Goal 1: I would like to take a vacation in the Bahamas sometime!


Goal 2: Six months from today I will be enjoying a vacation in the Bahamas.

Yes, deadlines crystalize thinking and increase motivation in the goal planning environment.

However, it would be a mistake to think deadlines perform miracles.

Setting a deadline by saying, "In seven days from now I will have made an extra $5,000" is not going to miraculously deliver unless you have a strategy and a realistic plan based on your present circumstances.

So when deadlining during your goal planning sessions:

  • Break the goals down into manageable stages.

  • Work out a reasonable time frame for the accomplishment of that stage and factor in a safety margin for unexpected delays. (This prevents disappointment and discouragement through missing the deadline.)

  • Put the deadline date for each stage in your computer planner or diary.

  • Get the deadline date from the last stage.

Your goal planning now has a final deadline for the accomplishment of that goal.

It has a high chance of being achieved.

You have planned, set reasonable stages, your focus is clear.


Keep the overall deadline in front of you daily as you accomplish each stage along the way and START!

If you miss the deadline . . .

Generally, when it comes to goal planning, the deadlines you set are for your own benefit.

It is unlikely missing a deadline will be a life and death matter.

So get deadlines in perspective and see them for what they are: tools to keep you moving and to inject a sense of urgency into your project.

If circumstances come up beyond your control that make you miss the deadline then re-schedule it.

Reschedule deadlines if necessary but keep your goal planning on track

Think it out and set a new date which is realistic, based on current circumstances.

The main thing is that your goal planning exercise is still moving forward and you have a framework to guide you.

Next, Step 5: Goal Objectives: Looking Ahead To Get Ahead With Planning

Back to Goal Setting 20 Minute Tutorial Index


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Tag: goal planning


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