If you have something you want to accomplish, you set goals. I want to lose sixty pounds. I want to save a thousand dollars towards a trip. Those are good goals as far as they go, but they aren’t useful because they don’t include deadlines. The deadlines to choose are those that are reasonable. I want to lose sixty pounds by the end of the month, is not a reasonable goal and deadline combination. Unless you are deathly ill, you aren’t going to make that deadline. I want to save a thousand dollars by the end of the month is doable but is it reasonable? Not if you only make seven hundred dollars twice a month. Setting both deadlines to a year makes them reasonable deadlines. A year is a long time and we often need something to shoot for and that’s where interim deadlines come in.
So, we can set interim goals and deadlines. How much weight can you lose in a couple of weeks? Everything I have read on the subject says two to five pounds a week is a safe rate to lose weight. Say the deadline we originally wanted was four weeks away, we can set our interim deadline to that date and adjust the sixty pounds down to eight to twenty pounds. Twenty seems like a lot and I would adjust it to ten pounds by the deadline. That’s reasonable and you stand a better chance of achieving that.
The same goes for writing. I set interim deadlines for my writing projects. In November, during NaNoWriMo, I set a goal of two thousand words per day in the project. That goal is doable for me, but the challenge itself sets interim deadlines for the participants. They say you should reach ten thousand words in the first seven days, twenty-five thousand by the end of fourteen days, and thirty-five thousand by the third week of the challenge.
Interim deadlines help us to stay on track with our writing – or whatever project you are working on – and helps us to reach the ultimate goal. It might take some finagling to get the right deadline, but using interim deadlines to help you progress to your ultimate goal is one of the best options you have to accomplish your goals. They give us smaller targets to shoot for and that is the whole point of things. We work best when we know what we are working for.
Sometimes we need to take smaller steps to get where we want to go. We will get there when we want to get there if we take those steps and make ourselves accountable. Can’t write every day? Give yourself a deadline to write a specific number of words by. Set up an interim deadline and strive to get the task done by that deadline. Then set another one and work toward that. Suddenly, you will find your original deadline looming but the work is only the interim goal you’ve been setting for yourself. Good luck, you will make it.