I recently took a position with a new organization that requires a specific professional certification within 6 month of my hire date as a condition of employment. Failure to obtain this certification within the designated time will result in termination. Period.
I’ve been in this new position for 4 weeks and have been studying a little every day for the certification exam, and making good progress. However, in an effort to make sure I’m focused in my study, I imposed a deadline by registering to take the exam on August 18, 2016.
For me, having a deadline causes me to be more focused and purposeful in my study, because I know the test is only a couple of weeks away, and I need to take steps today so I can be ready when August 18th arrives.
It is easy to slack off or lose focus during the pursuit of a goal if we don’t have a very specific target in mind. Consider the following goals many people have:
- To get out of debt
- To lose weight
- To start a business
- To write a book
My question to people that state these and other goals to me is, “By when?”
Without a deadline in mind, it’s just a desire or a wish that may or may not ever be started, let alone completed. If I ask someone the “By when” question and they instantly give me a date, the probability of them being successful is quite high. They have a hard deadline they are working toward, rather than just a lofty dream. A deadline provides the motivation, the game clock on the scoreboard, to let you know if you’re on the track toward reaching your goal.
Do you have a goal or objective you’re working on that could use the boost of a deadline? If so, set yourself a deadline and use it to help you make consistent daily progress in the direction of your goal.