5 Reasons Why 6-Week Goals Are Better

The shininess of the new calendar will wane once we get closer to February… and all of those feelings of positive momentum can wear off as well if you’re not still motivated this time next month.

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Most people don’t even write down their resolutions anywhere meaningful, so looking back on 12 months in late December always feels hollow. In my experience with coaching professionals on goal-setting, the best way to shift your habits is to set out consecutive 6-8 week projects that feel motivating. Basically at the beginning and end of each quarter, you’ll set project goals and then measure them respectively.

Here are 5 Reasons 6-week goals are better than 52-week goals:

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1. Everest is too big to see clearly
I often tell guys that they’d quit on January 2nd if their goal is too big and distant. It’s not motivating, it’s terrifying. Turning your BIG GOAL into small chunks makes the process more motivating. It’s easier to communicate a small but sizable piece of the vision and hold teams, friends, or just the person in the mirror accountable. It feels more successful to crush a challenge that’s within sight, and those successes build powerful momentum.

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2. Makes you more nimble
At the end of a 6 week project, you’ll see how much things have changed, you’ll have learned what it took to succeed, and you’ll be able to quickly set a new goal based on that experience. Course-correcting – or “iteration” – can help you get over the chronic goal-setting cycles that afflict teams attempting to do too much. When I consulted at Southwest Airlines, the internal culture bragged about how nimble the company was… they felt like they were ahead of the game. If you’ve forgotten The Art of War, I’ll remind you what Sun Tzu said, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

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3. You get to Celebrate
If you’re building a corporate or team (or even a self) culture – and everyone is – then you will want to build in moments of celebration and appreciation. When you achieve a 6-8 week goal, it’s big enough to warrant a serious celebration. Your team will be glad for the mental break, and you’ll feel a sense of pride swell within your team (or yourself). That simple feeling can get start-ups through lean times and can retain great employees at mega corporations.

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4. You fail more quickly
Sometimes you look up in December and realize you’ve lost a year. You ask yourself, “what was I doing all year?” When you set 6-8 week goals, if you’re failing, you’ll know it with enough time to do some research and find a next best move. You can survive a 6 week failure, but a 50 week failure is dooming to your team, your business, or your personal goals.

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5. The right goal gets done first
If you set out a year’s worth of goals on the white board and then find the one that matters most to the bottom line (that can be done in 6 weeks), then you won’t get distracted by trying to move too many pieces at the same time. This kind of 6-week train of thought can provide a laser focus for yourself or for your team. If you’re in a startup environment, you’ll be wearing many hats everyday – that’s inevitable; but with a culture of 6-8 week project goals, you will start to naturally see what can wait and what needs to be done first. This has a cumulative effect over the year. You’ll get more done in the first 3-4 months than you are used to accomplishing in a year.

This article by Dale Thomas Vaughn originally appeared on The Good Men Project

{Image credit: Splitshire}

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