To Achieve Your Life Goals, Set Clear Milestones on Your Path to Success

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo de Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” – H. Jackson Brown

Sometimes reaching a goal feels miraculous, like a quantum leap. But if you look closely, you’ll notice that the goal was attained by moving from one step to the next. To make steady progress, it is critical to define steps and time frames along the way. Time frames allow you to assess your goal, determine your progress, and take corrective action if needed.

Many people make the unfortunate mistake of not setting clear milestones or well-defined steps with clear time frames while trying to achieve their goals.

I have found that it is best to define 90 day milestones. Why 90 days? It’s long enough for you to achieve meaningful progress (rather than a 30 day time frame, which can sometimes be too short). But it’s much shorter than an annual milestone, thus allowing you four times in a year when you can measure progress and take any required corrective action.

My example for this series has been to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, so I set my first 90 day milestone to be able to walk 1 mile in 30 minutes. Remember in the beginning I could hardly walk to my mailbox and back so this was a big goal at that time. My next 90 days goal was to walk 4 miles in 2 hours. You get the idea; I just keep increasing my goals incrementally until I reached my desired fitness level for the trek which was the ability to walk 1 mile in 15 minutes and to be able to sustain that pace for at least 10 miles.

If your goal is audacious enough you may not even be able to imagine what your plan should be at the 1 or 2 year point in time but that’s OK because every 90 days you will re assess your plan and decide if you have set your sights too high or too low.

You will probably find that in the beginning you will underestimate your capabilities and set your goals too low but as time goes on you will get better and better at figuring out what your next 90 day step should be. Your next 90 day goal should be a stretch but not so difficult that you fail miserably and become discouraged.

Now it’s your turn.

In the context of your huge goal, define your clear 90 day milestones to achieving your goals. Exactly where do you plan to be in the next 90 days? Write that milestones down and be as specific as possible so you can easily tell when you reach them. Then continue on and write down your milestones for the next 90 day period of time and on and on until you think your planned goal will be met.