Just as businesses have business plans, your life should have a life plan. This is really nothing more than a list of your personal goals and your timeline for achieving them. In order to create this, we’re going to run your list of requirements (short-term goals) through the S.M.A.R.T formula, which again stands for:

S:        Specific
M:       Measurable
A:        Attainable
R:        Relevant
T:        Timely

Go though the list of requirements you created in the last step, and check that each line item is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Refer back to the previous step for details on each guideline.

Assign specific dates to the completion of each requirement, working from the present time into the future. The simplest way to do this is to:

  • Prepare a list of all your short-term goals in chronological order, leading up to your long-term goals. Your short-term goals may be in increments of as little as a few weeks or days apart, depending on their complexity. Your long-term goals will likely be 5-10 years out. It’s ok to estimate at this point; once you start checking-off your short-term goals, it will be easier to hone in on more specific dates.
  • Schedule dates on your calendar for each of your short-term goals, as well as the steps in-between. For example, if you need to take some college classes, note on your calendar the dates by which you must apply to the college of your choice, enroll in classes for the upcoming term, and pay your tuition, as well as the days and times of your classes and any important tests or major projects. I recommend putting at least the next 3 months’ worth of goals on your calendar – or even better, six. I’ve been known to schedule up to a year in advance for certain things.
  • Assess whether your timeframes are still accurate. Block out a few hours each month to review your progress and adjust as necessary.
  • Do it. As these milestones come up on your calendar, complete them and then mark them off your list. This is one of the most exciting and fulfilling pieces of the whole process. Every small task you check off means you’re that much closer to the ultimate you. And don’t forget to reward yourself along the way. The pleasure you take in the journey will make the end goal that much sweeter.

Excerpted from:

Starting A Business 1-2-3
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Module 1: Research and Development