It’s Time To Think Milestones, Not Finish Lines

Marc Bilodeau/ Core Beliefs, Subjectivity

When it comes to things I do, I try to find the joy in the entire process. In my opinion, it’s a shame when someone just pushes through big projects while only focusing on the goal. It seems the excitement dies quickly once the main goal is achieved. I think it’s important to engage in long term endeavors where there isn’t an end, but a path of continuous improvement. Therefore, I set milestones to keep myself immersed and mindful in my personal and professional work. The experience becomes deeper and more fulfilling. Furthermore, the joy and learning it brings continues indefinitely using the simple trick of setting milestones.

A milestone is a significant event or a stage in life, progress, or development. The idea is to breakup the goal into smaller chunks of work to complete in progressive steps. These smaller chunks are milestones, and each milestone has its own actions and tasks to complete. This makes it much more manageable and not as overwhelming as the overall goal may seem.

Why set Milestones?

Far too often do I see people set lofty goals. However, setting milestones allows for progressive steps toward a larger endeavor. For example, it may seem overwhelming to run a marathon. However, a person can stay on track by setting milestones along the way.

A first milestone may be to walk a mile three days a week. After a couple of weeks, the next milestone could be to run a mile without stopping. Using the same three times a week from the first milestone, each day a person runs a little more and walks a little less until the milestone of running a mile non-stop is achieved. From there, increasing the distances could be a series of other milestones until they build up enough running distance to complete the entire 26.2 miles.

Thankfully, milestones are malleable. They can change due to new information or unaccounted events. As one milestone is complete, it’s important to reflect on the experiences of what works and doesn’t work. Then, assess the next milestone, and if needed, adjust accordingly. In short, goals become more achievable.

Goal Achieved, What’s Next?

So, what happens when the goal is achieved? First, it’s time to celebrate. However, when the excitement wanes, it’s time to look toward the future by setting the next milestone. The next milestone may simply be to maintain the status quo for 1 week, or it may be a new goal that builds upon the previous achievements.

Regardless, it’s important to continuously have a milestone in order to maintain or improve upon any gains from achieving the goal. Especially if the goal relates to new skills or a level of competency.

Conclusion

Always think in milestones. Very seldom is something worth doing that only has a start and a finish. Life is about enjoying the time we have, and anything worth doing should have a purpose and enrichment to our lives. When setting up to achieve anything, break it into milestones. Work toward each milestone and reflect on it’s successes and failures. Then, adjust the next milestone if necessary.

Avoid crossing the goal’s finish line and stop. Always set the next milestone to improve, maintain, or alter the course of any well deserved accomplishment.