Are you following the 6-Month Rule for Setting Goals?

6 month goal calendar

Six months can be a long time, it is half a year, 180 days, 6 months, you get the idea. It can be a long time.   However, six month ago seems like it just occurred. Time often seems subjective.

I recently read an article on Inc that reenergized my thinking. The article written by Josh Linkner was entitled “Crush All Your Goals With The 6-Month Rule.” The whole premise of the article was “what you learn today, you can fully apply in six months.”

He talked specifically about his college study of jazz composition and performance where he was told by a wise professor that the music he was learning that day would be the music he could play in six months.

When I was eight years old my parents bought a piano (which at the time was a huge financial sacrifice). They wanted each of their kids to learn at least one musical instrument. I took lessons for 8 years – some years more willing then others.

Each year Sister Putman would hold an annual recital. 6-8 months prior to the recital she would show up to my lesson with 3-5 options she felt I would enjoy playing. She would play each song and then let me choose which one I wanted to perform. The music she chose was always just a little bit beyond my current skill level.

At the time it was very annoying, but looking back I can see the wisdom of her actions. Over the next couple of months at the beginning of each lesson she would play the song for me and then work with me to improve my performance. Some recitals went better then others, but somehow I always managed to learn the music.

I would work on other music during the six months, but was asked to focus at least ½ of my practice time on the recital piece. I don’t remember how faithful I was at following this instruction, but can see how the focused intensity of that action pays off.  Working towards performance goals give you measurable success.

Not everything can be learned in six months, however, six months is a great starting point for learning virtually any valuable skill. How much Spanish could I learn in six months if I focused 5-7 hours a week? How much would my content writing skills increase if I focused exclusively on writing for the next six months? How fit would I be if I exercised and ate healthy for 6 months?

What foundation are you lying today that will help you accomplish your goals in life?

Or another way of looking at it.

What type of person do you want to be in six month? Are you reviewing your long term goals and then setting short term goals to accomplish your dreams?  I’ve got a lot of personal goals, but one goal I’m actively working towards is making this blog profitable in six months. I’ve got the goal, but I’ve never really sat down and laid out a specific course of action. At this point I haven’t laid the groundwork to have a profitable blog in six months.

It is much easier to dream about stuff then actually roll our sleeves up and actually do the work that is required to be successful.

I remember at 24 making the decision to return to school for a MBA. As horrible as it sounds I chose to go back to school because I knew I would be in the same place two years later, but would at least have another degree to show for it.

You know what, I was right. Two years later at 26, I was still single, living in the same house, similar friends and had the same job. I had my degree though.

Those two years were hard. I worked full time and attended classes in the evening. I remember a lot of late nights, a lot of skipped social activities and very little free time. That one decision completely changed my life. I knew if I could get through my MBA program I could accomplish anything.

Every day we make decisions that lay the groundwork for where we will be 6 months, 5 years and 10 years in the future.

Are you laying the groundwork to be the person you want to be in six months?

Photo Credit:  Dafne Cholet