Do you have a project in mind? Do you have a goal?
It doesn’t matter because as long as you don’t set a date, this is just a dream, a project that simply means nothing until that date is set. Until a date is set it’s only happening in your mind. There is nothing that will remind you and push you to do it.
When I ask my friends about their goals, they answer with things like:
- I want to lose weight, become fit;
- I want to go back to school;
- I want to start my business;
- I want to travel…
We all want something from life, right? For some people it’s love or a family; for others, it’s to be recognized at work, building a business, etc. We all have goals. That was the easy question. Then, I ask them the real question, the though one:
I don’t know if you are like that, but when I ask “when”, most people answer by excuses:
- I can’t because I have young children;
- Not now, because I don’t have the money;
- Later… one day… for sure!
Yeah… right. The what is often easy to find. The problem is most people think about the how for a while but then they find tons of reasons to quit or even put their dream on a shelf and forget about it. But what you need to find after the what is the when. Set the date, then you will find out how you are going to make it.
Just put a Date
I know, it sounds easy, optimistic, and borderline cosmic. But if you put a date to your project, you are going to make it happen. After a good bottle of wine on my terrace during the summer of 2014, my wife and I decided we would go on a 12 months trip around North and Central America. This was the what.
Right after making this decision, we fell into the “how trap”. We rapidly drafted a list of a dozen reasons why we couldn’t leave:
- We have young children, it will be complicated;
- They can’t miss school;
- I have an important job/career, I can’t leave without jeopardizing what I have built;
- I will get fired if I talk about this project at work;
- We have a house, who will take care of it?
- We don’t speak Spanish;
- Many countries in Central America are very dangerous;
- Drinking water isn’t safe there;
- We never had an RV before;
- I know nothing about mechanics, if I have a mechanical problem, I’m done;
- I don’t have the money to leave for a year;
- I’m afraid…
But instead of focusing on those reasons and putting our dream on a shelf, I told my wife that we needed a date: June 2016. This would give us nearly 2 years to figure out how we can overcome all reasons and obstacles behind why we couldn’t leave. By having a deadline, we started working on solutions instead of focusing on problems.
On June 11th, 2016, we left for what happened to be the most amazing year of my life. We spent a whole year with the people we love the most, traveled the world, lived incredible experiences and came back as better individuals.
Why adding a date to your project make it happens?
All we needed was a date, a deadline. We started focusing on achieving little tasks to meet our deadline instead of wondering if we should do it or not. Each completed tasks brought us closer to our project. The reasons why we couldn’t leave were real at that time but it doesn’t mean they will continue to be real in the future.
Having about 20 months to go before our departure; we broke down the necessary steps and put them in order. Each month, we had a specific “to do” list to check off. We naturally arrived in June 2016 and everything was ready for us to leave as planned. I can’t really explain it, but we made everything happen on time. The power of having a deadline is incredible.
Let’s try it again
We have been home since July 2017. Three months later, we already want to do it all over again. This time, it will not be for a full year; this is not something we want to do now. Instead, this time around we would like to go for 8 to 10 weeks starting in January 2019. Our goal is to visit Thailand and possibly Bali during this period. As you can see, the project isn’t exactly determined yet. But there is one thing that is certain: we are leaving in January 2019 for a little more than 2 months.
Then again, kids are at school, I don’t have the money (yet) to leave, but I’ll make it happen. Now that we have a date, anything and everything is possible!