When we hear the word “timeline” we often think about the “rules” around the right way to do goal setting. We are supposed to set goals that are realistic, are important to us and then we throw a timeline on it. Goals that are set each and every day vary as much as all the possible colour combinations from the rainbow. We talk about our goals and, if you listen, you will notice that people, in general, will share their goals with you as easily as they talk about the weather.
But I’m not here to write more about goal setting. I want to talk about timelines. What I have noticed in how people talk to themselves and others, is a strong self-beratement for being in a challenging phase in their life and how they are coping with it. At the core, there are a lot of “should’s” that live there. This may sound like “I should be over this”, “I should know better”, “I should stop crying”, “I should end this relationship”, “I should move on”….and the list goes on and on.
The word “should” is at the root of a lot of shame, guilt, and embarrassment. It implies that you are not where you are supposed to be and that you are bad for not doing something about it. Shame is a deep belief and fear that you are bad and wrong. But here’s the thing, we all have difficult times, it’s part of the human experience. We have all stayed too long, put up with too much, had pity parties, cried our eyes out, made bad decisions, and drank the Kool-aid once or twice. Punishing yourself with a bunch of should’s isn’t going to change anything and in fact, it will simply serve to KEEP you stuck there.
What can you change? Put a timeline on it. That’s right have your pity party and do it up hard. But set a timeline on it and then when that time comes, you are committed to doing something different. Want to self-sabotage? Go for it. Want to hate your job? Have fun doing that. Want to ignore all the signs that your partner might be unfaithful? Ignore away. Whatever you’re doing, all is good. BUT you must put a timeline on it. Will it be a day? A week? A month? 6 months?
If you don’t put a timeline on it, you risk years passing you by and the situation robing you of your life and joy. And there isn’t any situation on this earth that deserves to steal your life and joy for the rest of your life. Setting a timeline keeps you accountable to yourself and your needs and wants in life. You deserve to have a life full of joy, happiness, and adventures (big and small). Staying stuck in something without a timeline only serves to keep that situation/problem alive for way too long!