Recently, I wrote about how 100 days is the perfect amount of time to achieve a key life goal. It's enough time to accomplish something big--but short enough to be able to see the finish line from the start, and to discourage procrastination.

I've done these kinds of 100-day challenges a few times: studying for the bar exam, running a marathon, even persuading my wife to marry me. These challenges work. And, after the article, quite a few readers contacted me. Together we launched a mutual 100 Day Challenge--one that starts next Tuesday, October 10, and ends 100 days later, on January 18, 2018.

About 50 people have signed on so far, using a Facebook group to keep one another honest, provide support, and achieve goals. Maybe you'll be inspired to join too. Here's how it works.

Lose weight, write a book, get more clients ...

Among the most popular goals that members want to achieve:

  • Lose weight and improve health (quite a few!)
  • Run a successful crowdfunding campaign
  • Write a book (or at least a draft)
  • Start a podcast
  • Increase sales or get more clients
  • Launch or test a business concept
  • Achieve a personal goal (relationships, etc.)

I'm doing a challenge too: conducting fifteen 60-minute interviews that I'll need to write the first draft for a new book project.

However, the goals are less important than the fact that people are doing it all together and offering support for one another. By sharing the same milestone dates (more on that below), the hope is that we will keep one another honest and on track.

Five easy steps, 100 challenging days

There are really five steps to this 100-day process. (They're spelled out in greater detail in my article, Got 100 Days? Here's How to Achieve a Key Goal Before Your Time Runs Out.)

First, you'll want to identify a goal that is (a) worthy, (b) quantifiable, and (c) at least "arguably achievable."

Next, you'll want to really force yourself to question the goal you've come up with. Seriously, take some time on this. It's no fun to go through this entire 100-day process only to realize you chose the wrong goal.

Third, map out the milestone dates. There are four of them--see the next section of this article for details.

Fourth, schedule the quantifiable markers you'll need to accomplish by each date in order to succeed, and finally--

Fifth, track your outputs. In other words, act, and be scrupulous about recording your progress.

Day 1: October 10

Starting a 100-day challenge on October 10 means mapping four milestone dates. The first three are the 30-, 60-, and 90-day marks. The last, of course, is the 100th day.

As they teach in the U.S. Marine Corps, the human brain is optimized to track (at most) three things simultaneously. Thus, we divide most of the challenge into thirds.

The remaining 10 days are meant to be either a failsafe--an extra slice of time to help you achieve where you might have fallen short--or a week-plus celebration. Working from October 10 therefore, the milestone dates are:

  • October 10: Start
  • November 9: Milestone 1
  • December 9: Milestone 2
  • January 8: Milestone 3
  • January 18: Finish line

Again, it truly doesn't matter what your goal is. On November 9, some in the group will hope to be a third of the way toward losing 10 pounds; others might hope to be a third of the way toward writing 100,000 words; others might hope to be a third of the way toward starting a business. Others will be working toward something that hasn't even occurred to me.

The point isn't the goal itself; instead it's the idea of achieving consistent progress, which in turn helps you achieve the goal.

Envision the future: January 18, 2018

By January 18, 2018, for my personal goal, I plan to have interview transcripts running more than 100,000 words--fodder for my new book. Others in the group plan to have lost 10 or 20 pounds, or to have built the first stages of a business, or to have achieved other quantifiable goals.

There's a big emphasis on quantifiable goals. No, wishy-washy "I want to get better at playing guitar," in other words; the goal has to have specific, measurable objectives. We want black-and-white markers, so you'll know at the end whether you achieved them. (No cheating!)

The finish line will have an actual finish, and you'll appreciate that at the end. It'll be either a chance to bask in a bit of glory or get ready for the next 100 days. Sound good to you? Check out the group, and let us know your goals in the comments.