As an overachieving goal-setter, I love big goals that result in gigantic leaps forward, but I’m choosy about when I commit to them because I’ve found that lofty goals are easier to reach if I pursue them at the right time.

For example, once, I wrote 40,000 words in 20 days. In theory, this means I could handle NaNoWriMo, when writers all over the country attempt to honor National Novel Writing Month by writing 50,000 words in November. However, as November rolled closer, I had projects I was excited about and believed I needed to complete to forward my writing career… hammering out a novel in a month wasn’t one of them.

It’s not that I don’t need to keep writing novels. I do. But my heart wasn’t in this challenge, and I recently set my focus on growing my writing career in other ways that I can’t put on the back burner just yet. So, I told my competitive nature to cool it, and I passed.

I did this because I know a better time will come for me to write my book. Writing is my passion, and my heart will be drawn to the enormous task of getting a novel on paper–and fast. There will be a time when my time resources aren’t as stretched. So, I’ll wait until I can go into the challenge with some inspiration and with the necessary energy and time resources to succeed.

Whether you’re a writer or not, I’m betting there’s something in your life this applies to. You might be trying to tone up, make extra loan payments, or find a better job. The world is full of opportunities and challenges and goals you can chase. The question is, is this is the right time for you to whole-heartedly pursue that goal?

Think of big goals like they’re a rope in an obstacle course. You can’t just jump onto it whenever. You have to wait for it to swing toward you. Timing is everything.

While you wait, take other, normal steps toward your goal. Not all progress comes quickly. In fact, most of it is built slowly over time. Sometimes, if you try to rush when you shouldn’t, you’ll end up moving backwards instead. And it’s the normal steps forward that will eventually put you in the right place to take a leap.

But, of course, though you can wait for a good time, you cannot wait for a time when success is guaranteed.

If the goal is grand enough, success will never be guaranteed.

What markers do you use to tell when you should tackle a big goal and when you need to wait?