Tick… tick… tick…
That’s the sound of the end of the year hurtling toward us.
It’s a hectic time. And, the holiday season (with all its social commitments) seems to start earlier and earlier every year.
You might not be thinking about your goals at the moment — but, it’s actually the perfect time to do so. You still have plenty of opportunity to put the pedal to the metal, if you want to knock a big goal or two out of the park… even if you haven’t made as much progress as you wanted to at this point in the year. Yes, even with everything else you have going on.
The first step is to take a moment to reassess your goals.
Review the goals you made at the beginning of the year that you haven’t accomplished yet.
For each goal still on your list, ask, “Is this still relevant for me?” If the answer is No, then cross it off the list. Also, for each one, ask yourself, “Do I really want to do this?”
For example, maybe one of your goals was to write a book this year, and you haven’t even started. What kept you from it? If the reason is that you really just don’t want to write a book, then let that goal go. Completely. Don’t make excuses, and don’t let it take up mental space.
There’s no reason to feel bad. Things change. You should spend your time and energy on things that are really important to you.
For those goals that remain, you may need to adjust them a bit. For example, if you have any numbers-related goals, you may decide to adjust the number higher or lower based on your experience so far this year.
Alright, now that you have an adjusted list of goals you still want to work on, let’s get started. It won’t be difficult — and at least one of the techniques below is downright fun.
Time is precious, so let’s jump right in!
1. Think small.
For the goals that are still left on your list, arrange them from small to large. You’re going to plan to tackle them in that order, because you’ll be able to complete more of them quickly.
You might be tempted to focus on your bigger goals first to whittle them down. Or, some goals may be more important to you than others. Nope. Smallest goals first. This is how real progress gets made.
What if you only have big goals (like, say, writing a book or getting a writing certification)? Then break them down into tiny steps. Focus on completing each one and moving on.
2. Tell someone your plans.
Public accountability is a strong motivator. It’s always uncomfortable to be called out on not doing something you said you’d do.
So tell someone. Let them know you’ve recommitted to a goal(s) and you’re ready to make serious progress before the end of the year. Tell them what you’re doing to achieve it. Then set a check-in schedule, where you’ll tell the other person how it’s going.
3. Get organized.
By now you’ve decided what goals you’re going to accomplish by January 1, you’ve sorted them and broken them down as needed, and you’ve told someone about them.
Now it’s time to make them happen. Schedule everything out. Look at the holes in your calendar and start filling in time to work on these goals. If you need to adjust later and reschedule, that’s fine. There are no repercussions.
But, if you know you’ll forget to reschedule time to work on your goals, you may want to establish a rule for yourself: Goals can be moved, but not removed, on your calendar. That is, if you take any time toward your goal off the calendar, you immediately find a different time to reschedule it.
4. Use events as markers.
If you know you have a lot of social events between now and the end of the year, you can make them part of your goal-setting. How? By incorporating them into your schedule.
You might decide to have item #1 done by Thanksgiving, #2 done by the time of your spouse’s work party, #3 done by the time your child’s school break starts, and so on.
These events are more than just easy markers. It’s also motivating to be able to tell the people you’ll see at the events that you’ve made progress on your goals.
5. Start planning for next year.
Even if you don’t complete your goals by the New Year, with this plan you’re bound to make progress. And that means momentum. Use that to start planning out what you want to accomplish next year.
Come January 1, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running… and getting off to a strong start is a great way to set yourself up for a strong finish.
Bottom line is there are 365 days in a year. Don’t count out the ones near the end due to the holidays. You can make serious progress on your goals between now and the end of the year, no matter how busy you are. You just have to start.