As the year comes to a close many of us will pause to reflect about the past year. For some of us, it may have been an incredible year; for others, it may have been filled with struggles, changes and hardship. To some it may just be another year ending and another year beginning. For myself, it has been a year full of changes. In April I was the newest team member at Boomer Consulting; by November I was transitioning into an entirely different role.
As time moves forward I am continually learning, growing and changing to reach my goals. As part of looking back, I also see all of the changes and goals that I did not meet. As I think about why I was unable to meet these specific goals, I begin to notice a common trend. Like many others, I started off with the best intentions. But as life got busier and time ticked away I pushed goals to the side and didn’t take the proper steps, thereby sabotaging any chance of meeting my goals before the end of the year. As the New Year approaches I’ve identified five tips that should help me, and perhaps you, to conquer our annual goals.
Plan of Action
Develop a plan of action and WRITE IT DOWN! When thinking of the goals you would like to accomplish, be they personal and/or professional, it is important that you write them down, with a clear starting point and milestones set. These steps will help you clarify what it is you are actually trying to accomplish and the milestones will help guide you to take action towards reaching your goals.
Check points are a great way to pause and reflect on your goals to make sure they are not being pushed to the side. During this time you can reflect back and get reenergized by seeing the milestones you’ve already accomplished. You can also run a “reality check” to see if your time line is still accurate or if conditions outside of your control justify making updates to your plan. What setbacks and roadblocks have you experienced? How did you handle them? How are your financials? Is this costing more/less than originally anticipated? How can you handle your finances moving forward to reach your goal? Check points are a great way to reflect, refocus and recharge on meeting your goals.
Motivation and Energy
When you are setting your goals and developing your plan of action it is easy to start off being motivated and energized for the New Year. How do you keep that momentum as the year moves forward and the busy session begins?
In order to stay focused and motivated, it is important to find your natural rhythms and to evaluate how you work throughout a given day, week or month. Are you a morning person? Schedule meetings in the afternoon and try to leave your mornings open for focused periods of work.
It is also important to understand what keeps you going and makes you happy. For instance, for one person it may be that every six weeks they need to schedule a day off to go play golf; for another it may be every five weeks they need to schedule a massage to unwind. Although it will be different for each person, the principle is the same: give yourself little rewards!
Schedule Your Entire Year
A great way to help hold yourself accountable to your plan of action and to keep yourself motivated is to plan out your annual calendar in advance. Schedule designated times for when you want to reach your milestones, check points and actions to keep you in a rhythm and energized. While this may take some time upfront, it will help in the long run to have time set aside and to keep you on track.
Take Time for Review
Lastly, even though you will use check points throughout the year, it is still important to set aside some time at the end of the year to review your goals. It is important to remember that even if you did not reach your goal by your designated time line, it does not necessarily mean that you failed at your goal.
You should also reflect back on what you have learned about yourself and your work. Include the successes and the setbacks and roadblocks. Note how you overcame the obstacles and identify ways to continue to improve your plan of action for reaching your goals in the future.
I’m looking forward to using these five tips to make my next year my best year ever!