Don’t wait for the new year

Photo courtesy of Gamma Man (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Gamma Man (Creative Commons)

I don’t stay up until midnight to welcome in the New Year with toasts and streamers and Auld Lang Syne.

I am not a fan of the end of the year countdowns of the most memorable moments, and list after list of things that have happened in the past 12 months.

I don’t make resolutions or declarations just because it’s a new year, only to abandon them in a few weeks.

To me the start of a new year is just a continuation of the year just ending. It shouldn’t be an excuse for grand changes that are impossible to sustain. Just like on a diet or exercise plan, you have to build up to it a little at a time, start good habits and do the work every day.

Yes, it’s important to have goals and vision in place, but they should be a logical extension of the goals and vision on which you have already been working.

The following are some ways I’ve discovered to stay on target with goals all year:

  • Regular reviews – pick a time-frame, such as the first of each month, to look back at what you have accomplished toward your goals. It will help you see how far you have come, but don’t stop there…
  • Make adjustments – look ahead at the next month to see if you need to adjust your plan to continue making progress on your goals. It’s ok to adjust, just don’t give up.
  • Build habits – if you aren’t progressing as you would like, what habits do you need to start or change to be more effective? And think in terms of small changes in habits to have the best chance of sticking with it. If you need quiet time to write, for example, don’t decide you’ll get up 2 hours earlier – you and I both know that won’t work. But try setting the alarm 15 minutes early. Get used to that and then maybe try another 15 minutes earlier.
  • Clarify – if your goals have gotten fuzzy, take some time to refine them. Make sure you have definitive steps to take to reach them, and that you have a crystal clear picture of what success or complete looks like. To have a goal of “lose weight” is vague, but “drop 2 sizes” is clear.

If you are serious about becoming better, then why wait for once a year to review your goals and to set new ones? Taking stock on a regular basis keeps you focused and gives you a chance to cheer progress more often.

How do you stay on track with your goals all year?

2 thoughts on “Don’t wait for the new year

  1. Constant reminders.

    I review my journal notes constantly for anything I might have written that sounds like a goal and make it a goal.

    Then I just look at it all the time and track it. If it’s a measurable goal with parts, I track the percentage complete daily or weekly. That keeps it on the forefront of my mind at all times.

    • Good plan Matt – as always, you are way ahead of most people. I need next steps, so instead of measuring percentages, I look at what’s the next step, then the next step and the next. Thanks for sharing.

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