We all begin the new year completely inspired, don’t we? A new year represents new opportunities, second chances, and the support of twelve long months. With these ideals in mind, we’re ready to be and do it all. We ‘hit the ground running’ by setting important goals and creating strategies for achieving them.
But then, somewhere along the way, distractions happen. Before we know it, we’ve only got a few months left to do what would have definitely taken twelve. In the fourth quarter, this dismal realization can seem kind of overwhelming. However, there is a silver lining. If we shift our expectations and commit to specific results, we can put achievement in proper perspective–even in the final few months of the year.
1. Respect the discreet window of time. Without the benefit of charting your progress over the course of an entire year, you will need to reset your expectations around results. Specifically, this means evaluating the quantity and quality of results that can be achieved in a shorter time period. A productive way to accomplish this is by sifting through your goals to determine which opportunities are ripe for an intense, yet finite period of focused efforts. This kind of analysis will require you to be selective in category as well as scope. So, assess and prioritize without skimping on the quality of the desired outcome.
2. Know the difference between a result and a strategy. We create goals because we have a specific result that we seek to achieve in mind. A goal is not an abstract desire; it is a specific outcome that can be measured. The ‘how’—the way forward towards achievement–is the strategy. Naturally, it contains fundamental steps and processes, all geared towards getting us closer to our desired result. Unfortunately, however, these concepts are often confused. People mistake strategies for results and get bogged down in the ‘muck and mire’ of constant striving with nothing to show for it in the end. To avoid this misstep, be clear about your results and differentiate them from the strategies that drive them.
3. Commit and raise your standards. When time is of the essence, a new level of commitment is required to achieve results. That means raising your standards. It won’t be easy, but must be done if you’re serious about achieving results. Committing means becoming laser focused on the goal(s) at hand and removing distractions likely to sidetrack you. It means prioritizing your efforts, even when competing interests encroach on your time and resources. It means saying no to distractions (across the board), getting less sleep, and working longer, harder, and smarter than you’ve worked before. But in the end, the difference will be having something tangible to show for well-placed efforts–a piece of gold that represents achievement and new possibilities for the future.
Are you contemplating setting a few important goals between now and the end of the year? If so, ‘hat’s off.’ Use these tools to develop your motivation and decide to close out the year stronger than you started it. The bonus? You’ll also create an important momentum for setting and achieving all of your goals in the coming year.
To your success.
Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq. is the founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport, an international consulting firm specializing in professional development. Follow her on Twitter: @wsrapport or visit her website, www.wordsmithrapport.com.