December is here and with it comes a flurry of activities.
It’s easy to get swept up in the end-of-the-year frenzy.
Frankly, left to my own devices, I’m likely to ring in the New Year with a twinge of disappointment, if I don’t accomplish a couple of goals.
As I think about whether or not I want to invest the time and energy to get them across the finish line by yearend, I’m haunted by the following quote:
“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” – Jim Rohn
If you want to embrace 2018 knowing that you finished 2017 strong, I invite you to put these steps into action.
1. Get your mind straight
It’s easy to think “Well, the year is nearly over, I will get to that in January…”
This thought makes sense. Heck, there’s only a few weeks left. Consider revisiting your mindset and decide NOT to see the glass as nearly empty, but as 3/52 weeks full.
You have a whole 21 days or 300+ hours to put to good use. That’s enough time to:
- Invest 15 minutes per day to write hand written notes to over 40 people
- Read a great novel (or two)
- Begin a weight loss program and make some real progress
- Have an effective one-on-one counseling session with all of your direct reports (just like you always planned to do)
- Help a person who is dealing with a tough time
- Travel over 50 times to the International Space Station (each journey takes about 6 hours)
2. Set a goal (or two)
Now, pick a realistic, yet bold goal for yourself. Don’t go crazy; limit yourself to no more than two goals. Any more than that and you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
Be specific. Identify a clear starting point and finish line for each goal.
3. Put a concrete plan in place
Setting a goal is great, but you need to establish ‘how’ you are going to make it happen. Identify the key steps or activities you will complete and when you will get them done. Determine the standards of success for each step in terms of quality, cost, and schedule.
Write down your plan and put it in a place that you look at every day. The plan needs to be ‘in your face’ so it doesn’t get lost in the throws of December activities!
4. Find an accountability partner
I once conducted a study where approximately 250 people, who attended a training class, made commitments to implement what they learned.
15% of those, who made a commitment but failed to pick an accountability partner, stuck to their plan. On the other hand, those who asked a partner to hold them accountable achieved success more than 30% of the time.
- Pick an accountabilty partner to help you push the goal across the finish line by December 31st.
- Track your progress.
- Meet weekly to discuss.
5. Celebrate your achievement!
When December 31st arrives and everyone is counting down to the new year, take a moment to celebrate your December achievement!
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.