What is one thing you could do by December 31st that would give you a huge sense of accomplishment?
We tend to view the end of the year as a time to wrap up and close up shop. Sometimes we’ll feel great about the progress we made on our goals, other times we’ll feel regret at letting them fall by the wayside.
One thing's for sure: life doesn’t always go as planned, there will always be circumstances beyond our control.
But what we can control is our ability to keep going forward and to know that there is always a chance to turn things around. Plus, you don’t have to give up on your goals just yet. In fact, the end of the year is an optimal time to refresh your goals and power through, and you’ll have just enough time to get impressive results.
Here’s why: the end of the year provides a built-in, inflexible deadline. Whether we like it or not, the current year will be in our rear view and the new year will be on the horizon. Use this concrete deadline to your advantage, allow it to give you the urgency you need to finish strong.
End of the year goals are also great if you struggle with procrastination or self-doubt. So often, we delay getting started because we question our ability or talent. We’re too frightened by the prospect of failure that we don’t even give ourselves the opportunity to succeed.
But when you have a limited time frame, you won’t waste time listening to your inner critic or putting things off until tomorrow. You have to start right now.
Feeling pumped? Here are some strategies you can use right now to make progress on your goals, build new habits, and finish the year strong.
Modifying your big goals
So how do we make progress on a big goal in a short amount of time? Answer: create micro-goals.
Micro goals are so satisfying because you can knock them off quickly and use that sense of accomplishment to keep going and build more wins.
Here are some ways that you can take your current big goal and chisel them down into achievable micro goals.
- Big goal: Write a screenplay
- Micro goals: Finish your outline, organize a writer’s group, get feedback
- Results: By the time the new year rolls around, you’ll have a strong outline and can hit the ground running when you start on your script.
- Big goal: Run a 5K
- Micro goals: Run twice a week, join a running club or find a running partner, buy workout clothes; create running playlists
- Results: If you stick to running twice a week for 30 days, you will have successfully created a new habit and you’ll have the endurance to build up to a 5K run.
- Big goal: Get your dream job
- Micro goals: Update professional website and LinkedIn profile, take a class that will help your professional development, reach out to people in your field
- Results: You’ll be well-positioned to start applying to jobs once January rolls around.
Introduce a new habit
You can also use the end of the year to start building new, positive habits that will serve you well in the new year.
New habit goals:
- Clean your house once a week
- Create a meal planning routine
- Develop a meditation practice
- Take a yoga class
- Read a book a month
- Do morning pages every day for a month
- Take a daily 1 hour mindfulness walk
Incorporate something new and fun to your routine
Goals don’t always have to be geared towards your career or personal development. Sometimes you just want to have fun, try something new, and expand your horizons. Here are some examples of “fun” goals:
- Try a new recipe a week
- Host an outdoor dinner party
- Take a dance class
- Start a record collection
- Keep a field journal
Set regular milestones
To ensure that you stay on top of your goals, create daily or weekly milestones so that you have something to regularly pursue. Ask yourself what a successful milestone would look like to you.
Some examples of milestones include:
- Cleaning your house three weeks in a row
- Working on your screenplay outline an hour a day
- Taking a weekend to update your LinkedIn page
The great thing about implementing micro goals is that they are easily measurable. You’ve either updated your website or you haven’t worked on it. When things are measurable, you’ll have an easier time getting started.
Also, it’s important to give yourself rewards on a regular basis so that you stay motivated to see your goal through until the end. Positive reinforcement can get you through those times of self-doubt or when obstacles arise.
Make sure to log your progress in your planner. Record every time you practice or do a specific task. Once you see a visual representation of your progress you’ll feel that much more excited to keep going.
Create an action plan
Focus on a set of micro goals and then create an action plan to help you follow through and realize them.
For example, if your goal is to have a regular meal prep routine, use our Ink+Volt Meal Planning Pad to help you get organized. Figure out which meals you want to prepare and on what days. Then, break it down further: make a list of recipes, ingredients you’ll need, and schedule the day you’ll start meal prepping.
If your goal is to run three times a week, use your Ink+Volt Fitness Planner to schedule your training. If you write it down, you’ll be more likely to commit to it. Part of your action plan can also be to create a contingency plan for when challenges arise. Make a list of back up activities you can do in the event of bad weather or when you’re feeling tired. When you have a strong plan in place, you’ll increase your chances of success, and you’ll have measures in place when circumstances change.
Figure out the area in your life in which you’d like to finish strong. Maybe you want to use the last few months to make strides in your professional development or maybe you want to use this time to incorporate lifestyle changes that would benefit you in the new year.
What you do at the end of the year can provide you with a strong foundation to ensure that the next year will be your best one yet.