By Kara Mason

Your 4th Quarter Check-In: Finish 2020 Strong


Make the next 12 weeks really count.

Don’t wait. 

That’s the best advice I think I’ve ever received that applies to just about any situation, especially now as we’re reaching the final stretch of 2020 — a year that is undoubtedly one of the most challenging many of us have ever experienced. 

Plans have been canceled, trips delayed, work schedules turned upside down. If you’re already dreaming about what good things 2021 will bring, you’re not alone. But there’s plenty you can do to finish this year strong and build a strong foundation for those New Year goals come January 1st. 

Don’t wait to make goals or implement new routines that could improve your life. What they say is true: there really is no time like the present! The last quarter of the year is plenty of time to really achieve something great, especially if you have the tools to do so

Evaluate 

First, do a little check-in with yourself. Think of it as a fourth quarter personal audit. How are you feeling? How are those goals looking? 

Grab a notebook, pen and ask yourself some important questions. 

  • What did you want to accomplish this year? 
  • Have you made any progress? 
  • How were you able to do so? 
  • If not, what got in the way? 
  • Did you have an action plan? 
  • Was it realistic? 
  • Where do you want to be by December 31st?
  • How do you want to feel then? 
  • How have you felt when you were meeting personal goals this year? 
  • Are there habits you can continue?
  • Are there habits you should drop?

The great thing about spending some time to evaluate your year so far is that you may realize you’re not as behind as you thought. 365 days is a lot of time when you think about it, and it’s easy to forget about the big wins that happened way back in February. It’s really important to count your wins when you’re thinking about finishing the last quarter of the year strong. You’ve made it this far, keep that momentum going! 

There may also be goals you realize you aren’t as close to making as you maybe had hoped you’d be eight months ago. (Understandable!) Instead of beating yourself up or feeling frustrated, take this as a chance to really evaluate how you can still get there or to another place you’ll be satisfied with.

The most successful people are flexible, and evolve with where their goals take them -- remember, you learn so many things along the way that it’s normal for your goals to evolve as you get more information.

Also when we set goals at the beginning of the year we tend to be in a motivated state of mind. Maybe you weren’t being as realistic about the challenges (both external and personal) that you would encounter along the way. Now you know -- so what can you do to increase your odds of success, with a more informed mindset?

Instead of feeling like you’re unable to recover and get back on track, try to break up the remainder of your goal. What can you reach in a week? A month? Two months? What impact will those actions have overall?

Plan, plan, plan

Now that you know where you are, create an action plan. 

Are you prioritizing your goals correctly and the steps it takes to reach them? If you’re not already, work those into your daily/weekly/month schedule. If you’ve fallen off on some habits that were helpful throughout the year, now is the time to make them a priority. Others that weren’t so helpful, drop ‘em! 

It’s really easy to get caught up in a routine that doesn’t work, especially in the middle of the year when we aren’t able to focus and fine-tune the details as much as usual. But even challenging yourself to think about it can be the jumpstart needed to create a better plan.

The fourth quarter check-in is also a prime time to start looking at the year ahead. Maybe you don’t have your goals sorted out just yet, but you can start thinking about big events the next year will bring. 

Grab your 2021 Ink+Volt Goal Planner now to really get a head start. 

Simplify

Right now, as the season begins to change, it’s also a great time to think about ways you can simplify your life and create an environment for yourself that you can thrive in. Hanging on until the end of the year just for the sake of it isn’t doing you any favors! If you need a reset now, don’t wait! 

It’s easy to look around right now and make mental notes about what you want to change or improve come January, but you don’t need a new calendar year to implement new rituals that introduce efficiency and productivity into your life. 

Some manageable ways to do that: 

  • Unsubscribe: How clogged up is your email from newsletters that you never open or send straight to the trash? Audit all of those subscriptions and only keep the ones that are necessary. 
  • Unfollow: It’s okay to unfollow what no longer serves you, online and in real life. Scroll through those accounts or contacts and get rid of the clutter. 
  • Wake up with space: Even if it’s just waking up 15 minutes earlier, try to build some time into your day just for yourself or to create a buffer when things can become unpredictable. 
  • Let go: Most importantly, remember that it’s okay to let go. Delete the old computer files you don’t need, donate those sweaters you no longer wear. And don’t feel any ping of guilt! You’re making space for new opportunities, ideas, and rituals. 

Keep your chin up

There is no perfect year, and this one has certainly been far from it, but there are always ways to make the best out of the situation. If you’re not where you want to be, remember that it’s always okay to switch up the plan or even completely change your mind. Perhaps you aren’t the same person you were in January and your goals aren’t either. Time has a way of showing us what we really want sometimes. 

On the other hand, the fourth quarter of the year can be a great time to reset, re-focus, and re-energize your efforts. If you’re having a great year, don’t slow down now! Don’t wait! 

Now is your time to really make the most out of 2020.