What was on your list to do last year that you never did? I’m asking about both professional and personal goals here.
Was it important?
If whatever you didn’t accomplish wasn’t important, forget about it! I don’t care how many people you told, if it wasn’t important and you never got to it, don’t waste another brain cell thinking about it!
If it was important, figure out why you didn’t accomplish this important task. If you can’t find the cause, you can’t eliminate the cause, and your goals this year are likely to suffer the same fate.
- Was your goal too general? It is tough to accomplish something if you don’t know what “done” looks like. Specifically, what will be different when you are done? Be more specific next time around.
- Was it too big? You walk a mile the same way you walk across the room – one step at a time. Break big projects down into tangible steps and take one step at a time. What will be different when you are done with the next step?
- Did the year pass too quickly? Set deadlines, determine what steps are needed, and work backward to see when and how fast you need to move. Put these things on your calendar. You need a realistic and specific plan.
- Were you missing information, techniques, skills, or resources? Figure out what you need and how you are going to fill those gaps. These steps have to be part of your plan.
- Did you lack discipline? The first step is acknowledging this as the cause. Then go back to the question about importance. Remind yourself regularly why you made this a priority. What will accomplishing this goal do for you? If focusing on the reason for the goal isn’t sufficiently motivating, you need to figure out what is. Rewards? Punishment? How about an accountability partner who will read you the riot act if you fail to deliver each step of the way?
- Did something outside your control prevent you from achieving your goal? Careful now. This is the most common excuse in the universe. It also makes you a complete victim and victims lose. Don’t be a victim. Figure out how to make your goals happen. Yes, you may have to adjust your timeline. You may have to find new resources. You may have to cut some corners. Just don’t give up and blame someone else.
Not sure what you didn’t do?
Not even sure what was important to accomplish last year? Shame on you for being so disorganized! If you want to accomplish something that will really make a difference for you in the new year:
- Decide on the top 1, 2 or 3 achievements that would have the biggest impact.
- Write them on a sticky.
- Stick the sticky someplace where you can’t miss it.
- Schedule specific actions on your calendar that will get you to your goal even if the first action is simply to figure out a first step.
- Use those priorities to guide your decisions about how you spend your time.
If your priorities change, change the sticky. If you achieve a goal, change your sticky. Just be sure you don’t finish the year with nothing to show for those top priorities on your sticky!
There is and always will be too much to do in this world. You can be a helpless victim of those circumstances or you can set priorities. If you want to achieve something and not just fill your days with activity, you need to:
- Know specifically what needs to be accomplished
- Schedule time to make it happen
- Say ‘no’ to many, many distractions with ruthless determination
Ya gotta wanna!