What is it about the turning of the calendar from December 31 to January 1 that makes us think that we suddenly have the ability to exercise more, spend more time with our families, and get organized?
There is nothing magical about that switch from one day to another, yet most of us continue to set ourselves up for failure by vowing to be different people in the new year.
Here’s a much more achievable way to make changes to your life: set quarterly goals.
On January 1, figure out what small changes you want to make over the next three months. Write them down, and figure out what the first step is to getting those goals achieved.
Throughout the next few months, each time you accomplish one of those steps, go back to your list and write down what the next step is. If you find that one of your goals was not realistic, rephrase it so that it can be accomplished by the end of the quarter.
When you accomplish a goal, be sure to mark it off on your list — and don’t forget to celebrate!
On April 1, revisit your list. Remove any goals that you have accomplished, and rephrase the ones that are partly accomplished so that they reflect the new effort required in the next three months. Add any new goals that you want to work on.
Was there a goal that you did not work on at all during the first quarter? Ask yourself why. Was it too ambitious? Perhaps you need to scale it down and try again in the 2nd quarter. Did you discover that this was not the right time to work on this goal? Take it off your list and try again in the future. Was this goal completely unrealistic for you? Let it go.
By repeating this exercise every quarter — on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 — you should be able to make concrete changes. A year from today, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say, “Look how much I accomplished over the last year!”
Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, prosperous, and organized new year!