The end of summer is here and fall is just around the corner. Kids are going back to school, work is kicking back into gear, the leaves are beginning to turn, and the weather is getting cooler. Underneath the renewed bustle of activity, there is a feeling that something is ending and beginning at the same time. Change is in the air! That makes September a great time to regroup, reflect, and make a plan of attack for the remaining months of the year.
If you haven’t achieved the the goals you set for yourself way back in January — or if you never made any! — don’t be discouraged. There’s still time, and nothing feels better than pulling out a success in the last few months of the year. Here’s an exercise you can do in an hour or two during one last day at the beach. Follow these six steps to put yourself on course, and in a few months, you’ll be dancing across the finish line of 2015.
Step 1: Make a List
Did you make any new resolutions last January? What did you swear you were going to make happen? Write down everything you wanted to accomplish this year, but haven’t yet. They can be as small as spending more time with family or as big as reinventing your career. Be realistic, though. You only have a few months to make it happen!
Step 2: Rate Your Goals
On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being “consider it done” and 1 being “haven’t even started,” assess where you are on each goal. You might find that you’re at a 6 when it comes to your exercise plan if you already belong to a gym and go there every once in a while. You might be at a 1 on your money goals if you vowed back in January to be debt-free and you haven’t made a dent yet. It’s helpful to be honest and even humorous about your rating. You’re not judging yourself, you’re just telling the truth. Just figure out where you stand on each goal, so you can make informed decisions about what to do next.
Step 3: Figure Out the Failure
Take an honest look at each goal on your list and figure out why you gave them the ratings you did. What happened? I teach a concept called Personal Integrity®, which occurs when you align your heart, mind, and body with your dreams — ultimately keeping promises that are directly connected to what you want. If you haven’t succeeded at a goal or dream, the issue is likely to be found within those three different aspects of you. Was your heart not in it? Were you not smart about the plan? Did you just get a little lazy? Your honesty in this assessment will carry you far, and I can’t stress enough — failure is not a dirty word.
Step 4: Make the Cut
It’s time to be realistic. You may realize that you’re not committed to a particular goal or dream anymore, or that you need to put it off for a while for other reasons. Tell the truth: Own up to the areas where you fell short this year and forgive yourself so you can move on. For example, “I’m giving up on trying to buy a house this year. I didn’t save enough for the down payment.” Take it off the list and let it go for now. You can always pick it up again in January! Don’t put anything on your list that you don’t absolutely love and want to make happen right now.
Step 5: Make a Plan of Action
Pick three or four goals from your list that are the most important to you, and remember to consider why they still havn’t been done (heart, mind, body) as you start making real-time commitments. Goal-oriented promises with deadlines and consequences are psychologically the most effective way to make your dreams come true. For example, if it’s your dream to get a better job by December 31, that means making weekly promises to research, network, and job-hunt. If you don’t make good on your promises, lose your wine with dinner the following week! The right consequence for you will sting just enough to keep you on course. Listen in on our live Career Game Plan tele-talk for more tips on how to do this effectively.
Step 6: Create a Vision of Your Success
Picture yourself in a few months celebrating New Year’s Eve with friends and feeling proud about how you finished the year. Come up with a toast you’re going to make about how you succeeded at your goals this year. Write down the scene and put it somewhere you’ll see every day. Share it with your friends. Reread it often, but especially when you need a little mojo in October or November.
No matter what time of year it is, it’s never too late to do this exercise, and it’s never not incredibly motivating. Enjoy the process of pushing yourself through these last months of 2015. You can set yourself up to feel proud regardless of the number of wins you collect by December 31. True happiness and fulfillment doesn't come from what you get, but from what you give of yourself.
Lauren Zander is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.