As we inch closer and closer to the end of the year, we begin to focus on the upcoming one with excitement and yearning. THIS is MY year! How many times has that been exclaimed? We meet January 1st with an enthusiasm unlike no other. A shedding of the past year and a clean slate placed in front of us. Our goals may seem big, but that is okay, we have plenty of time to achieve them.
This is a cycle I have watched in repetition for too many years to count. I was even a participant in it, in the past. It is like we have imagined the rolling over of the clock at midnight on December 31st as some form of magic wand. Yet, by the time April has rolled around we are in the same place we were the year before, behind on our goals.
It is more common than not to be behind at the end of the first quarter, in business or personal goals. But we do not panic, we buy into the “plenty of time to catch up” mentality. This is what is derailing us, year after year.
If nothing changes, nothing changes. There is no magic flip of a switch. Not in the sense we are expecting. The flip, the shift, must take place in ourselves, in how we plan and act on our goals.
2020 showed us clearly that goals we create in January are not necessarily going to be relevant in September. So, how can we plan to set ourselves up for success?
Bring it more near term; into 90-day cycles. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my 3 biggest challenges right now?
- What 2 things would make the biggest difference in my business or personal life, right now?
- Are these new challenges, or are they the same ones I have had for a period of time?
By starting with these questions, you can select goals that are relevant to you RIGHT NOW and create plans of action to accomplish them over the next 90 days. We typically get derailed because we either do not know where to start, or when we do start, we try to do everything all at once. When you are planning your actions, list out everything you can possibly think of that you could do to achieve your goal, and then select only the critical few things that you need to do. Less is more. Intentional, consistent, committed action is much more effective verses being mediocre at many actions. Operating in 90-day cycles allows you to focus on your goals in front of you and say no to things that are not aligned with them. You are not saying no forever, just for 90 days.
At the end of the 90 days, do a recap. There is no failure, only information, so dig into the lessons learned over the past 90 days and take them forward into a greater informed future. What worked? What did not? What information did we gather? Then ask yourself the top 3 questions again and plan your next 90 days of action. This gives us many benefits. Action on what matters most to us NOW, a renewal of activity and focus just like we experience on January 1st, and a sustainable sense of urgency that is empowering and energizing.
Are you thinking, “that sounds well and good but what if I am still not gaining momentum”? This is where you want to look at your knowing/doing gap.
If you are consistently taking action that you KNOW is not what you need to be doing, this requires some additional exploration. Our thinking precedes our actions which draws to us our results. Only 5% of our actions come from our conscious thinking. 95% is fueled from our subconscious thinking, our paradigms.
Hence, the knowing/doing gap. Your knowing is fueled by the 5% in your conscious mind, but the doing is fueled by the 95%, your subconscious thinking.
We are habitual creatures. Have you ever felt like you are just on autopilot? Or considered the routines and habits you have, and whether they are moving you closer to your goals or away from them?
When you dig into your knowing/doing gap, then you can start to identify the underlying thinking that may be derailing you.
Here is an example that many of us have faced. We make the commitment to ourselves to get healthy in the new year. January 2nd, we head off to the gym to begin our journey, the same as we have for the past 5 years. This time it is different, we tell ourselves, consciously. But deep down, in our subconscious thinking, we are telling ourselves “you haven’t done it in the past”, or “you don’t know what you are doing”, and that is why it is so common for us to have dropped off on the consistency to our goal by the end of February.
You want this year to be different, and it absolutely can be. Here is how to start:
- Start planning and actioning goals in 90-day cycles. Check out the book “The 12 Week Year”. I read this book and it changed my life. It is just as effective in personal goals as it is implementing it within a team or company.
- Track your knowing/doing gap for 90 days. What are the things that you continue to do that you know take you away from getting the results that you want?
- Replace your thinking, your auto-pilot paradigms, that are not empowering you. Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) is a powerful and effective way to reshape your subconscious thinking to align with your success.
Remember, nothing changes if nothing changes, and the first step to moving forward is identifying where we are the ones standing in our own way. Commit to your goal for the next 90 days. Review your actions weekly to see if the key actions you identified are moving you toward your goal. We put the brakes on ourselves. I encourage you, especially in a time of uncertainty and rapid change, to stay connected to your vision and every day keep moving forward towards it.
About Cheryl Himburg
Cheryl Himburg is an ambitious coach for your personal success and an accomplished catalyst for your career or business growth. A certified mindset and leadership coach, Cheryl leverages her corporate experience and training as a certified NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) Practitioner to empower her clients to shatter their own glass ceiling and achieve ambitious results. Your next level requires the next level of you. You don’t have to get there alone. You can connect with Cheryl on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.