As we embark on the fourth quarter of the year, I’m thinking about finishing the year strong. We have four more months to grow, recover, start new endeavors and advance our goals to the finish line.
The fourth quarter is always packed with activity, both in business and personally. In business, we’re developing the next year’s budgets and long-term goals. Personally, families are preparing for labor day cookouts and family gatherings, then it’s time to start thinking about fall festivals, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The fourth quarter is essentially a wave goodbye to the dog days of summer and evenings on the porch, and a hello to year-end plans. However, many people procrastinate and then they don’t want to plan for the last quarter goals, they just want to relax and drift into the holiday season.
I urge you not to succumb to exhaustion. Goal setting does not have to be overwhelming. It can actually be stress-free. Here are few tips to get your mind pointed in the right direction:
1) Limit your goals to three. If you hit those goals mid-way, you can always set an additional goal.
2) Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and have a Time Frame.
3) Celebrate! With each goal, identify something that you will do for yourself to celebrate you reaching that goal.
The key to reaching your goals is to establish action steps with each goal. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in setting the goal, that we don’t follow through with action steps. Nothing can be achieved without action. It’s not enough to wish something would happen or visualize it happening. You have to actually do something. Then, you must continue to follow through to keep the momentum going. Include milestone steps along the way to remain focused on your main goals.
I know a lot of people who say they operate best under pressure and “off the cuff,” without planning anything. While that may be true, you may find that you’d be even more successful with some thoughtful planning in play.
You know the saying “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”