How is your year going so far? When was the last time you took stock? For those who have them, New Year goals or resolutions were set a long time ago and yet another year approaches fast. If that fact horrifies you, it probably tells you a lot!
But there’s still time to get back on track, still time to have a strong finish to your year. September is certainly a natural moment to do that, to check in with yourself and your priorities; in the Northern hemisphere at least, people’s mood shifts after the summer, colleagues roll back in after their holidays, signs of autumn start to appear and that old ‘back-to-school’ mentality calls us to attention. Like New Year or the start of spring, this new season has a ‘reset’ button quality to it – the chance to start again. So how can you make sure you still ‘win’ this year?
1) Pinpoint Potential Disappointment
What is it that horrifies you or frustrates you when you see the end of the year approaching? Where did you want to be by now (in any area of your life)? What had you hoped to accomplish? What would you really regret not accomplishing?
2) Jump Forwards
If the end of the year were here, now, what would allow you to say that it had been a phenomenal one? Or a meaningful one? Or that you turned it around at the close? What do you want to be able to say?
3) Jump Back
What’s got in the way so far? What has prevented you from achieving what you’d hoped to? Be honest with yourself – give yourself some tough love! Equally important, where have you been successful? How can you ensure that those conditions continue? What’s been working for you?
4) Know Your One Thing
I can’t say that I religiously follow or agree with every recommendation within its pages, but I love the book The One Thing by Gary Keller and its focusing question ‘What’s the one thing that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?’. Or for our purposes, we could ask what’s the single most important thing that needs to happen in your life by the end of this year? The priority above all others. Recognise it, remember it and pursue it. Everything else is secondary. You can also ask yourself – what will it take to make that happen? Who do I need to be to make that happen?
5) Conduct a Personal Audit
I think it’s helpful to have the one thing above all others, but you may of course have other outcomes you’d like to create in the weeks ahead (yes, only weeks – not long!). Or perhaps this is the first time you’ve actually paused to even consider what you want at all. In this instance, identify different aspects of your life, such as career, health, relationships, children, fulfilment and rate your satisfaction/performance level out of 10. Which areas most require your attention? And if it’s not obvious what needs to happen next – what would a 10 look like? Or what would even a 0.5 or 1 point increase entail?
6) Connect to Your Context
To expand your perspective and to generate further ideas, ask yourself:
- What would my boss/manager want my priority to be? What will have the biggest impact on my career or my performance at work?
- What would my significant other want me to focus on by the end of the year?
- What would my future self want? My colleagues? My kids? My clients?
And if you are unsure, perhaps that’s an indication to talk to them, to find out.
Whether you are feeling fired up or overwhelmed at this point, identify your next step. Right now. This can be as simple as booking in time to reflect on these questions further, setting phone alerts to remind you of your priorities or committing to a particular action. You may also find my earlier blog post useful Focus – Where is Yours Going?
And if you think you would benefit from working with a coach at this time, take a look at our Coaching Services. To book a series of Skype or in person coaching sessions, do contact us directly as we offer reduced rates where multiple sessions are booked. For now though, wishing you a strong finish to the year!