Updated: Nov 24, 2018
This time of year gets busy for me. It is usually mid-September when many look at the calendar and then glance at their progress. We get calls from those who say one of three of four things: "Oh my goodness the year is almost over and we haven't _________________," or "This year didn't go the way I hoped; what do I need to do differently?" or rarely, "This year was so smooth and profitable that we need to figure out what we did and duplicate it," or most likely, "I can't keep living like this; I don't want to waste another year doing/not doing _____________."
The beginning of the fourth quarter of every year is a good time to evaluate and plan; the third quarter is even better. No matter what organization you are part of, you should be evaluating your accomplishments against your goals at least quarterly. We can get so busy doing the work of building a business that we don't notice the missed goals in the rear-view mirror. Regular evaluation of your work against your yearly goals will keep you from experiencing another kind of "October surprise."
The same is true for individuals. At the beginning of the year some of us promised to live healthier, lose weight, spend more time with family, or re-discover a passion, and it's almost October. Have you stayed on track, or did you get stuck back on the hamster wheel of work, problem-solve-for-everyone-else, mindless distraction by television or social media, and exhausted, non-productive sleep?
Whether you are part of a team, a business or a person, you can start mapping out the steps to successfully meeting your goal, NOW, not December 31st. Here's how I suggest you start:
Get out the plans you made at the beginning of the year. Those could be revenue and expense projections, weight-loss goals, vision boards (yeah, remember those?), or the journal you purchased and wrote in on January 1st.
Look at the above information and honestly measure what you did against what you said you would do. A simple yes or no answer to "Did I meet this goal?" is the next step.
Do the hard part: If the answer is no, identify the reason. Did you procrastinate? Was the goal not well thought out? Did you set a goal that was beyond the abilities of your team or your resources? Did you shift your priorities away from the goal so that you could accomplish something else? Was that shift the right move personally or professionally, or was it a distraction?
If you met your goals, don't coast. If the answer to the second item is yes, YAAY! Set a goal to build upon your success. Identify what worked, and what didn't work as well. Reach for what is next; in other words, Keep Going!
Whether you met all your business or personal goals, some of them, or none, make the adjustments you need to make and keep moving forward. Don't make quitting your option.