How’s your New Year plan working out?
Are you sticking to your resolutions? Have you mapped out the whole year with key milestones to hit each month / quarter? Do you have a BIG vision and know exactly where you’re going?
You have? Woohoo! Brilliant! Go YOU!
For the rest of us mortals, welcome to the grim reality of January…
I find the first 3 months of the year hard enough, without adding punishing resolutions, so I tend to go pretty slowly when it comes to goal-setting at this time of year. Having just emerged from lots of indulgent eating, drinking and socialising, the thought of planning a whole year makes my head spin.
The first quarter of the year can be challenging for me and many of my clients. Some of us are affected by SAD, so January to March in the UK can be pretty brutal. (Btw, if you do suffer from SAD, get a good light box — I don’t think I’d be here without mine.) Everything in nature is resting, so in the ideal world, we’d do the same. We’d sleep longer, do a bit less and wait out the long, dark days until Spring arrives when we can be more outward-looking and productive.
From a commercial standpoint, not many of us can afford to do this, so this is a good time of year to put some plans in place to ensure we attend to our agenda (rather than that of others… which is really easy to do if we’re not clear about our own goals).
So, how do we honour our natural urge to hibernate whilst also staying afloat in business?
I love to plan a two-week ‘stroll’ (they’re supposed to be called ‘sprints’, but that sounds like a Spring / Summer energy to me, so ‘stroll’ is my word of choice at this time of year.) Between now and the end of March there are approximately 6 fortnights, so all I have to do is plan my first fortnight. Then I do a quick review of what worked and what didn’t work, before planning the following fortnight. That doesn’t sound too onerous, does it?
Having an overview of the quarterly outcome makes it easier to plan 2 weeks at a time. We can test some things, run a quick pilot, try out new behaviours and quickly recognise what works and what doesn’t. No big commitment, no grand resolutions, no hard and fast rules—we’re experimenting and going with the flow. This 2-week time frame makes it easy to make course corrections and helps us more likely to make progress.
- Spend a bit of time (max 25 minutes) considering what you want to have achieved by end of March 2019. Jot a few things down, draw a mind map, doodle some images, or record yourself musing — whatever plays to your personal style.
- Do a quick timeline of what needs to happen (very broadly) during each of the 6 time periods.
- Plan the first fortnight (consider including daily goals and 2 or 3 key tasks, or simply set a broad intention). Hold it lightly.
- Schedule 30 minutes or so on Friday 19th to review the results of this first fortnight. E.g. What worked? What didn’t? What felt good? Where / when / how did you get your best results? Do you need to tweak your quarterly goals? Where might you need to course correct? Where does it make sense to focus your energy for the next fortnight?
- Plan the next fortnight.
Do let me know how you get on.