063: How to Finish the Year Strong

Did you realize we are in the last 90 days of 2019? And not only that, we are closing up the last year of a decade. What? I’m not sure where the last 10 years went, are you?

About this time last year, I released an episode about how it isn’t too late to set goals during this time of year. I shared how we are really more productive setting goals 90 days at a time. And since we are in the last 90 days of the year, it is the perfect time to set new goals or finish up ones that you’ve started but not completed.

Often we get to this time of year and think it’s better just to coast to the end of the year and start over on January 1. I can see why we tend to do this. The last quarter of the year is very busy with activities ramping up after the summer season, the holidays that take up so much of our time, and just the feeling that time is rushing by.

However, I believe if we are intentional about setting some goals and working on them these last days of the year, we will be able to set ourselves up for even greater success in 2020. We can finish this year strong by being diligent in how we spend our time.

Let me share some examples from my own life and then I’ll give you some ideas to think about how you can finish this year strong.

A few episodes ago I shared my focus on getting my eating under control by the end of this year. And while I still have a long way to go, I have been making progress on that goal.

However, because time is passing by quickly, and I’ve had a much busier September than I had anticipated, I’ve got to make a plan for this last quarter to make sure I achieve my goal by the end of the year.

And in regards to The Planning Woman, I always make plans for each quarter that include work I want to accomplish that is done on a weekly basis and also includes goals I have for different projects I’d like to get completed in a quarter.

Right now, I’m working on a new product and service that I’m going to be rolling out next week. So doing this launch along with keeping up with my weekly work, I’ve got my hands full for this quarter.

So how am I going to go about achieving these goals in the last 90 days of the year?

Three steps to make progress on your goals by the end of the year

Decide what goal if you were to achieve it by the end of the year would make the biggest difference in your life. 

For me on a personal level, it is getting my eating under control. Yes, I could focus on exercising, and I will be trying to exercise more. But focusing just on my eating will bring the biggest difference in my life.

The way I see it is that if I can get my eating under control by the end of the year, then I’m setting myself up for greater success and change in my health in 2020. Because if I achieve this goal, then I can begin to work on other aspects of my health in 2020. Does that make sense?

For The Planning Woman, my focus on launching this new product and service will allow me to expand my business in 2020. It is giving me a new avenue in my business to pursue as well as giving me a way to tie together all of the aspects I want to cover on The Planning Woman.

Make a plan.

If the goal you’ve set for yourself will most likely take the full 90 days to complete, then you can break up your goal into 30-day increments. Before you do that though, be realistic about how long you think it will take. Because according to Parkinson’s law, work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. 

If we give ourselves 90 days to complete a goal, it will most likely take 90 days to complete it. So I challenge you to really think about how long you want to give yourself to complete the goal. If there is any way to shorten the time frame, then I’d suggest you do it.

Because think of it this way, these last 90 days of the year include all the holidays. Typically our productivity goes down once Thanksgiving hits. And the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day is typically a black hole. 

So if you are able to at all, I would suggest trying to get your goal completed by Thanksgiving.

Ok, back to our discussion of how to make a plan. Let’s go back to my goal of getting my eating under control. I’ve decided that I want to be consistently meal planning and choosing healthier foods by Thanksgiving. As of today, October 4, I have about 8 weeks to get this done. 

So I’ve created a list of steps I need to complete that will help me to achieve this goal. 

  1. I need to make a list of foods and recipes for a meal planning resource. Ideally, I’ll come up with at least 30 different meals so I can make meal plans that are not repetitive. And they will offer a variety of different kinds of foods. I’m setting a deadline to get this done by the end of October.
  1. Part of this goal entails not eating out so much. This will require me to look at my calendar for the next few weeks and see when I have to eat out because of certain obligations. Then when I make my meal plan for each week, I can add in a night to eat out. Making it a part of my meal plan should be helpful in cutting down on the number of times I have to eat out.
  1. I need to track the habit of meal planning in my habit tracker. My goal is to do it once a week. So having a place to track that to see if I’m being consistent should help me out overall. I think that if I am able to check off meal planning each week for the next 8 weeks, no matter how perfectly or not so perfectly I do it, I’ll develop the habit and will begin to see good results.

So what does this mean for your goal? Well, you need to figure out what steps you need to take to complete your goal. Then you need to set deadlines for each of those steps. 

Now you may have some steps like mine that will take some days and weeks of consistency to see results. And that’s ok. You just need to be aware when you’re not doing what you should do to see results. 

Back to my meal planning example. If I notice after a couple of weeks that I’m not able to check off that I’ve planned meals for the week, I need to reassess what I’m doing. Because obviously what I’m doing is not working. Staying on top of each step you need to take to complete your goal is key to your success.

Live it out.

I’m all too aware of how easy it is to make plans and never follow through with them. After all, I named my website The Planning Woman because I love to plan. Following through, though, not so much!

I’ve called this podcast Live It Out With The Planning Woman in the hopes it’ll keep me accountable to carry out the plans I’ve made.

So that being said, this step of living out your plan is truly the most important. It’s where you’re going to see actual results and be able to achieve your goals.

Because I’ve had a hard time following through with my plans so much in my life, I’ve been researching ways to help me stay on track so I can follow through.

First, think about what your life will be like if you don’t follow through with your plans. For me it means I’m still going to be unhealthy, I’m still going to be overweight, and I’m still going to be frustrated with my life.

So it’s very important to me that I achieve my goal.

If you figure out that your life may not look too different if you don’t achieve your goal, then you may be pursuing the wrong goal. 

Second, you’ll want to eliminate as many obstacles as possible. Often when we attempt to achieve a goal, obstacles will pop up and get in our way. Or we become distracted by other things. So it’s important we know how to deal with them.

I know that I’ll be facing the obstacles of overwhelm in meal planning, food preferences of my family, and taking the time to meal plan. I’ve got to analyze these obstacles and see which ones I have control over and how I can overcome them.

The same is true for you. The more obstacles you can identify and plan for ahead of time, the better off you will be.

Episode 63 of Live It Out With The Planning Woman.

Third, enlist the help of others to achieve your goal. Often we cannot achieve our goals alone. We need the help of others.

I mentioned one of my obstacles is the food preferences of my family. So one way to overcome this obstacle is to enlist my family to help me pick out meals. This way I’m not trying to come up with meal ideas I hope everyone will like. If each of my family members shares their favorite meals, then not only will I have several ideas for my list, then I’ll be ensured they like them.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when it comes to achieving your goals. You may have to think creatively to see who can help you, but I promise it will be worth it.

I hope you’ve been able to pick up some tips that will help you achieve a goal by the end of this year.

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