So how was your year so far?
If you’re like most men, you probably worked hard throughout the year, yet still fell somewhat short of your goals for the year. Frustrating, but them’s the breaks.
Still, no matter how rocky your year has been so far, I’m pretty sure the fighter in you is itching to finish the year strong. And that’s what this article will do for you.
But that’s not all. This article will also help you perform even better in the year to come, achieving more of your goals with less time and energy.
If that sounds good to you, then let’s get to it. Here’s how to finish the year strong, AND get a head-start on the new year, with four tiny changes that will make a BIG difference in your life.
Change #1: Review Your Life’s Goals
Regularly reviewing your life’s goals is one of the easiest habits to start, but hardest to stick to. You’re supposed to set goals at the beginning of the year, then review them daily/weekly/monthly to stay on track… but it’s easy to forget, and then lose sight of your goals when you get deep in the daily grind.
So, here’s a tiny adjustment you can make: Review your goals every week at a time that’s totally convenient for you. It might be on Sunday night, before you head back into the grind on Monday. It could be on Saturday afternoon after you call it a week. If you work weekends, you could review your goals on Wednesday when you allow yourself to relax a bit.
The idea is to take the habit of reviewing your life’s goals, and then bake it right into your regular schedule. That way, on a regular basis, you can check on the decisions you made during the week and think: Did they line up with my life’s goals, or am I deviating from them? Am I wasting my time and energy on the wrong things?
This new habit will remind you of WHY you set your life’s goals in the first place. When you get lost in the daily grind, it’s easy to lose sight of your goals, but by constantly making sure you stay on course, you’ll stay laser-focused.
Change #2: Make Plans That Work for You
Many men make the mistake of blindly copying the goal-setting and plan-making methods of other people. This is okay if you’re trying to find the methods that work for you. But it’s NOT okay when you keep following methods that obviously DON’T work for you!
So that’s the second change: Find out what works for you, stick to it, and make it even better if you can. Don’t make the mistake of pursuing efficiency for efficiency’s sake After all, there’s no sense being efficient if you’re heading in the wrong direction.
Here’s something that works for most men: Taking a big goal, and then breaking it down into ridiculously easy milestones.
Let’s say you want to start running in the next year. You can break down that big goal into the following ridiculously easy milestones:
• Month 1: Get used to getting up at 5:30 A.M. every day
• Months 2-3: Get used to going on 30-minute walks, 3 times a week
• Months 4-5: Get used to going on 10-minute jogs, 3 times a week
• Months 6-7: Get used to going on 20-minute jogs, 3 times a week
• Months 8-9: Get used to going on 30-minute jogs, 3 times a week
• Months 10-11: Get used to going on 20-minute runs, 3 times a week
• Month 12: Get used to going on 30-minute runs, 3 times a week
You see? It may be hard to start running right away, but it’s easy to practice getting up early first. You can then gradually ease yourself into the habit without stressing yourself out too much.
That’s how you make plans that work for you.
Change #3: Finish First, Improve Later
Why do so many men work 50, 60, and even 70-hour weeks and STILL not get enough done?
The answer is simple: PERFECTIONISM. While it’s a noble desire to turn in good work every single time, perfectionism can turn even the simplest tasks into a drudgery that takes too much time.
So here’s the third change you’ll need to make: Instead of focusing on quality, focus on SPEED first. As the wise old saying goes, “Done is better than perfect.”
So again: Focus on speed first. Get the task done to an acceptable level, and then move on to the next task. Later, if you find yourself with extra time, you can go back and see if you can improve on the tasks you’ve already finished – but even then, it may be wiser to simply start working on your next responsibility.
Remember: Life is short. The more you get done, the farther you go in life before you retire. So don’t waste any time getting things perfect – just get things DONE.
Change #4: Keep a Journal
What happens when you lose sight of your goals? The daily grind becomes meaningless. You work for months and years, making the same mistakes over and over, going in circles and wondering why you’re not getting any closer to your goals.
Let’s stop wasting time, shall we? One of the easiest ways to stay on track is by taking 15 minutes every evening to write in a journal. Basically, you take a notebook and write down:
1. What went wrong during the day, and why
2. What went RIGHT during the day, and why
3. Three things you’re thankful for
Keeping track of the things that drive you toward your goals, as well as the things that hold you back, is CRUCIAL to success. By recording your performance, you don’t waste any time with trial and error, and you decisively make adjustments to maximize your results.
What’s more, simply listing down three things, people, events, situations, etc. that you’re thankful for is a wonderful habit – it keeps you grounded on reality and focused on your goals.
Work Hard, Get Results
As the year draws to a close, take another look at your goals. What goals did you set at the beginning of the year that you haven’t quite reached yet? What can you do NOW to close the gap a little, and give yourself a head-start on the new year?
Get a sheet of paper and get to work:
1. Write down your goals
2. Make a game plan for each goal, consisting of ridiculously easy milestones
3. Get to work, focusing on speed rather than quality
4. Every evening, write down a journal and find ways to be better tomorrow
Now, go and finish the year strong!
Photo credit: Getty Images