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6 Steps to Finish the Year Strong and Build Momentum for the New Year

runner-woman-finishlineJust under a year ago you had high hopes that this year would be full of amazing things and this would be YOUR year.

Sure you got some things done; did some good work; but are you sure you’re going to end things on a high note or will it be something off-key?

It’s easy to allow ourselves to get distracted by the holiday season ahead and use the excuse that “nothing much gets done at this time of year” to just limp to the finish line.

You might have used a variation of that excuse at different times of the year…spring…summer….the World Series….football…this list is really endless when it comes to excuse-making opportunities.

Whether your business is off-track or you’ve had a successful year, my guess is there’s still something that needs to be done that would wrap this year up powerfully and set you up for a great start to the new one just ahead.

Here are 6 steps you can take to move forward now to finish the year on a high note and to set you up for more success in the coming year.

  1. Identify the most important actions you could take in your business that would help you make it to the next level, get you important results, or set you up for a successful start to the year.

Set a timer for 3 minutes and then write or type everything you can think of. Don’t judge. Don’t edit. Don’t even correct your spelling. Just do a massive brain dump.

  1. Whittle the list down to 5 things that would make the biggest impact. Don’t get rid of the other stuff because you identified it for a reason. Save that somewhere else and reflect on it later.

Make sure you don’t wuss out and pick things that just keep you feeling busy but really wouldn’t make much of an impact. For example, “Learning how to use Twitter” is not going to help you and your business make a big leap unless you’re a giant retailer with a big list and you haven’t started using Twitter yet.

3. Cut down to the single most important thing – it’s likely the thing you’ve been procrastinating about most – and it should be something that only you can do. And yes, I realize this is when you start getting nervous and looking for reasons to not take action. You’ll tell yourself, “I have to…” or “I don’t know how to…”and think up something that will distract you from the big thing.

This is the voice of the gremlin I call “Mini-Me”.

This little creature believes that making progress is scary and wants to keep you right where you are.

Your objective at this point is to recognize Mini-Me’s antics and then start making small movements forward. This will help her / him realize you’re in control and are going to be ok.

Funny how resistance rears its head as you start making more and more progress.

  1. Think about what would define success in that project or task by the end of the year. What would you need to do that would help you either finish this year strong and feel good about it or set you up to start the new year off successfully? Capture this somewhere – a journal, Evernote, One Note….

One of the biggest reasons we struggle to achieve our goals is that we don’t have a crystal clear picture of exactly what we want.

“More” isn’t crystal clear. A penny is more. A sucky client is more.

If it’s easier to think about what you don’t want then focus on that first. The point is that you should be able to give such a clear description of what you want that an artist could draw a picture of it.

Your brain needs to know what it’s working towards and what it’s supposed to focus on.

Without that sort of clarity it’s left jumping from idea to idea because it’s wondering “Is this it?!”, “Is this it?”

Help your brain focus by giving it extremely clear direction.

  1. Get going! The hardest step is to actually take action. Some people can take a big leap and some things are easier to make a big leap with. Most of us – for most things that would really move us forward – find it hard to take even the smallest step. Tony Robbins talks about how humans typically move to escape pain. So somehow you’ve got to recognize that the discomfort of change is worth it because staying where you are is just too painful.
  1. Keep moving! Ever wonder why you can get started on a new habit and then suddenly revert back to your old behavior (which might be just doing nothing?) The answer is in resistance.

Remember Mini-Me? Well as we begin to move closer to our goal Mini-Me suddenly starts realizing what’s going on and s/he’ll raise a big stink. It’s easy to revert back to your old behavior of getting distracted, creating drama, over-scheduling yourself, or whatever other unhelpful behaviors you normally start embracing.

The key to making lasting change and to really achieving your goals is to keep moving.

Whether you call it persistence, stick-to-it-iveness, determination, or something else, the critical element of achievement is in maintaining momentum, recognizing resistance, and remaining aware so you can course correct to get refocused on the goal.

By doing those things, you continue to take action and ultimately achieve your goal.

So stop reading this and get going.

Remember, it takes clarity and consistent action to achieve your goals, finish the year strong, and set yourself up for success; so start with being as clear as possible.