Welcome October!

Welcome to October 1st.

This date marks the start of the final quarter of 2018. For many of us this date signals a slight panic, a bit of worry and comments about how “Time is running away!” or “Where has the year gone?” and of course, “It’s nearly Christmas!”

Not everyone works to the calendar year in their business or career planning, preferring to focus on the financial year, or the date of their incorporation, or the date their accountant tells them to; still others use the academic year based on the nature of their business or job. A “year” can start and end whenever works for you.

However, the final quarter of the calendar year can be a fantastic motivating factor which encourages planning, which in turn helps to ensure we end the year on a high, focusing on the specific goals that we would like to achieve before the end of 2018, and moving into 2019 with a clarity of focus and purpose. 

I’d like to share some ideas on how you can end 2018 on a high, create dynamic action plans that ensure you move into 2019 with confidence and enthusiasm, whilst focusing on achieving our sales, marketing, travel, lifestyle, career, earnings, promotion etc goals. 

I call the 13 Rhythms action planning process “Look back, Spring Forward (I was going to type “fall” for my North American cousins, but we’re not aiming to “fall” into our goals – we’re going to work hard to achieve them right?!)

1. Reflect on things you’ve done well so far for 2018.

Congratulate yourself on what you’ve done well, your achievements and the goals you’ve reached – this is very important. Many of us are able to say what we haven’t done well, or where we’ve “failed” but we don’t take enough time to celebrate our achievements, small or significant. This is where I always start with action planning and goal setting. Start with personal recognition. 

2. Ask yourself “Have I achieved what I wanted to achieve this year?” 

Be honest here and use these as the goals to focus on for the rest of the year. The feeling of achievement from reaching goals and not taking “old stuff” into the new year will make you feel wonderful. It works wonders on the brain and calms the mind! You can have one goal, this is OK. 

Action Planning

3. Calculate the number of days or hours you can realistically dedicate to achieving your goals.

You could count your working days between 1st October and choose the 24th December as your completion date if you’d like. If you plan to work throughout the festive period, revise the date to suit your timetable. This is about you working to your own schedule…you’re aiming to have your goal achieved by 31st December of sooner.Block this time out in your diary and protect it. Ring-fence it. See this time working on your own goals as important as a client or team meeting that you wouldn’t move easily. Don’t be casual about this time you have scheduled for your own goals.

4. Create a list of what you want to achieve. Be S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.

Examples: “I want to get a new job in the new year.” or “I’d like to start selling more product in 2019.”

Both of these are goals, sure. I can understand what each person wants to do. However, we should be focused and S.M.A.R.T. about how we articulate our goals. So clearer versions of each of these goals would be something like:

“I want to secure a new role as a Finance Manager, paying £50,000 minimum, in a company based in East London by June 2019.”

This is a great goal for someone already working in finance and looking for their next role in this sector. Not great for someone who has no knowledge or experience of that sector and who lives in Brazil if they aren’t going to leave Brazil and move to London…! Seems obvious but often we create goals that are too general. Be as specific as you possibly can, as this makes action planning a whole lot easier.

“I want to sell more of my handmade cushions at handmade and artisan markets in London to take advantage of the Christmas gift market 2018.” See, specific.

5. Create an action plan that includes your specific goals.

There’s that word again. You will need columns for the goal, the actions and the deadline. Create an action plan that once again lists specifics. You want to be working towards your goal in small steps and manageable chunks.

A totally acceptable action is “Download the stall application forms for three London based, handmade product markets by 5th October.” Another action could be “Complete at least one of the downloaded application forms and email to Market Manager by 10th October.”

Create a format that works for you – the important thing here is that you have committed these actions to paper/iPad/tablet/notebook app and that you can refer to it easily and often.

Breaking down each action in this way means you will be crossing actions off your list regularly. This works wonders on our sense of achievement and organisation in completing tasks.

Action Planning 9

6. Tell others your goals.

This could be a friend, an accountability partner, a business coach, career coach or mentor. You need someone to check in with you regarding your goals to help you stay on track. Knowing someone else is aware of what you’re trying to do, and that you have to “report” to someone else about your work can be a great motivating factor to help you get and stay on track with your actions.

7. Identify a few key people that can help you achieve your goals.

You don’t have to do this on your own. In our examples, someone could hire a virtual assistant to complete some of the research and admin tasks to find the markets. Our aspiring Finance Manager could work with a career coach to help them identify the most suitable roles to apply for, and get support to use the right language for application forms. Access help when you need to and when you don’t think you need to. Support really helps…!

8. Plough through your actions and #GrabYourGoals.

If things don’t go to plan, recalibrate, adjust your action plan and deadlines and KEEP GOING.

If you would like some support to #GrabYourGoals – schedule a free, no-obligation Explore Call with me and let’s work together to achieve your career and business development goals. I look forward to speaking to you.

Let me know if there are any actions you’re taking to end your year on a high. Here’s to a fabulous final quarter of 2018…

Best, Natalie 

13 Rhythms.com

Action Planning 6

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