Start Strong. Finish Strong.

The beginning of the year is the most inspiring time of the year. People are motivated and they have set goals for themselves. This time of the year often gives us the privilege to make and hear these lovely affirming statements, about how this year is going to be the best year ever. The unfortunate part though, is that the start is strong, and yet the finish is sometimes not that strong.

So I decided to write to you for the first time in 2014, at the beginning of February. Just to make sure you don’t lose the strong start momentum. So I am going to give you four questions to ask yourself, just so you can ensure that you are still on the right path. If you are not, you might need to go back to the drawing board and plan again. Remember, we are into the second month of the year, it’s not too late.

Resolutions are a nightmare for every achiever. For a very simple reason; break down the word resolution and you get the following: RE and SOLUTION . The RE is a prefix from the Latin language, which means again, or again and again. Solution is a fix to a problem. So together the original meaning is; to find another solution to the problem. Which basically means, resolutions have nothing to do with setting new goals, they have almost everything to do with solving a problem of goals that were not achieved. Goals that are not achieved end up as problems that need solutions . Now there is nothing wrong with having resolutions, all you have to do is just plan better. So from where I am standing you have to approach the year in one of two ways;

  • As a NEW goal – which could mean you have devise methods and strategies of achieving what you want for 2014.
  • As a resolution – which could mean, the methods you used in the previous years didn’t quite work for you, you need to find new ways to get to what you want to achieve.

The question I want you to reflect on is;

1. Is my 2014 goal a new goal or is it a solution to the goal not achieved in the previous years?

At the end of every January, we hear the same de-motivating thing; “How far are you with your goals?” That’ s a bit unfair though isn’t it ? I mean the year just started and already some people expect you to be half-way through or at least somewhere with your goals. Actually, it isn’t unfair. The problem with goals is that unless they have a HOW, and the HOW is implemented, then they are not going to happen. And that has been our problem for many years. We didn’t sit down and define our strategic how. This is the reason, we got to the end of the year, for many years, and we finished weak.

2. What is my strategic HOW – How am I going to make this happen?

How would you eat an elephant? A bite at a time. But an elephant is big, and if you are going to finish it, you have to plan how much you are going to eat, and how long it is going to take you. And that is exactly how your yea r should be, one step at a time – going through one gate at a time. The vision you have is not going to be achieved at one go, you have to break it down into realistic chunks. So for instance, you had this great idea in January, that is your realisation month so that rules out that month. December is not really a working month because people are in holiday mode an d you really can’t do much with all the festivities that are going on . So that ideally leaves you with 10 months in the year, ruling out January and December. In your timeline, work around achievable and realistic goals for 10 months. Break down your goals to suit you and what you want to achieve at the end of the year.

3. What is my goal time line – what am I going to achieve when?

Every goal works towards a specific bigger picture. Which is why you cannot chop and change your bigger picture every year. In most cases you won’t achieve your bigger picture in just one year, but the goals that you have set for that year, bring you closer to your bigger picture. They build you a momentum of greater achievement. So that’s what we need to be comfortable with, it’s okay not to achieve your bigger picture in just one year only if you have achieved certain goals that bring you closer to it. Professional athletes who are long distance runners will tell you that they don’ t start the first lap with great speed. They let the momentum build up and nearer to the last lap they increase their speed so that they can win the race. There has to be a specific point where you increase your speed so that you can achieve your bigger picture, but it might not happen in the first lap, you might have to take one lap as it comes and increase closer to the end.

4. Have I selected specific points in my life where I will increase momentum to achieve the bigger picture?

In summary, for you to start strong and finish strong, you need t o define what you are achieving; are you fixing a goal that went wrong or is this a new goal. Then you have define your strategic how – what exactly are you going to do to achieve your goals. Then draw up a time line, with smaller goals that you will achieve that will lead you to the bigger picture. Lastly, remember that your bigger picture might not be achieved in just a year, so achieve all the goals you need to achieve while you build momentum to achieve the bigger picture. Reflect on these four questions as you take on your 2014, and achieve your goals one bit at a time, as you keep the bigger picture in mind.

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