Friday, January 1, 2021
2020 was one wild ride of a year. From non-stop political news, to an endless barrage of tweets that became self-fulfilling news daily, to a raging politicized pandemic, to the popping of crypto prices, to major cyber and security companies becoming hacked, you’d be hard pressed to find people that thought last year to be boring.
Some of last years headlines included:
- The sudden death of Kobe Bryant,
- The hacking of FireEye security company and SolarWinds and Microsoft source code leaks
- U.S. politics
- Tesla and Apple stock splits
- And $600 stimulus and other pandemic relief.
We won’t rehash all of last year’s events because that chapter is in the history books and in the time capsule behind us. But we do want to acknowledge all the struggles and effort everyone put in last year to get through what seemed to a particularly hard year. Not only was there a massive change in how the world does business because of social distancing but also how life has drastically changed. Will life return back to normal any time soon? It really depends on how much resiliency and pain people can stomach as well as the ability to work together to overcome the challenges.
One thing that can be done is planning ahead. A lot of businesses, families and just solo entrepreneurs and single individuals were hard hit financially. And we don’t know what lies in the year ahead but all we can do is to plan ahead. With that being said, it’s never too late to plan ahead. Because as the old adage goes, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” Many business heads and CEO’s and just regular joes often have a secret weapon in their office that they have that can help bring events into laser focus and help them reach company or individual goals. And that’s their calendar.
As Robert Herjavec, a reknown Shark Tank entrepreneur, has pointed out in a recent article in CNBC, he often uses this simple tool like a master chess player to plan several moves ahead of the year. He’s quoted as saying, “I live and die by my calendar”. And often plans out a year ahead of time to chart out where he will take his business and how he can also spend more time with family. This tool can really affect the productivity and how you manage your time. You really need to plan ahead and envision how you want your life to be lived if you want to get anywhere in life. After all, we all have the same 24 hours in a day to try to accomplish our dreams and goals.
Whether you use an electronic calendar or paper desk calendar you should be considering keeping track of progress you are making throughout the year. Consider having weekly check ups and also monthly and mid year or quarterly checkins. This can be used for example as many of us for example are trying to lose weight or get in better shape for the new year. It’s important to set goals.
Goals need to be:
- sustainable and reasonable and specific
- maintainable and able to be tracked, aka measurable
- recordable and have a time frame
Every year has a season and things come in cycles. So it’s important to plan ahead and do things in the best priority and build up and have the wind behind your sails. If you set a goal don’t get discouraged easily. Take and make steady progress with easily obtainable markers along the way.
For instance if you are trying to be healthier you could list a few priorities like introducing more fruits and vegetables and water in your diet if you haven’t before. And then add walking or exercise. Those are two quantifiable activities. Then you want to set particular actions you want to do.
Or for example if you were building a deck for your back yard you have to figure out how big the space needs to be, how much wood or material is and what the costs are and whether you need to paint it and also other maintenance. Then you can set a time and place to purchase and figure out by when you can complete it and are over budget.
Health and lifestyle changes can be handled similar to work and business goals often. Or if you want to spend more time with family you have to figure out what hours to make time with family. If you want to learn a skill like dancing you can start by looking up places to learn dance lessons and go from there.
Any thing that needs to be done can often be broken down into simpler component steps. Gradually with time you can see if you are getting closer to your end goal or as motivational coach Tony Robbins has said, whether you need to pivot and change direction or make adjustments throughout the process. Often it’s a process of continuous improvement and refinement or kaizen as is known in Japanese business.
So get yourself a calendar or put it in your digital reminders and start.
- Research what you want to do. For example looks for ads or a book or a video or do a search engine query.
- Do some brainstorming and perhaps create a circle chart or brainstorm map with wheels and spokes.
- Ask yourself what do you want to achieve? What does it look like? What would it feel like?
- What steps do you think you need to accomplish this goal? Is this a life long goal or something which has a final completable task?
- Do you need help or assistance? Do you need a tutor or teacher or guru? How long would you need them before you would be self sufficient?
- Consider also having a buddy system to get you onboard and do activities together like a dance partner to learn with or a gym partner.
- Decide your best course of action.
- Do it! Just do it and jump in. At some point you need to pull the lever and just go and get started. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step and you aren’t going to run a marathon if you don’t start training and getting in shape etc. A boat is no good if it’s tied to the harbor to rot and never leaves the dock.
- Evaluate! After your first steps check back and see how you are doing? Pat yourself on the back for the first few steps and then start making it a habit. The more you do it and regularly make things second nature and a habit the more likely you will do it. Make it fun or challenging if you can. For example, you and your running group will go every few days and it helps put a bit of peer assistance and motivation to get up and moving. And then you have little choice but to go.
- Eventually check back after at your goal points and perhaps keep a log.
- Also periodically making your intentions known to others helps put some personal responsibility on you and broadcasts your intentions to change. Perhaps you’re quitting smoking or alcohol. Or trying to be vegetarian. It helps broadcasting because sometimes social groups will be more able to support you. Or it keeps people from introducing things that could set you back. For instance someone knowing you’re going vegetarian might be tactful and not bring you summer sausage as a party food and more of a veggie platter.
- Keep at it and get back in the ring and doing it.
- Allow yourself some flexibility to navigate, change and refine and pivot as well as have rest. For example if you’re training to be gain muscle for strength training sometimes you have to take a little time for your body to recuperate and muscles to grow. If you are investing, sometimes you just have to let time happen and not continuously churn your account. As with anything, often it’s a daily continuous process.
If you’ve accomplished your goal or reached your milestone congratulate yourself. Perhaps it seems pretty neat and sweet right? Well once you’ve accomplished your goal, now what? Well sometimes it’s a good idea to look at the whole picture and see if you want to keep challenging yourself?
Often people that become millionaires continue to keep making money because they’ve hit their goal and now know how to make that first amount and want to keep going.
Prize fighting boxers want to keep being the greatest and not a one time champ. Olympic medalists keep training to see if they can repeat it and top themselves. Famous authors find success and realize after writing they still have more in their saga that they want to say. If you’ve accomplished your goal, keep going and see if you can shoot for another goal. This is how greatness is achieved, one step and one goal at a time. Good luck in 2021 and have a plan or new year resolution and start achieving. Get going. The clock is ticking.