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The classic John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band song is one of my favorites. I know it was written as a political condemnation of war and all humanity can’t accomplish. But growing up, it always spoke to me as a call to action: asking each of us to reflect on the year that has gone by and take stock of those things we haven’t yet been able to get to, but could if we tried hard enough. (WARNING: graphic images in the below video, which is the official video for the song)
As we head into the last two weeks of calendar year 2011, and the workload drops off (unless you work for an industry that’s having its busy season right now), it’s a terrific time to take stock of what you didn’t quite get around to this year, or set new goals that you didn’t have 12 months ago.
I love this process, because it gives me renewed energy for what’s to come once the food/egg nog coma has worn off.
When I’m setting my goals, I like to:
1. Dream big, plan little. While your goal may be to run a marathon, you’re not going to accomplish that in the next 30 days. Set up your action plan with lots of smaller, achievable steps in between that will get you to that larger goal.
2. Assess your arsenal. You know what you’re good at and what you suck at. So figure out what skills are going to get you to that goal, and note the ones you don’t have or aren’t good at. They go out and acquire them.
3. Write it down. There’s nothing like a reminder note flapping in your face to remind you of what’s yet to be done. Daily lists, notes in the refrigerator or pictures stuck to a bulletin board can all be great motivational tools. And every time the paper looks like it’s getting old and worn, write a new note to yourself, as a way to say the goal is still there, strong and new. And you’ve still got work to do.
4. Get to it. Rather than set a deadline to finish, set a deadline to start. And make it today. After all, we’re not getting younger.