The last quarter of the year rolls around and you begin to hear some common refrains:
• “We are waiting until the first of the year”
• “Starting in January I am going to…”
• “We have to wait until spring when business picks up”
• “The first of the year I am really going to get into it.”
Here’s the reality for most people who make these statements: The calendar is the only thing that changes.
If you are waiting for the calendar to change your life or your business, you are kidding yourself. My own observation is that these false start dates are nothing more than excuses and actual obstacles to not face reality and take action. No matter your intentions, I think everyone has been guilty of false statements at some time.
Words are cheap. A U.S. General once said, “Every year I pay less attention to what people say and more to what they do.” Action is always where the rubber meets the road. However, actions are preceded by proper thoughts and beliefs. Just because a person says they are going to do something does not mean that their brain buys into the idea.
When you make a statement, you are consciously choosing to do so. The problem begins when your subconscious does not match up to the conscious choice. If your subconscious does not have any evidence to support your statements, the subconscious immediately begins to sabotage your thoughts. This is precisely why traditional goal setting and New Years Eve resolutions fail.
I have heard many times that in setting goals they must be believable to work. You can hear the “believable goals” mantra and interpret this to mean you need to pick a safe goal. Safe goals rarely inspire you to action. Safe goals are easy to say but they don’t fill enough emotional needs. Behind all realized goals are strong emotions that were on fire to be realized.
First of all, you have to set inspiring goals that create emotions inside you. Otherwise all you are doing is writing out a To-Do list. When was the last time you were “geeked” by your To-Do list? Stop listening to everyone’s “10 steps” and “10 rules” to everything and the “Dummy’s Guide to Goal Setting” and start living by your rules. It’s your life, your goals, your emotions and your rewards if you reach your goals. You make the rules. Go for as large a goal as you desire.
Secondly, start giving your subconscious all the evidence it needs to start believing. You may write your goal 100 times a day. You may write your goal and put on your bathroom mirror and say the goal aloud 10 times every morning. You may find 10 people who have reached your goal and reach out to interview them on what they did. You may close your eyes and visualize yourself at the moment you reach the goal and see it in vivid colors, feel the feeling as strongly as you can feel.
No matter what goal you choose, you have to take some kind action. Take a step, no matter how small, and then set in stone your next action and action date. The next action should be soon. The next hour or the next day would be best. Don’t make the next action step too long after the first, or leave it to chance that you will take your next step.
The dirty little secret to reaching any and every goal is that most goals are made up of small, boring, mundane steps that lead to your success. We live in an instant gratification society – “8-Minute Abs,” “Lose 10 Pounds in One Week,” “Lose Six Inches in One Week,” and so on. Those ads are all brilliant marketing strategies, because they promise instant results. The headline of “Lots of sweaty exercise and eating tons of vegetables will help you lose weight this year” would not get a lot of response. The general public would say they hate hype but the truth is most people love hype. People love HOPE — the easier the better.
Don’t wait for a calendar to change your life or your business. Usually the only thing that changes is the calendar.