You were so excited when you set your goals for this year: exercise more, lose weight, earn more money, save more money, be happier, etc. But as usually happens, the busyness of life caught up with you and before you knew it, the middle of the year came and went.
Then you suddenly realize that you barely have 4 months left for the year!
Panic mode ON!
How can you ever catch up with everything that needs to be done? Can you catch up on your goals even with only 120 days left for this year?
The good news is you can still do a lot of things within 4 months. But the bad news is, you really need to work hard.
If you’re the persistent type, however and you just couldn’t sit down and wait to fail, then you can easily pull yourself together and make one big push to achieve your goals for this year.
Here are 10 ways to achieve your annual goals in the last four months of the year.
1. Review your goals for the immediate short term and the long-term.
Look at your goals for the next four months. These constitute your goals for the immediate short term. But don’t allow yourself to become short-sighted. Whatever you do today will impact your future and your long-term goals.
Speaking of long-term goals. Do you have a life plan? If you don’t have an inkling of what you really want out of life, you may find it difficult to make decisions and look for ways to improve your situation. A life plan, or at least a list of your long term goals can help you make decisions regarding the goals to pursue and the ones to postpone.
2. Prioritize your goals.
You probably want to purse EVERY SINGLE goal you listed at the start of the year. What’s the point of writing them if you won’t pursue them, right?
Not exactly. Since you are literally cramming to achieve your goals for 4 months before the end of the year, you need to prioritize and rank your goals in order of desperation. Or preference at least. Choose the top three goals you absolutely need to achieve. These three goals are your non-negotiables. They could either make or break your career or your relationships.
3. Let go of other goals not in the top 3 of your list.
It’s not easy. I know.
Look at it this way. You’re not totally letting go of these other goals. Rather, you’re just letting them go for the next 4 months. You can pick them up again when the next year comes. But you should understand that you’re already cramming your annual goals in the last 4 months of the year.
If you’re finding it difficult to let go. Ask yourself this simple question: “What’s the worst that could happen?”
This act of letting will simplify your life and save you from the frustration of failure. Because whether you admit it or not, a goal you didn’t achieve is a failure. By the time you plan for next year’s goals, you will have good candidates for your priorities.
4. Break down the goal into its component tasks, then estimate the time it will take you to achieve them.
What are the small things you need to do to achieve your goal? A big goal may seem insurmountable at first, like the imposing Mt. Everest before a climb. But once you identify the smaller things you need to do, you can estimate the time needed for each task, you can assign resources for each task, and you can then start moving towards your goal one step at a time.
If you want to reach Mt. Everest’s summit, all you need to do is to take one right step after another towards the highest point of the mountain.
In addition to breaking it down into component tasks, you’ll need to identify the specific metrics that will show if you’re making progress. If you’re goal is to lose a total of 8 pounds for 4 months, losing 2 pounds per month will be a good indicator that you’re making progress.
5. Come up with a strategy to achieve your goals.
Every worthy goal needs to have a solid strategy behind it. If you don’t have a strategy and a deadline in achieving your goals, then you might as well write them off.
If you break down your goals into component tasks or parts, they become manageable. “Lose 2 pounds a month for 4 months” is definitely easier than “lose 8 pounds”.
Put each task onto your calendar. I don’t care what your calendar is–a good old fashioned paper planner, a calendar app, or a fancy moleskine. The important thing is to put it on your schedule.
List down any materials such as books, magazines, dumbbell, or anything else that you will need. How much money will you need? Given the tight time frame, you may need to invest a little bit more money to achieve your goals.
6. Set up a 30-day challenge.
A 30-day challenge is a great way to jumpstart your efforts to achieve your goals. Ever heard of the 80/20 principle? Twenty percent of your efforts will yield 80% of the results. This 30-day challenge will serve as the 20% of time and effort that will yield 80% of your goals.
If you do this well, the results you’ll get within 30 days will be enough to create space for other projects you want to pursue by the end of this year. After this intense period, you can just cruise your way through the remaining days of the year.
If your goal is to lose 8 pounds, you can read up on how you can safely lose that weight and try to do intense workouts (with enough rest periods, of course) within 30 days. On the other hand, if your goal is to make extra income within this period, list down every single task you need to do and consistently do them within 30 days. You’d be amazed at the results you’ll get.
7. Seek accountability: go public with your goals.
If a tree fell in the middle of the forest and nobody heard or saw it, did it happen?
I don’t mean to go gibberishly profound on you, but if you keep your goals to yourself, whether you achieve it or not, nobody else will know. Sure, we can be honest with ourselves. But by letting other people know of our intentions and our goals, you’re opening yourself up to people who can help you, cheer you, or berate you (if you’re not performing).
Don’t tell the whole world about your goals, unless, that is exactly what you want to do. Don’t go to Facebook and tell everyone how you will make one million within 30 days. Instead, seek out your trusted friends or mentor and ask them to help you keep achieve your goals.
8. Monitor your progress every two weeks.
Make sure to monitor the results of your efforts. While it may be too small a time frame for bigger pursuits, two weeks is a good amount of time to see some results in your efforts. I usually keep a spreadsheet to help me keep track of my pursuits and goals.
By closely monitoring your progress, you can make adjustments in your efforts, in the frequency of your action items, and in other tasks in your pursuit of these goals.
9. Celebrate small wins.
While it is easy to berate yourself if you’re not making big progress, celebrate small wins. They are bringing you closer to your goals one step at a time. It’s a good practice to set milestones and corresponding rewards.
For example, if your goal is to save P20,000 for 4 months, then you can set milestones and rewards for every P5,000 you save. It can be as simple as buying yourself an expensive cup of coffee, or you can go to the movies, whatever. Do what works for you.
10. Evaluate the Results.
At the end of this four months, find time to evaluate the results. Analyze your performance — why you achieved your goals and what factors contributed to it. If you fell short or totally failed, list down all the factors and every single thing you didn’t do that could have helped you achieve them.
If you failed, ask this question: if you were to do it all over again, what would you do? what would you change?
Four months is a short period of time. But that is 1/3 of the year. Imagine if you could repeat this feat for the whole year? This means, then, that you can maximize goal achievement for the whole year!
Over to you. Care to share additional tips to help achieve your goals within the last 4 months of the year?