There is still time to accomplish your best work in the final weeks of the year
By JiJi Lee for Ink & Volt
Can you believe it’s almost the end of the year?
How are you feeling about your progress on your goals? We know the end of the year can be a complicated mix of emotions.
There’s excitement surrounding the holidays and anticipation for the start of the new year. But also regret and disappointment about goals that may have faltered. The good news is that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams and make headway on your goals. Just because the year is ending, doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to what you truly desire.
In fact, you can use the end of the year to your advantage and finish strong. One path you can take is to start laying the foundation for your big, ambitious goal so that you can start off the new year with a bang. Another approach you can take is to pursue a bunch of micro goals or habits—those small, but impactful wins—so you can finish the year with a huge sense of accomplishment.
We’ve outlined ways that you can support your big goal or micro goal to help you end the year on a high note. Regardless of the path you take, you’ll be guaranteed to end the year in fighting shape and ready to take on 2022 with confidence.
Get a head start on a big, dream goal
Big goals are intense and intimidating because they force us to look deep within ourselves, examine our weaknesses and insecurities, and quiet those debilitating voices that ask us, “Who do you think you are?”. Even Olympic athletes struggle with these same insecurities.
If you are feeling these big, overwhelming emotions, that’s okay. It means you’re taking your goal seriously. No one climbs Mount Everest thinking it’s going to be a breeze. Our big goals will test our will power, motivation, and skills—that’s why they are considered big goals in the first place.
Big goals can also be powerful and fulfilling. By putting ourselves through a series of tests and challenges, we reveal a side of ourselves that we didn’t know we had. We will come out stronger and more confident in ourselves and our abilities.
Another reason to set big, ambitious goals? Even if you don’t meet your expectations, you will achieve a lot more than you originally thought was possible. Think about it: Let’s say your current writing routine is to write 500 words a day. But then you set a big goal to write 1,000 words every day. Even if you only end up writing 800 words a day, that’s still more than what you would’ve written if you had stayed at your previous goal.
Another thing to keep in mind is to accept the reality that big, ambitious goals will not be fulfilled overnight. They take time and patience. If you can accept that timeline and embrace the process, starting a big goal at the end of the year can be a good strategy. You’ll start developing good habits to support your goal and lay down a strong foundation to launch you into 2022.
Accomplish micro goals
Another way you can finish the end of the year strong is to concentrate on micro goals. These are goals that are so small and easy, you’ll be able to achieve them. Micro goals can be related to personal development or your career or health.
According to this Harvard Business Review article writer Sabina Nawaz says: “It’s great to dream big, but the way to achieve big is to start small — through micro habits. Micro habits are small components of a larger habit. By breaking down an ambitious job into smaller, more achievable ones that you build over long periods of time, micro habits help you complete big goals.”
Examples of micro goals include:
- Developing a morning routine
- Updating your website
- Brushing and flossing teeth before bed
- Meditating for 10 minutes a day
- Reading a book a month
- Cooking a new recipe a week
- Making your bed every morning
- Walking 10,000 steps a day
- Writing in a journal every day
Micro goals are incredibly appealing because those small changes can generate big results. Making your bed every morning may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but the positivity you yield from that small act will encourage you to do another small act, then another, until you score a succession of wins.
Also, micro goals can help you achieve big goals. Waking up early every morning may seem like a mundane goal at first glance, but it is significant if you’re trying to wake up early to train for a marathon or write your novel. With micro goals, it’s about the cumulative effect and the long game. And the positivity and confidence you gain from these small wins will motivate you to keep going and go for the next big thing.
If you’re looking to end the year on a positive note, but don’t necessarily have the emotional energy to expend on big, ambitious goals, micro goals are a great option. And the pride and achievement you feel will sustain you into the next year and fuel your growth moving forward.
Up next, we’ll take a look at how to create an action plan for your goals, big or small.
Creating an action plan
Whether you’re looking to pursue an ambitious goal or a series of micro goals, you’ll need a solid strategy to support your vision. Here are steps you can take to create a solid plan.
Define your goal
What is the goal that you hope to achieve? Write it down in your planner. You’re more likely to commit to a goal if you take the time to write it and record it in your memory.
Some people like to visualize what it will feel like after they achieve a big goal. These positive feelings help remind them what it is that they’re working so hard for. Others like to put post-it notes and messages around their workspace to remind them of their goal.
Choose a strategy that works for you and helps you feel positively about your goal.
Identify your obstacles
Another tactic to help strengthen your game plan is to write down a list of potential obstacles you may encounter.
According to this article in the Mental Game of Tennis, it’s helpful to plan for potential challenges so that you’re not thrown off guard when they arise, and can better prepare for potential setbacks.
Being honest about your obstacles is also essential if you’re setting out to achieve micro goals. Incorporating new, positive habits takes discipline and self-awareness. After all, progress doesn’t happen overnight.
So if your micro goal is “go for a run in the morning” make a list of potential obstacles. Then, have a back up plan in place so that you can stay on track. So if your obstacle is “feeling tired in the morning” make a list of things that will motivate you to get out of bed. Maybe it’s a pot of coffee or a breakfast treat. Or maybe place your workout clothes on your bedside table so it’s easier to put them on and go.
Make a list of targets you want to reach before the end of the year
Create weekly and daily goals to help you stay on track and keep you accountable.
So if your goal is to run 5K by the end of the year, then create a 4-5 week plan and set weekly goals. Maybe it means starting out by running for 10 minutes in Week 1 and then working your way up and building your endurance.
Having regular targets will help you stay on your path towards your goal. And by measuring your progress from week-to-week, you’ll know if you need to catch up or dial back or if you’re right on track.
Create a schedule
Add your tasks to your planner or calendar so that you’re more likely to do it. Also, by having a visual representation of your schedule, you’ll be able to see what days you’ll be busy and rearrange your schedule as necessary. This will come in handy during the holiday season. So if you want to schedule a run a few days before the holidays, look for free blocks of time on your calendar. This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed, and you’ll have the energy to work towards your goal.
Relish your winsIt’s important to acknowledge your progress every single day. Record your wins in your planner and decorate the entry with a sticker or fun, colorful washi tape. Taking pride in your work will help you see how much you truly accomplished at the end of the year, and set you up for success in the new year.