The fourth quarter is here. Which means time is running out to hit your 2019 goals.

When I'm facing a big task that can seem totally overwhelming, I get through it by simplifying my single most important goal down to its core.  Simplifying allows me to get laser focused on what matters most, reduce the noise and go for it.  Reciting an affirmation helps me remember the one thing I need to do in order to get the result I'm looking for.

Whether you've had a monster year or you're playing catch-up you'll benefit from reciting a daily affirmation (even if you feel a little like Stuart Smalley when you're saying it).  Here are some of my favorites.

For when you're behind: "I will achieve my goals with focus"

The plan you set out to accomplish way back in January has gone astray. You're about to spend Q4 playing everyone's least favorite game: catch-up. It happens.

When you're running a business, there will always be times where every issue seems like the most important one, and days (or weeks, or months) that feel like you have a dozen fires to put out. Circumstances outside of your control can set you behind. But a focused mindset can get you back on track.

The fastest way to make progress on your goals is to mentally clear out everything -- except the single most important task at hand. In a world filled with distractions, those of us who can immediately identify what matters most -- then knock it out and move onto the next -- will always be in a position to succeed.

For when you're on target: "Staying disciplined is easy for me"

This might be the hardest spot you can find yourself in. The finish line is in sight, and you're on your way to hitting your goals. But only if you keep it up.

The personal-life equivalents of this scenario are endless. You've been exercising and eating well for a week ... so why not indulge in those french fries? You've been responsible with your spending and saving ... so why not enjoy a shopping spree?

Here's why not: It's always easier to maintain than to start back up again, and breaking a bad habit is much easier than starting one.

Stick with what got you to where you are now. Stay disciplined, trust the processes you've used all year, and hold off on the celebration until the holiday party.

For when you're way ahead: "I have a gift for unlocking new possibilities"

So, you've absolutely crushed it this year. Well done. Now what?

You never succeed by thinking that you've made it. The best always want more. And getting out in front of your goals puts you in a great position to think about what's next. Use this time to connect with people in your network and invest in new ideas or methods. Now's your chance to dig for gold!

Your stellar 2019 won't translate to a great 2020 on its own. Don't just finish out strong -- get a jump on the competition.