Remember back in January, 2017, when you made that big long list of goals?
How many did you actually accomplish? How many did you give up on?
People have no problem setting goals.
The challenge is in seeing them through to the end.
With just two months left in the year, I encourage you think about your goals a bit differently. Come November, most people start to feel a great deal of angst about how the year went. They either feel a huge sense of accomplishment and choose to take it easy for the remainder of the year--or they feel a sense of failure and scramble to get something done in order to feel accomplished.
I suggest not doing either.
The best way to finish a year out is to reflect on what worked, and what didn't.
This isn't something that needs to take weeks and weeks.
In fact, it should only take an hour--and you should do it this week.
Instead of kicking back and waiting for the year to end (and then starting 2018 behind), or instead of rushing to finish a half-baked project, make it a point this week to pause first.
Question how you got to this point.
If you've been productive, what caused that productivity? Good habits? Saying "No" to distractions?
If you've been unproductive, how did that happen? Bad habits? Saying "Yes" to things that are distractions?
Being successful, in any capacity, has just as much to do with understanding why things happen the way they do, as it does just putting your head down and grinding through it.
This week, here are some questions you should ask yourself:
1. "What was my most productive month this week?"
Was it January, when you were all hyped about the new year? What did you do that made you so productive? What was your daily schedule like? What were you spending your time doing? This is where keeping a journal can be extremely helpful. You can always look back to see what your day to day was like.
2. "Who in my life has been the most helpful?"
I don't necessarily mean helpful as in, "Who has done the most for me?" What I mean is, who in your life has been the best influence? Who has been the most understanding, supportive? Who has taught you the most? These are the people you should prioritize spending more time with, moving forward.
3. "Who in my life has been the most distracting?"
Conversely, who in your life has made working toward your goals more difficult? Who gives you every reason not to make progress, not to get done what you need to get done? There will always be people in your life who, in some way, make it more difficult to put your head down and get things done. And I'm not saying to stop being friends with them. Just be aware of how and why things happen, and make decisions accordingly.
4. "When do I get the best work done?"
Is it in your apartment in the early morning? Is it at a coffee shop, late afternoon? Is it while you're traveling? When do you get in your flow most frequently, and what can you do to put yourself in more situations like that, more often?
5. "What have you been prioritizing over those personal goals of yours?"
A lot of people say they want to get healthy and go to the gym more. A lot of people talk about that book they want to write, or that startup idea they want to pursue. And yet, very few do. So the real question is, "What are you prioritizing?" Why are you choosing to do other things, if you keep saying what you really want to do is this thing you never prioritize doing?
6. "What are your most used excuses?"
We all have them--our long list of excuses as to why we can't do something. The most popular one is, "I don't have enough time." That's a lie. You have time to take 34 minute showers. You have time to watch your favorite shows. You have time to go out for nice dinners. You have plenty of time. So, take some time then and question what your favorite excuses are--and then ask yourself what you can do to excuse yourself from your tasks at hand, less.
7. "What will bring you the most fulfillment?"
People love choosing projects that bring them external approval, financial reward, or some other form of "guaranteed success." But what about personal fulfillment? What did you say you were going to do this year, for the sake of just being happy, that somehow got pushed to the wayside?
Every year, we all set goals for ourselves. That's a staple in our society--and goal-driven societies love setting big, audacious goals. However, very few people take the time to question how things went, reflect, and then refine their approach for the next year.
But it's this refinement process that matters most, and ultimately separates the people who talk about all the things they want to achieve, and those who actually achieve them.