The passing of time is a remarkable phenomenon. It is unceasing, not taking into account that our lives have been put on “hold” and our “plan for the year” now rendered meaningless. I mention that because I initially planned on starting this post with “Can you believe we’re already in the second quarter of 2020?” Of course, you can and of course, you can’t. Time marches on and we struggle to place ourselves within it.
While it’s hard to believe, we are already finished with the first quarter of 2020. And even though we can spend hours reflecting on how we never planned to be dealing with a crisis during this season, it’s maybe more beneficial to take a few minutes to set new goals knowing we still have three-fourths of the year still ahead of us.
We champion goal-setting and tracking because it’s a perfect way to map out your successes. It also gives you the opportunity to tweak in real-time what’s working and not working for you in regards to accomplishing what you want in your professional and personal lives. And now more than ever, success will be determined by our ability to reset, set new goals, create alignment for your organization, and then execute.
So first let us start back with your vision for 2020. Honestly, is that vision still alive (for Zoom it is for sure) or is it time to start thinking like a startup that thinks about their goals in 14, 30, and 90-day time horizons?
So let’s break it down together. Where do we want to be at the end of Q2? 90 days from today, what do you want to be true for your business? Now, in order for that to be true, what opportunities and actions do we need to seize to get there? We now have the beginnings of your new plan for the Q2 which will help you make the decisions you will need to thrive in this time of uncertainty.
We had originally planned on using the start of a new quarter to check in today, but monthly or even weekly check-ins are probably the new normal for most leaders. You’ll find out early whether the steps you need to take to accomplish your overall goals are what you thought when you set them or whether they need to be adjusted. Remember here that forward progress is ultimately what you want to see, and that from time to time your finish line can be adjusted to reflect the speed in which it’s feasible for you to maintain that progress. You may find out during check-in that you underestimated the time it would take you to build incrementally to your intention. You may also find that with a well-established plan, you can get where you wanted to be far more quickly than you originally thought possible. Take stock of what’s working and what isn’t - over time you’ll be able to streamline your process into only the most effective strategies. This, of course, is easier with a more frequent check-in.
One of the most crucial components, especially in this time of chaos, is to incrementally celebrate your accomplishments. Reward yourself for a job well done and then get to work on the next milestone so you can get another ice cream cone. Habits and goals are stored differently in the human brain and one way to link the two together is by activating your dopamine receptors in response to an incremental accomplishment toward your goal. So in this case, that cookie is good for you. Even though our goals are most likely more modest today, they are nonetheless movements to celebrate.
As we trudge on towards the back half of 2020, remember the hope you had for this year in December. Keep it close. With a critical and honest eye and a willingness to pivot when needed, you can jump into every new year with the knowledge that you have the power to create your own destiny.