At the time of writing, there’s one month left to the end of 2016.
That’s one deadline that’s real (in so far as any concept of dates is real) and won’t move.
Traditionally, we wait until the end of December or the start of January to reflect back on the year and make plans for the new one.
But that’s not really any different from the countdown timers we see on all those sales letters.
It’s an arbitrary date, just one that a lot of our society agrees to work with.
Here in the UK, December tends to be one of those months where nothing really happens in a lot of areas of life.
Christmas takes over – we’ve had Christmas stock in the shops since August and September, Christmas music has been playing in some of those shops for most of November and will intensify (some of the shops gave their staff a rest from Christmas songs occasionally last month but they’re less likely to do so this month), lots of commercials and emails have been about the impending holiday (I’ve unsubscribed from some because I think it’s too intrusive to get Christmas emails in early November).
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
You’re unlikely to be able to escape the event entirely, even if it’s not one you celebrate.
And you’re unlikely to get the same response on your website or emails between now and the 26th of this month (when Easter starts in the shops!).
But that doesn’t mean you can’t reflect on how you’ve done in 2016 and plan for what you intend to do in 2017.
Reflection can help.
If you wrote down your goals or targets for 2016 at the start of the year, go back over them.
Chances are that they’ll be like most predictions – not all of them will have happened.
Take the time to decide whether they are still what you’d like to focus on – times change, our ideas change (otherwise we’d still all want to be a train driver or an astronaut or whatever when we grow up).
Then decide on a list that you’re going to aim for during 2017.
If you didn’t manage to do some or all of the things that are still on your list from last year, do your best to come up with a way that you can make them turn from dreams into reality.
I find it best to have a short list rather than a bucket list to work on.
Chunk the ideas down so that they’re manageable in whatever time you can realistically spare each day.
Dreams are good but if you’ve got around 7 hours a week you can devote to your internet marketing but your plans involve 18 hour days, that’s not going to happen. At least not unless you manage to delegate the vast majority of the tasks.
Part of the trick with making your wish list come to pass is doing things consistently.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s probably about 80% of making things happen.
Of course, it needs to be the right things that you’re doing consistently – if you’re not sure what those should be, do some research or get some help from someone you trust.
Even if you have to spend some money to get that help – we value paid-for a lot more than free, so even if it’s the same advice you’re getting it could be worth a lot more to you if you splash out some money on it.
And if you have a tendency to go cheapskate on things, maybe 2017 is the time to change that as well.
Cheap, $7 and $17 products have their place.
But they can get treated in much the same way as free stuff. After all, if the information you’ve just paid for is about the same price as a coffee and pastry, there’s a psychological aspect that says that it’s just as transient.
Start mulling over what you’re really like to achieve in 2017.
Then start putting it down on paper or in a document.
If you’re really not sure, brain dump it – just put anything and everything down without censoring it. Keep bubbling up ideas for 15 minutes ot so. Then come back to the list tomorrow and score each item. Then go with the highest score items as your future plan.
Then – hopefully obviously – take action on that plan each and every day until your mind gets used to the idea that you’re serious about it this time.
You can do that now. Between the carols and the mince pies and all the other seasonal stuff.
And you can set yourself up for a better start to a new year than you’ve had in living memory.
If that sounds like a challenge, it’s because it is a challenge.