I love watching long-distance races and marathons, especially the ones where Kenyans are competing (I had to throw that one in here…). The race can be long and boring, but it gets very exciting as we move closer to the finish line.
One thing you’ll notice in these races is that the runners who win do a few things that make them stand out from the rest of the pack.
- Set a steady pace for themselves right from the beginning.
- Conserve their energy for a bigger chunk of the race.
- Wait until a certain distance that’s close to the end and then give it their all.
It always seems as if they use most of their energy within the last part of the race! That’s the final sprint that turns them into superstars!
What about those who lose?
Most losers have one thing in common: They take off running very fast at the beginning of the race, lose energy, and fall back. Some never make it to the end.
Do you see similarities between this and the achievement of your goals?
There are those who use this process and achieve their resolutions or goals. Unfortunately, most don’t. Majority start to lose momentum as the year moves on. They slow down…and eventually give up on their goals.
The interesting thing is that the last quarter of the year is one that can become your final sprint. It doesn’t matter how badly you’ve done with your goals for the year.
- If you’re doing OK with your goals, you can give yourself one final sprint and close the year powerfully. You may even surprise yourself by exceeding your goals and expectations!
- If you’re struggling with your goals, you can narrow down what is most important and focus on that. While you may not be able to achieve all your goals, you will at least hit or work on some of them.
- But what if you fell off the bandwagon months ago? There is still hope. You can pick yourself up and make some moves in the last quarter. This will give you a boost so that you end the year strong.
- If you’re one of the lucky few who have already achieved your goals…first celebrate before deciding on the next mountain you want to climb.
How to make the last quarter of the year count
Making the last quarter count doesn’t necessarily start in October. You get the best results when you plan in September and hit the ground running! This way, you’ll already have some momentum by the time October rolls in.
So just like a long-distance race winner, you too can jumpstart your goals and make huge strides towards them. We’re almost in the last quarter of the year. What are your plans for making progress on your goals within these 3 months?
Here’s a simple process to help you make the last quarter of this year count
- Evaluate: Start by looking back at the goals you had set for this year. How are you doing with each of them? Now that you have the scores for your goals, you need to decide on which ones you want to work on in the last quarter. I normally advise my clients to focus on 1 major goal within this period.
- Recalibrate: 3 months is not a long time and you need to focus in order to achieve the goal. Don’t be afraid to scale down your goal into something you can work on within 90 days with a little stretch. Also, be careful not to give yourself too big a goal that requires more than 90 days to achieve. High achievers are prone to doing this and thus set themselves up for failure.
- Make your goal SMART: SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable or Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. We already have the time (end of the year), so you need to work on the other aspects of SMART. Here’s the process I use for 90-day goal setting.
- Break the goal down into weekly sub-goals: Looking at your main goal, work backwards and break it into actions you can take each week. I’ve found it easier to work with weekly sub-goals instead of monthly ones. This makes it easier to catch yourself and recalibrate if you veer off track.
- Hit the ground running: Planning is much easier and more fun than action. However, you will not achieve much if you spend a lot of time planning. Start working on your plan immediately. At the end of each week, evaluate progress based on your 90-day plan, recalibrate if necessary and plan for the next week. A key aspect of this step is to learn from your failures. So keep track of the obstacles you encounter along the way so that you improve your performance.
- Celebrate your wins: Take time each week to celebrate your minor and major wins. Even just keeping things going is something to celebrate or be grateful for. You can have a bigger celebration at the end of each month. Also, make sure you celebrate your progress or wins at the end of the quarter.
Why not give this process a try this year?
I’ve used this process for years and also taught it to my clients. The best thing about it is that it fits in perfectly with any planning system you already use. It’s also easy to tweak it to suit your preferences.
It’s possible to use the process on your own and make it work. However, many people find that they lack the commitment to follow through, especially when the year moves to a close.
I can help provide that additional support and accountability if you need it. I’d love to see you look back in December and say, “I did that!”. And I want to help you feel prepared and motivated to make these last 3 months of the year the most rewarding ones.
Here are 4 ways I can help you achieve this:
- Sign up for Make the Last Quarter of the Year Count. This is a 1-1 coaching program where you and I work together to evaluate your year, pick your #1 goal for the quarter and create a plan for achieving it. I then provide coaching, support, and accountability as you work on this and 2 other minor goals in the last quarter of the year. You’ll have a 90-day action plan for October to December that you implement with my backup and support. So you never have to guess what to focus on each week as we’ll lay it out in the plan. Limited spaces are available.
- Sometimes you only need a little guidance on what to focus on and you’re good to go. If this is you, book a one-off 90-minute Strategy Session to evaluate your goals for the year, clarify the way forward for the rest of the year, and create a simple 3-step action plan to get you there. You can book additional sessions when needed as you work on your plan.
- Have you achieved your goals or are close to achieving them, and you’re feeling really stuck, unmotivated, and unsure about what to do? Check out Break Free, Live Your Life. This is my signature program for high-achieving women who are exploring how to step up to their next level. We run 2 cohorts in March and October each year.
- Not sure which option is best for you? Book a complimentary 30-minute Discovery Session to find out what’s best for you. You’ll also get a feel of coaching as a tool for achieving your goals.
The last quarter of the year can be a busy one as you try to clear up whatever is pending. Yet, this time can be your most productive one if you channel your focus properly and have the right accountability and support. Take advantage of one of these available resources and make your last quarter of the year count!
(Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash)