Countdown to 2023
“The dreams you plan really can come true.”– Peter Pan
As Wendy and I prepare to host another Goal Setting Retreat, I’ve spent a lot of time reviewing our goals and measuring our progress. Many of our goals are complete. Some are on track. Others need work. Here’s the rub: we have just ten weeks left to cross the finish line for this year. Now is the time to double-down on achievable goals and set the rest aside. The countdown is on.
The first countdown appeared in the 1929 silent film, Girl in the Moon. Director Fritz Lang added the countdown to increase the drama around a rocket launch. Rocket scientists actually borrowed the countdown idea from the early sci-fi feature.
Here’s a framework for triaging your goals between now and the end of the year:
1. Rank your goals and cut the nonsense. Humans are terrible at guessing what our future selves really want. Full-grown adults will salivate while disastrously over-ordering at our favorite restaurant. And just an hour later, we’ll be moaning on the couch wondering why we did this to ourselves (again). So there’s a good chance many of the goals you set for 2022 have lost their relevance today. Cross those off your list and prioritize what’s left.
2. Sort your goals into three categories – Achieved, On-Track, and Off-Target. Now take a moment to consider what you’ve accomplished. The goals that are on track or achieved should be celebrated. Not only do they represent hard work and commitment, they also provide insight into your core values. Look for patterns. The things we consistently prioritize are often connected to something deeply important to us. This is good to know. And over time, you may have the insight to know workplace goals will take care of themselves. Maybe being a professional is an important part of your identity. However, your health goals tend to suffer. For these goals, you may want to plan for extra support and accountability.
If your goals are like mine, more than a handful of them are probably off-track. First, almost everyone sets more goals than they can realistically accomplish. And having worked closely with many of you, I also know that Twenty Percenters tend to be the worst offenders. We’re overachievers — and optimistic ones at that. We’ve also had to deal with a remarkable market shift. So don’t sweat the gaps and failures. You still have time.
Also, how you finish 2022 is how you’ll start 2023. This home stretch is your chance to slingshot into the new year with confidence and momentum!
3. Create a separate priority list of your off-track goals. This is your action list for the remainder of 2022. Jot them down and ask, “If I can only accomplish one of these, which one is most important?” Whatever your answer is becomes your #1 action item. Then ask, “If I could achieve one more, which one is most important?” That becomes your #2. Rinse and repeat until done.
4. Determine how much time you really have. When I said you have ten weeks, I wasn’t being completely truthful. The holiday season is upon us. Are you traveling for Thanksgiving? Did you plan time off in December for the holidays? For your professional goals, you probably only have seven to eight true work weeks left. You should also consider that you will need to allocate a minimum amount of time to maintain your progress on the goals that are still on track.
Unless you have a really short action list, the outcome of this exercise is the realization that you have to choose. You can divide your remaining time among all your aspirations and achieve nothing. Or you can direct all your remaining time at a few goals and achieve something. Wendy calls this exercise, “Saying ‘No’ to say ‘Yes.’”
5. Select your new targets and time block. Now that you’ve narrowed things down, you must start making appointments with yourself to get them done. As we wrote in The ONE Thing, the simple act of blocking time on your calendar makes you three times more likely to take action.
You can also adjust your sights up or down. Maybe you set a goal to connect with ten people in your sphere a day and have been nailing it all year, but the activity isn’t yielding the results you want. Why wait for 2023 to up the goal? Start connecting with 15 or 20. Likewise, maybe you procrastinated on a really important goal. You’ve made zero progress and there’s no way you can squeeze 150 workouts into ten weeks. Revisit the original intention of working out three times a week and make a stand. Your new target can be 30 workouts.
Goal setting is a deep topic. There’s a reason Wendy and I take two days to walk people through the process at our retreat. In future newsletters, I’ll break down more of the process. For now, you should have some clarity for the rest of 2022. And the clock is ticking. T-minus ten weeks to 2023. Time to get after it!
One question to ponder in your thinking time: What’s the most important goal I can achieve between now and the end of 2022?
Make an Impact!