✓ The start of a fresh, new month
✓ The fact that Fall is right around the corner (yay for cooler weather and holidays!)
✓ The time when a lot of people start freaking out because they set big goals for the year and they have yet to reach them…and there are “only” 4 months left!
I’ll admit, I fall into the trap of the third one above every year. In fact, it’s not just every year, it’s every month. Ok, who am I kidding…it’s almost every darn day!
We always set BIG goals for ourselves, and when we don’t reach those BIG goals, we get angry, discouraged, and down-right frustrated. But, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stop setting goals. It just means we have to change the way we craft our goals and react to their progress.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a blog-reading junkie. Some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned – about business and life in general – are from James Clear and James Altucher. You’d think I have a thing for men named James, wouldn’t ya? Nah – they just happen to be great writers who are full of incredibly simple, down-to-earth wisdom!
Recently, Altucher wrote about “The 1% Rule for Creating All Habits.” You can check it out here. The gist of the article: “You can’t be a master in one day. You have to improve a little every day.” He gives examples of some of the most talented people in history and how it took them trying a little bit every single day to master their skill instead of just sitting down one day and attempting to write an entire book when they never wrote regularly to begin with…or run a marathon when they hadn’t ever run a mile.
James Clear talks a lot about the same method of small amounts of work equalling big results in the long run. He just talked about it again in an article called “The Tiny Gains Challenge 2015” and has also written about creating habits and realistic goal-setting here and here.
Have you ever paid attention to how long it REALLY takes to complete a certain task? Depending on what it is, of course, it probably doesn’t take nearly as long as you think it will take. It’s the buildup and stress and anxiety about the task at hand that makes it seem like it will take so long. But in reality, if we focus and set small, attainable, realistic goals, we can whip out nearly any task in minutes!
So, when you start freaking out in early September about the fact that you haven’t launched your website, sent out a blog post or newsletter in ages (but meant to do it weekly!), lost ten pounds, written thank you notes that have been on your to-do list forever, or any other goal you set out to complete by year’s end, just keep in mind that you have FOUR MONTHS LEFT before the year is over.
That’s 16 weeks, 112 days, 2,688 hours. That’s a LOT of time!
Take a minute right now and think about one task on your to-do list. If you were to cut out all distractions for 30 minutes, could you knock out that task? If it’s a big task, could you at least knock out a good portion of it? I bet you could! In fact, I KNOW you could…and would!
Want to know how I know this? Because I just did it myself.
Writing blog posts is something that I know I need to do, and I actually do enjoy doing it. I “need” to do this because it’s important for my business in so many ways. But, because of the exact reasons I mentioned above (feeling like even just one blog post takes forever), I have been putting it off.
Remember that big 40-day blogging challenge I completed a few months ago? Well, it ended with a goal I set for myself to write one post every week. If you look at my Blog, you can easily see that it hasn’t been happening. I’ve even talked about ways to make it easier, which has – selfishly – been to help make it easier for ME!
Well, when I got a bunch of emails this morning from fellow entrepreneurs talking about this end-of-year meltdown some of us have because we think there’s no time left, it really hit home hard. Hence this blog post! So, here’s what I did…
I had a bunch of tabs open in my web browser, so I moved this one that I’m writing in out of that window into a new one so I wouldn’t even see any other tabs. I also set a time limit for myself. It was a “natural” time limit because I knew I needed to leave my house at a certain time, so I had no choice but to stop 25 minutes after I started.
In those 25 minutes, I wrote all of the above.
Now, to finish up the post…and the point…
So many tasks can seem extremely overwhelming until you actually dive in. It may seem impossible to take steps towards launching a website, sending out an e-newsletter, starting a business, writing a blog post…and the list goes on and on. BUT, if you start small (and realistic), I promise you that you will be closer than you were before you started. And if you take another small step the next day, you’ll be even closer.
One thing that can definitely help you get even closer to reaching your goals is to ask for help. If you’ve been needing to make an appointment with a therapist, just the act of making the appointment (the first small step) can make you feel 100 times better. If you’ve been wanting to start a business, just registering for a course or hiring a web designer will bring you that much closer to that business idea coming to life.
In total, this post took about 40 minutes to write (I changed some key points around a few times, so it could have taken even less time if I had an outline of what I was going to write…oooh, goal for next time!). But, the reality is, it didn’t take forever! It took 40 minutes. That’s 40 minutes out of the 160,080 minutes in these last four months of the year. Sure, I still need to go whip up a graphic or two and fill in my search engine keywords and description, but we’re still looking at around 60 minutes total out of those 160,080…which is a teeny tiny fraction of the time left in the year.
What can you do with 40-60 minutes of your remaining four months?
Tell me about it in the comments below…and let me know if I can help with styling your blog posts, designing or updating your website, or creating a logo for you (all of which may be those big overwhelming tasks on your to-do list!).