Last week a friend of mine asked me how my book was coming along because I had previously shared with him that one of my goals for the year was to write one. I started by explaining that I hadn’t made much progress because I have been busy trying to complete a project that is due on February 15th. I reasoned that I would resume working towards my goal after February 15th. As the words came out of my mouth, I felt the slightest bit guilty because I knew that what I was really doing was giving him an excuse. I know that there are some steps that I could be taking in the meantime to move me closer to my goal. They may not be huge steps forward but taking a baby step still brings me closer to the end result than standing still. I realized that even with the teeniest tiniest step, I could be creating and maintaining momentum. Standing still in an area of my life that is very important to me is not an appealing prospect. And I’m sure that you aren’t crazy about standing still in an area of your life where you would like to grow and improve or accomplish something either. But, in the midst of busy season, this is precisely what happens to so many accounting professionals we know.
When busy season begins, unfortunately many new habits and important goals fall by the wayside. Suddenly you stop or interrupt your exercise routine, your stress management activities, your personal growth goals, networking and business development activities, investing in people development and strategic planning tasks because they may not seem “urgent enough” compared to the pressing client obligations that you have. It is easy to reason with yourself that it makes sense to put off some of the goals that you have set for yourself until after April 15th. But, consider that by doing this, you lose an entire three months. Now, instead of having twelve months to reach your goals for this year, you have only nine!
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that busy season workload may mean that some of your goals will have to wait. But it’s probably not true for all of them, especially the most important ones. On January 11th, in her blog post entitled “Empower Your Vision,” my colleague Sylvia Lane encouraged you to create a vision for something that you would like to realize in 2012. My hope is that you have an idea in mind of where you would like to be by the end of the year and that you have set some goals for yourself accordingly. My fear is that you will wait until after April 15th to start making them happen.
When the people that you shared your goals with ask you about your progress and you tell them that you are waiting until after April 15th to start moving forward, they will probably let you off the hook and maybe even express some sympathy for you. But don’t let yourself off the hook unless you have been completely honest with yourself about what is possible in the next three months. Review your goals for the year and identify the ones that are most important to you. Ask yourself, “How much do I want it?” Then consider what the cost is of waiting an entire three months.
It may be that you spend fifteen minutes per day, four days out of the week for a total of one hour per week on your goal. Those hours will add up. And most importantly you’ll be creating momentum for yourself. If fifteen minutes is too much, simply wake up five minutes earlier and spend that time planning and strategizing about your envisioned goals. Regardless of what increment of time you decide that you can allocate, you can use that time to engage in one of the activities that Sylvia suggested in her post, “Empower Your Vision.” Perhaps you can undertake a visioning exercise, plan and strategize about the necessary action steps, or share your goals with others and ask them to take actions, too, or help hold you accountable. Most of Sylvia’s suggestions can also be done during a lunch hour or while you enjoy your coffee or tea on Sunday morning.
Visioning is a powerful exercise and a crucial part of achieving your goals. Fortunately, you can do it for short periods of time, and engage in it anyplace, anytime, even on your drive to work in the morning. Consider, turning of the music or your favorite radio show and instead contemplate your vision. Imagine it and visualize what it feels like in your body when you get there. As the amazing and wonderful Dr. Wayne Dyer points out, “All creation, positive or negative, begins with contemplation. What is in our experience and what surrounds us is due to our previous contemplation or thoughts and feelings.”
I’m not asking you to put more pressure on yourself to get more done. I am asking you to consider your dreams and goals and ask yourself how badly you want them and if you want them enough, to carve out a few minutes each week to draw yourself closer to what you desire. As you do this, please be kind to yourself and be realistic in what you can expect, and at the same time, stretch yourself just a little and don’t let yourself off the hook. When you spend time moving closer to the things that inspire and excite you, you will find that you will actually walk away from that time feeling more energized! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and I’d especially love to hear about your goals for the year. Please send your intention out to the universe by writing a comment and sharing how you will forward your vision, dream and/or goals over the next three months with us.