New Year, New Timeframe?

2016 calendarSo as we rush toward the new year in only a couple of weeks it’s likely your mind has turned to resolutions, if only briefly. I’ve mentioned my resolution reservations before and suggested an alternative. Today I want to suggest yet another approach.

Missing targets is a source of disappointment for many, myself included. In the past I’ve looked for shortcuts and better practices as a solution, but today I want to suggest a different approach. One that may be more kind and gentle on your soul.

Give yourself more time.

Think about the targets you’ve missed before and the pressure you’ve put yourself under. I know I’ve pushed myself in the past and somewhat berrated myself when I didn’t hit a target in the timeframe I planned. In the worst cases this has lead to disappointment and some measure of feeling downhearted. The result of this has been to become less effective and reduce the rate at which I eventually reach the target.

It occurred to me that giving myself a more generous deadline might prevent the feelings of disappointment and in the long run mean I hit my target sooner in real terms.

So I’ve decided to extend my deadlines. I don’t do new year resolutions, but if I did I would probably do as everybody else does and aim to have achieved something by the end of January. After all that’s the usual pattern. Set an ambitious target at the start of the year, make insufficient progress by the end of January, and become so discouraged that progress after that date is minimal.

I know money loves speed, but it also is rather fond of consistency. If you’ve run through the same pattern I have in previous years it might be worth trying this different approach and skipping the drop in effort that follows disappointment in missing a deadline.

I’m not aiming to have a certain number on my list, or to have completed certain products by the end of next month. It hasn’t worked well in previous years so it’s time to try something different. My targets now sit 90 days into the new year. Of course I’ll have some milestones pencilled in for the end of January in case I have to increase my efforts after that date, but the target written in stone has 30th March 2016 next to it.

I already feel it has taken the pressure off. And I’ve been careful not to make the 90 day target harder so that an onerous target still looms at the end of January.

The worst thing you can do is continue following a method that has been proven not to work in the past. Now might be the perfect time to take a look at how well you’ve executed your plans in previous years and try to come up with an alternative. It could make all the difference to your success next year.

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