Why Can’t Every Month of the Year be January?

Hello January

We’ve all been there: After counting down the seconds until midnight on December 31st and watching the ball drop in Times Square, after, we set our sights on our resolutions for the coming year.  These resolutions usually concern our personal lives and, more often than not, our professional goals.  Unfortunately, turning over a new leaf isn’t always easy.  In fact, according to a study by Business Insider, a staggering 80% of resolutions are cast by the wayside in time for February.  The same goes for our yearly business ideals.  We consistently meet our goals during January, but soon find ourselves distracted by new challenges and falling back into old habits.

In this coming new year, how can you keep your business and team running as if it’s January every month?  The answer is more straightforward than you might think: shrink the calendar.

What?  Why?

Research shows that people are only able to focus on goals and ideas for a ninety-day period.  Max.  Think about your resolutions in the past that were less than successful.  We usually burn out within weeks.  Humans don’t operate at our highest capacity when staring down the barrel of a 365-day year.  And that stands to reason.  Those are a lot of days and a lot of things that can happen to disrupt your motivation, achievements, and vision.

How do we fight this?  By dividing the year into smaller segments, effectively shrinking the calendar.  By cutting a year into quarters, each spanning approximately 90 days, you can keep your team’s eyes on the prize.  You can have a fresh start—a “new January”—four times a year.

How?

If you’d like to makeover your business calendar this year to keep you and your team motivated, it can be difficult to figure out where to start.  Consider these steps:

  1. Put yourself 90 days into the future.  Picture what your business would look like if you kept everything exactly the same.  We all want our businesses to grow and prosper, so I can’t imagine you’re very pleased with that image.  Now, picture where you would ideally like to be.  This is a 90-day journey we’re undertaking, and we need to have a destination in mind.

  2. Brainstorm a list of ways that could bring you to that desired outcome.  Remember that baby steps are key.  By breaking your year into quarters, and those quarters into small, seemingly insignificant pieces, you make your business plan manageable and realistic.

  3. Stay on target and track your progress.  The way that you track your progress will vary depending on your goal.  It may involve keeping up-to-date on entering data in a spreadsheet if you’re looking to grow sales, or maybe conducting interviews with your employees if you are looking to change your corporate culture.  What matters is that you keep an eye on the prize.

  4. Stay in the moment.  The point of breaking the year into smaller scale, manageable goals, as obvious as it sounds, is to keep things small and manageable.  But if you’re anything like me, you like to keep half your mind on what’s coming next.  It’s important to have a big-picture goal in mind, of course, but don’t get too far ahead of yourself.  Focus on these 90 days before moving on to the next.

What’s Next?

Once you’ve established your quarterly system, it might take a few rounds to really get the hang of things.  Like anything, focusing on a single quarter at a time instead of a full year takes intention and time.  It’s forming a new habit and shifting the way that you view the world.  With that in mind, it’s important to celebrate your successes.  That’s the reason for breaking things down into segments, isn’t it?  When successes happen with greater frequency—at the end of the quarter versus only the year—it’s like a business New Year’s Eve.  When you meet your goals, take the time to celebrate not only your team’s hard work and victories, but also your own.

Reevaluating your current business calendar and not sure where to begin?  Leadership Delta is here for you this January—and all your Januarys—to complete those business resolutions.  Contact us today!