If you’re anything like me, your inbox has been awash with Christmas emails since October. Deals on this, discounts on that, dreams can come true, and so on.
Psychologically Christmas is like a huge wall in the path ahead: you’ve seen it coming from a long way away and you know you have to deal with it. But here’s the thing. Just the other side of the wall, the path keeps going, and once you’ve negotiated the wall you’ll have to keep going too.
That’s why this is the best possible time to plan ahead. 2014 is just two weeks away, and you need to be sure you’re ready to make the most of it. Starting a new business? Launching a new product? Setting new goals? You can afford to take some time off over the holidays, but you can’t afford to take all of January to get up and running when you get back to the office.
So, here are just three simple things you can do to make sure you’re ready for what lies ahead:
1. Set some goals. They don’t have to be hard to reach, but they do have to be real, achievable and measurable, so that you can mark them off when you get there. It could be as straightforward as getting a logo for your new business, as crucial as setting up a good database so you can keep in touch with clients, or as brave as getting out there and winning three key customers by Easter. Whatever they are, make them and write them down now.
2. Look for people who can help you. Only big businesses have all the people with all the skills they need. If you’re not sure how to do something, ask an expert. It’s at least twice as expensive to do it yourself. Surround yourself with great people who are good at what they do – so that you can concentrate on reaching those goals.
3. Keep the momentum going. This is going to be a great year for you – you’ve already started planning it! But to keep the momentum going, rope in someone that will make you accountable. It can be a business buddy, a networking colleague, someone in your family or a coach – but you need someone who will say “How are you doing?”, “Have you set new goals for later in the year?”, “How can I help?”. Put a date in the diary now to sit down with them for a review so that you know you have the support you need.
This end of this week and the beginning of next is the winding-down period at work. Give yourself a few hours to set up your plan and you’ll find that the closer you get, the less your wall looks like a big pile of bricks and the more it resembles all the things you love. You can enjoy them over Christmas in the knowledge that you’re ready for the next step along the path.