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The Domino Effect

Every day, we have deadlines to meet, meetings to participate in and expectations to reach — with our stress levels climbing higher and higher along the way. How do we keep up with it all and what can we do to manage the stress? How do we remember those goals we set at the beginning of each new year? The ones where we said we were going to slow down, be more mindful and not let the busyness of the job get to us? 

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We may write down our annual goals with high hopes every January and real enthusiasm for obtaining new career milestones. But after a few months, how many of us are still working on those goals or have we let one stumble take a domino effect that knocks down our whole plan completely? 

In a recent “Before Breakfast” podcast from Laura Vanderkam (the author of several time management and productivity books), she discusses setting quarterly resolutions instead of annual goals. 

“I love setting New Year’s resolutions,” Vanderkam said. “There’s something about the clean slate of a new calendar year that makes me want to set new goals. But, like many people, my excitement about bright, shiny New Year’s goals often exceeds my actual capacity to implement these changes.”

She continued that she loved the idea from entrepreneur Angela Jia Kim to set quarterly resolutions, which give you a clean slate every January, April, July and October.   

Vanderkam said that even though you’re setting more goals, you can be more focused on each one. “Setting quarterly goals allows you to pace yourself …  and 90 days may feel like a more do-able timeframe than a year.” Some resolutions are also better suited for certain parts of the year than others.  

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I agree with her that breaking up goals into these shorter timeframes could help actual change occur throughout the year instead of fading off after a few weeks. Breaking down a major project — like a DMS changeover or a website overhaul — into quarterly projects makes the entire task less daunting. Your personal goals can be set this way as well so that you’re not giving up sugar and starting to train for a marathon all at the same time, getting frustrated and giving up. 

I’m going to remember what Vanderkam said — don’t underestimate what you can do in the short term. Sounds like a good mantra for starting the year off right.  

If you want to listen to her podcast, which includes even more great resolution advice, I’ll share the link in the post of this article on AutoSuccessOnline.com.

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