Chances are you’re already familiar with the “80/20 Rule,” also known as the Pareto Principle.
According to the 80/20 rule, you wear 20% of your clothes about 80% of the time. You get 80% of your results from 20% of your actions. Close to 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients. And so on.
But there’s another rule that’s also important to know: The 90-Day Rule.
And here’s what The 90-Day Rule says: The success, or the failure, that you are experiencing today is not the result of the things that you are doing today — it’s the result of the activity you were engaged in 90 days ago.
Hmmm… Take a minute to think about that. What exactly were you doing 90 days ago?
(For kicks, I just looked back at my calendar exactly three months ago today. Interestingly, that particular day I had three new client prospect calls scheduled — and two of those individuals are working one-on-one with me today. Pretty cool!)
The key takeaway from the 90-Day Rule is that if you want to be further along in your business come this March, then you need to be taking the right actions TODAY. That means making the most of December — a month that can easily vaporize amidst all the holiday cheer!
With that in mind, here are four strategic steps I take each December to not only finish out the year on a strong note, but to actually gain momentum heading into the New Year.
Strategy 1: Carefully review your goals for the current year.
Whether you wrote them down on paper or just thought about them in your head, you probably set at least a handful of goals for 2011. Maybe you wanted to bring in a certain amount of revenue, launch a new program, get X number of new clients, speak at particular events, etc. And I’m willing to bet that at least a few of these goals bit the dust sometime back in late spring or early summer.
But before you write these goals off entirely, take some time this month to really review them in detail. What goals did you accomplish? (Be sure to acknowledge and celebrate them.) What goals did you change your mind about… and why? And, most importantly, what goals did you start, but not finish?
Strategy 2: Identify at least one open goal you can finish by Dec. 31.
When you review your goals, you’ll no doubt find a few things you didn’t accomplish because other, more urgent things got in the way. It’s very easy to tell yourself that you will get to these tasks “next year.” But what I’ve found is that making the extra effort to get one or even two of them off your list this year will free up your mental and emotional energy in a BIG way — catapulting you into the coming year with much greater momentum.
Are there any goals on your list that are nearly 80% there? If so, get clear about why you haven’t finished them. Do you just need to set aside a few hours on your calendar to address them? Or is there some other barrier standing in the way? If so, talk through with a friend, peer or coach what you can do to get past that barrier once and for all.
Strategy 3: Decide on your “3 Big Rocks” for 2012.
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you probably set more goals than anyone could realistically accomplish… in a day, a week, a month or even year. It’s practically in our DNA to set the bar way too high. So instead of writing a laundry list of goals, I recommend that you identify what I call “3 Big Rocks” on which you will focus your energy next year.
You can also think of these initiatives as your “3 to Thrive” – meaning that if you accomplished nothing else but these three things, you would still be ridiculously successful — and, more importantly, proud of the year you had.
Strategy 4: Take at least 1 action toward each Big Rock.
Since you now know exactly what you want to accomplish next year — and you also know that the success you’ll have 90 days from now is dictated by what you do TODAY — you can see why it’s so critical to take 3 actions right now toward each of your big rocks. These three actions should be meaningful because they are the seeds that will determine your level of success three months from now, when gingerbread houses, door buster deals and holiday lights are nothing more than a distant memory!
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Known as The Corporate Agent, Angelique Rewers, ABC, APR, teaches micro business owners and solopreneurs around the world how to grow their small business by working with Big Business. Get her FREE CD and articles at www.TheCorporateAgent.com.