I’m not a big fan of this time of the year. Maybe it’s all the leaves dropping from the trees that doesn’t appeal to my ex forces OCD, cleanliness, everything in its place kind of thing.

I don’t think it’s that though, it’s more to do with the days drawing in. It’s dark on my morning exercise or commute and then the long summer nights seem a distant memory and Christmas is looming on the horizon.

It’s like another year is rushing to complete itself and I’m left thinking, “Hold on there tiger, I’m not done with you yet”.

At the start of every year I set myself some goals for the coming 12 months. Some I polish off quite quickly, and others are far tougher and take a lot longer to achieve.

One of my goals for the year was to run the Cardiff Half Marathon which is only a few weeks away. Then there are other targets like going away for New Year (bear in mind when I set these goals it was January 2018 and it was cold and raining!!). There were some financial milestones and then fitness targets. There were some business goals and some family goals.

I basically spend a day at the turn of the New Year just setting these out. When I’m happy, I get my new notebook out for the year ahead and write them down, front and centre, on the first page. Then I print my vision out and stick it to the front cover. Finally, I like to put an inspiring quote or phrase that will help me through the year (I have enclosed a picture for you in the article). This little ritual carries me through the year.

We all have little lulls or fall off the wagon when it comes to routines and disciplines, so I find this simple little trick allows me to get back on track. I frequently refer back to these goals and feel a huge sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I achieve them and get to scratch them off.

In some cases, I can’t cross one off because I haven’t quite achieved it, but what I do find on these occasions, is that I’ve come bloody close!

Funnily enough, one of those goals was the Cardiff Half, and trust me, it will give me great pleasure in crossing that one off in a few weeks’ time. It’s been a long, hot summer doing the miles for that one.

I also find myself looking at what is still left to be done and wondering how I can squeeze every ounce out of this year.

Which brings me back to my point. . . don’t stop now!

I saw two conflicting viewpoints only yesterday and last week.

One of my clients was using already Christmas as a cut-off point. Her mind-set was, “I’ll leave that now until the New Year”. I was at pains to show her that with that mind-set we would be wasting 3 months. She wasn’t talking about an exercise regime either, this was a strategy for the business. Thankfully we put together an action plan that saw us maximising these next three months, and by the New Year the strategy will be well underway and the business reaping the rewards.

On the flip side, I also spent two great days on a Strategy Bootcamp with a Board of Directors. I’ve been doing these events for Renegades for some time now and it never ceases to amaze me the impact it has on a business and a team.

We took 2 days out of the business and I was keen to stress on day one that there was a lot of money in the room. Not only that there was a lot of time in the room. The good Lord isn’t making any more of that, so we have to ensure we maximise every ounce of it. For that reason, I was keen for everyone to appreciate that we should really endeavour to see where we would all get the return on investment (ROI) for the coming two days.

The process is designed to maximise the next 90 days, which we were all surprised to learn was the week before Christmas. What an energising thing to see and understand how much we could all achieve in that time.

In many cases, as I have previously said, people are already starting to shut down, which I find crazy. To get the most out of this year, we should be speeding up.

Over the two days I set the team of Directors a question on day one. . . “With unlimited budget and unlimited resource, what MUST the business achieve in the next 12 months?”

After 2 hours of brainstorming and writing every idea on the flip chart in front of us, we had some great (and not so great) ideas.

We then set about prioritising those ideas and eventually, after much healthy debate, we identified the top 5.

My next challenge wasn’t so easy.

I took the number one priority – the task that the whole team unanimously agreed was THE NUMBER ONE PRIORITY, and said, “What has to be done to achieve this goal in the next 90 days?”

We then stripped that goal back to its most basic, micro level. That was great but then we added the secret sauce.

We put names next to tasks, and dates by when each element would be completed and then finally we made one of the team accountable for its delivery.

We then repeated the above with the top four tasks (we ran out of time for Number 5!)

What a great way to end the year!

The senior team and Board of Directors left the off-site venue last week, armed with a strategy and a plan to achieve 4 of the most important goals for their business to achieve in the next 12 months. More than that, they have a clear plan to achieve that before Christmas, in the next 90 days.

They have dates for progress meetings and they all know who is doing what, by when, and who is accountable for its delivery.

ROI was off the charts and the sheer passion and enthusiasm was palpable.

You see, it’s a mind-set thing.

So my question to you this month is, “Are you speeding up or slowing down?”