How to end 2016 with a bang so that you carry massive momentum into 2017 in a LEGIT way.

1. Review your resolutions & goals from earlier in the year.

Remember those goals you set way back at the beginning of 2016? It’s time to bust them out again.

Some people procrastinate from reviewing their yearly goals in the forth quarter because they are afraid they will have to confront their lack lack of progress. Worse still, when they don’t see the progress they’d hoped for, so so so many people end up throwing up their hands and they give up. On the other hand, they convince themselves that, “I’m so off track from where I wanted to be, so to make things easier I’ll just start again in the New Year.”

Now to me, that’s not only sad but crazy! When you program your mindset to think this way, you are essentially missing the power of taking action no matter how far into the new year you are at. It makes no sense to throw away three perfectly good months, two perfectly good months and even one perfect month of the year.

Perhaps the more important thing you need to know is that you need to start New Year’s resolutions in the last three months of the year so that you start the first quarter of the new year off right. The fact is, you need momentum in the forth quarter to have a great first quarter. It’s almost impossible to go from a standstill to a sprint. Life just doesn’t work that way.

So, even if you aren’t on track to hit all your goals (and you probably won’t be), look to create some momentum by figuring out what you can start NOW. All you have to do is create some forth quarter goals and get after them to set yourself up for success in 2017.

2. Create your New Year’s goals NOW.

This might sound crazy, but trust me, it’s a game changer. Create your goals for 2017 as soon as you can in the month of December at the latest. The reason why setting your goals in December is so important is because doing so allows you to absorb and live with your goals, which is VITAL and it still gives you some time to tweak them if need be.

Goal-setting is a bit of an art form, and really, there are a ton of ways to do it effectively. Here’s a formula that I love for its simplicity and because I know it works. We call it the 5-4-3-2-1.

Come up with goals in the following format:

  • five things you need to do
  • four things to STOP doing
  • three new habits
  • two people to hold you accountable
  • one new belief

Going through this process as early as possible in Q4 ensures that you have time to check in and reevaluate your goals before January 1st. You can download our 5-4-3-2-1 worksheet.

3. Don’t just create your goals, get started on them early!

If you’re like most people, you probably begin each New Year with the best of intentions. You come out of the gate hot on January 1, determined to keep your New Year’s resolutions, but right around the 15th, your goals start to go off the rails. You grow frustrated and let your goals lapse, or start feeling guilty. Eventually, you just give up.

Related: 3 Tried-and-True Business Tactics to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

You see, it’s not enough to merely set your goals early (although, of course that’s important). You also have to get started on them in Q4 so you can practice them in a pressure-free environment. Use November and December as a training ground for your goals, before they go live.

The thing is, you will fail. New Year’s goals are a practice. Allow yourself to succeed and fail early, without that added pressure and self-judgement that the New Year brings. You need to give yourself ample time to take hold of your aspirations, so you come out of January 1st at the correct angle of attack.

4. Make sure you give yourself a break the last week of the year.

Reserve that last week between Christmas and New Year’s for active rejuvenation — a chance to recharge for the big year you have ahead of you. This doesn’t mean you can drop everything when that last week rolls around. Ideally, you’ve planned ahead so you don’t have to catch up during this period.

Part and parcel of rejuvenation is taking care of yourself and being smart about your health. During the last quarter of the year, be sure to

  • Eat alkaline foods (all illness thrives in acidic environments)
  • Wash your hands like crazy, give fist bumps more than high fives, and keep Purell at your desk
  • Get enough sleep, especially during holiday party season
  • Take vitamin C (I take it in the morning and during the day)

5. Offset indulgences with healthy choices.

Don’t start the new year behind the eight ball! With the endless parade of holiday parties and decadent meals this time of year, it can be tempting to engage in some seriously unhealthy habits. Avoid falling into this trap by replacing unhealthy choices with healthier ones.

Remember it’s all about momentum for Q4. Avoid a holiday hangover and don’t eat and drink to the point of feeling sluggish, tired and awful in the new year. Notice that I did not say don’t enjoy yourself or be social. I’m a strong believer in giving yourself a bit more dietary leeway during Thanksgiving and over the December holidays. Just make sure you offset indulgences with healthy choices.

6. Reset your internal clock.

The fourth quarter means the end of daylight savings time and a rapid decline in daylight. Ask yourself how the shorter days impact you? For many, limited daylight corresponds with a decrease in energy and a downtick in mood. If this applies to you, you definitely want to get ahead of it.

One thing is for sure, you don’t want to waste what little daylight you do have! Personally, I prefer working out later in the day during the winter because it gives me an extra boost to close out the day. The point is, do what you need to do to adjust to limited daylight without losing a step.

Related: Early to Work, Early Back Home Banishes the Wintertime Blues

7. Go into the holidays with clear personal objectives.

Finally, don’t forget what the holidays are really about: Maintaining our most important relationships. I find it ironic that many leaders, who can be so methodical in all aspects of their business, leave one of the most important aspect of their lives — their relationships with their closest friends and family — completely up to chance.

That’s why you should go into the holidays with clear set objectives when it comes to the relationships in your life. It doesn’t have to be complicated, either. It can simply be a mindset that you’re going to make a concerted effort to work on one or more of the relationships that are important to you.

Remember, just as having a great day is dependent on having a good morning, having an amazing new year is all about having a fantastic and well-thought-out fourth quarter. Practice certainly makes perfect, and failing is all a part of the process.

If it doesn’t challenge you then it won’t change you.


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