Formula for Success, Part VI – Safely Cross the Finish Line

To review, the Formula for Success is:

1. Clearly state your goal.
2. Have an end date for your goal.
3. Get accountability partners.
4. Take action daily.
5. On the projected date of completion, close down.
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Now you have stated your goal clearly and in writing with a clearly defined end date. You have attained accountability partners, stepped away from negative friends and colleagues, and set up meetings with those who inspire and support you. You have taken daily action and now you are nearing the deadline for completion of your goal. What will you do when you get there?

5. On end dates, check in, assess, learn, celebrate and start again.

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” –Albert Einstein

One thing many people do is to set goals and deadlines, but do nothing when the deadline arrives. There are several reasons that this is not productive. First, goal-setting and attainment is largely related to your energy levels. In other words, if you feel motivated and enthusiastic about your goal, you will work diligently toward it. But when you leave a goal hanging past the date of its stated completion, that can drain your energy and affect your focus. This can happen if you say something like, “I am going to make $10,000 this month.” Then the month ends and you do not know – or check to find out – how much you made.

It is also less effective to close down the month knowing you only made $9,000, but not consciously considering what happened that you didn’t reach your goal. Similarly, if you made $11,000, but did not stop to acknowledge and celebrate your success this would not be the best use of your energy.

If you are going to set a goal with a deadline, you should acknowledge when the deadline arrives and determine where you are in achieving your goal. Employ the following process. The first few times you may wish to discuss these things with someone else, or analyze the process in writing. After a few times, though, you may be able to do it in your head.

1. When the deadline arrives, check to see whether you achieved your goal.

2. If you have achieved your goal, acknowledge that and celebrate! What you are doing is challenging – don’t dismiss it. Give yourself credit.

3. If you did not achieve your goal, take a step back and analyze why that is. Learn from your results. Take that learning and move forward with it. Do not beat yourself up. That gets old. More importantly, it does not help you to move forward. If you feel bad about something, let go of it. Write down what happened, then tear up the paper or burn it. Do NOT carry it forward with you.

4. Set your next goal. Move on. Do not give up! You cannot fail until you quit. One of the biggest challenges for most people is setting an artificial deadline by which they think, “If it doesn’t happen by this time, it never will.” Or “If it doesn’t happen by this time, I give up!” And often that deadline is unconscious until we are upon it and we say, “That’s it. I give.” The formula works if you stick with it. It doesn’t work if you stop. The purpose of a deadline is to give you a time when you reassess how your actions are working to move you toward your stated goal. It is NOT so that you get to the deadline and throw in the towel.

Finish line