Use the last day of summer to nail your goals for autumn

Leadership + Management

Picture: The University of Texas Austin

The last days of summer are a good time to get ready to hit the ground running in the office once the holiday season finally draws to a close, writes Art Markman, professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin and Founding Director of the Programme in the Human Dimensions of Organisations. 

Here are a few things you can do to make sure you’re able to re-start your job with new energy:

1. Look for where you have fallen short before

Nobody achieves all of their goals. You don’t have enough time and energy to accomplish everything you set out to do all the time. But part of being successful is finding a way to achieve as much as you can as often as you can. Do not look at one-off misses, but rather at systematic failures. “If there’s something you’ve tried multiple times to accomplish but have consistently fallen short, then chances are you won’t succeed at your next attempt, either – at least not without making a significant change. Summer might not be a great time to actually make the change that might improve your chances, but it’s the perfect time to nail down what that change should be”, writes Markman in Fast Company.

Is there a pattern to the reasons you’ve failed? Is there one key thing that keeps standing in your way? Are there skills you need to sharpen? What are some of these factors, and how can you tackle those first, before re-aiming for the goal itself?

2. Plan a round of small changes

Sit down with a colleague or supervisor who can help you find ways to delegate, automate, or prioritise some of the obstacles you’ve identified. Start with the small stuff – they’ll be easier for others to get behind and for you to take action on – and make a strong case for why the goal they’re meant to serve will benefit the organisation, not just you. The key is just to start these conversations while the summertime slump is still in force.

3. Rethink your sources of support

Sometimes the reason for your systematic failures has to do with the advice and support you’re relying on. The end of summer is a great time to take stock of your mentors and look for new ones who can help you set a promising course for the end of the year.

Take a look around and find someone who’s succeeded at accomplishing the same type of goal that’s eluded you. Use the last few weeks of summer to invite that person out for lunch or a cup of coffee. Enlist their help to give you suggestions for how to tweak your schedule, sharpen a skill, or switch up your approach. Make these connections now, so you can tap them when you’re ready to.

Read more on Fastcompany


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