Create Your Action Analysis for the New Year

Beyond setting intentions for the New Year, let’s come back to the very practical matter: how to best maintain focus on all those goals we’ve set.

Instead of adding to your goals and lists (which are no doubt quite long already!) consider this one key success strategy: Personal Action Analysis.

It’s about a week into the new year — how is it for you? Have you stepped back to think about how things are going for you so far? And mainly, how often do you do that?

Step back and consider what you did and what you wish to do differently. The most successful women and men do a quick check at least weekly, and many even do so on a daily basis.

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Here is what works for many of us:

1. Taking a few minutes to examine recent actions in light of the specific, set goals and objectives and then asking:

  • Did I take, or am I taking, the right steps toward accomplishing the most important goals I set?
  • What successes am I having? Why?
  • Where am I encountering difficulties or having obstacles? Why?
  • What am I learning? About myself? About others?
  • How are my interactions with others going?>
  • With whom should I communicate or interact?

2. Based on the answers to the above, then asking:

  • What do I need to start doing?
  • What do I need to keep doing?
  • What do I need to stop doing?

It is the “stop doing” actions that seem to be the ones most often overlooked. Jim Collins is a best-selling author and expert on how great companies and leaders achieve superior long-lasting performance, and he calls it practicing the discipline of removal.

According to Collins, one key decision about what to stop doing might have as much impact as five new initiatives. It is not feasible or viable to take new actions and embark upon new ventures if you are unwilling to create the time in your mind or your day to decide on the things you will stop doing.

Recently, Donna Fenn surveyed some business owners about what they intended to stop doing. Here are a few responses that I have adapted:

  • Stop spending so much time checking and responding to email. You may feel like you are accomplishing a lot, or you may feel needed. But if you allow email to intrude on mind time, you can’t possibly be completely focused on the most important issues and tasks.
  • Stop spending so much time in meetings. Make sure you have time set aside each day to think, work on, and review your top priorities.
  • Stop feeling that you must be involved in or in control of everything. If there is one new year’s wish I have for my clients, it is this one. Why do we think that our way is the best way or the only way? Why do we think it won’t be successful without us? I promise, if you let go or just provide some guidance and coaching — they can do it. (Really, they can.)
  • Stop saying yes to everything. This seems to be one of the biggest challenges women face. It’s ok, just say no.
  • Stop being distracted by unimportant activity. There is a huge difference between activity and results. Determine which actions drive your business and priorities. Focus on those.

It all goes back to your intention. If you keep your intention as the basis for how you live your life, the goals you set will be automatically prioritized. Then, it is just a matter of regularly taking a few minutes for quick analysis of your actions.

Wishing you all the very best in the New Year!

What do you intend to start or stop doing?