When you think of a goal, it’s tempting to start at the beginning of a new calendar period.
So we make New Year Resolutions at the beginning of the year.
Or we swear that we’ll stick to our diet starting on Monday.
Or we commit to a new marketing initiative for our business at the beginning of the month.
Or we commit to faithfully maintaining our bookkeeping records… starting tomorrow.
We like the idea of taking initiative and we know that taking on new projects or commitments is a great way to grow ourselves and our businesses. Plus, it only makes sense for it to begin on a new calendar period because we inherently like to start with a fresh piece of proverbial paper.
Unfortunately, two things conspire to keep us from succeeding.
- Each new day (or week or month or quarter or year) brings its variety of challenges and struggles and it can be hard to integrate that new thing into our lives when we have other new things we’re starting. In other words, we may inadvertently stack up several new starts, which will all compete for the already-limited space in our calendar.
- We implicitly give ourselves permission to do nothing (or, worse yet, to do things that run counter to the goal we are about to adopt). Take dieting as an example: If you choose to start your diet next week, what do you eat between now and Monday? The answer, I’m guessing, is “anything that isn’t nailed down”. So the few days between our decision to start and our actual start is potentially an orgiastic bacchanal of debauchery where we smoke twice as many cigarettes or just let our invoices and payments pile up because “we’re dealing with it on Monday”.
The result of these two problems means that we are start our new activity or goal already a couple of steps behind.
So when is the best to start a new goal or project?
Rather than starting with that fresh piece of proverbial paper, find a way to make it happen immediately.
Do it now because you’ll already be well underway by the time you get to the start of the calendar period when you thought you’d start.
Do it now because your competitors are waiting until the next calendar period to start their thing. You’ll have an advantage over them.
Do it now because you’ll be acting on that initial blast of motivational steam — you might get more done right now (while it’s still exciting) than you would when it becomes a requirement or responsibility.
Do it now because you’ll feel an intense rush of satisfaction that you’re taking action today.
As I write this, it’s Friday and we have guests arriving this evening. Believe me, it’s the very last day that I want to start anything — heck, I’m scrambling to finish a bunch of stuff! It’s SO tempting to wait until I’m back at my desk on Monday. But this is the best time to start something!
So if you’re reading this and you’ve got a project or goal you want to start soon but are putting it off until Monday… STOP. Do it now. Take action immediately.
Do it now!