How to Stay Motivated and Productive Through the First Quarter of the Year

We’re a couple of weeks into the New Year! How are your resolutions holding up? Have you encountered any obstacles or interference yet? If so, don’t sweat it, it’s to be expected. The key to long-term success is staying focused and continuing to taking action despite these set-backs. I know what you’re thinking, it’s not always easy to stay fired-up and focused when obstacles appear. I agree with you. So this year I want to help you not only start strong, but also keep up the pace toward the change you want to make. One helpful tip is to focus on quarterly objectives and use this as an accountability measuring stick. Break down what you want to accomplish within the first few months of the year, and assess your progress going forward. What do want accomplish over the first quarter of this year? Basically, what do you want to have accomplished by the end of April? Once you have your list of milestones you want to achieve, it’s a matter of remaining focused, motivated, and on-task. Here are some ideas to help you do just that.

Do the big things first

It is easy to procrastinate on the big heavy tasks looming over us. We may not know where to start or simply feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the project. So, a good rule of thumb to prevent procrastination is to make headway on the big tasks you have on your agenda first. Start chipping away at the big rocks and little by little you will have them out of the way. When the big things aren’t taking up as much space we can more easily make room for the little things. For a helpful perspective on this read the late Stephen Covey’s story about dealing with the big rocks of life.

Focus on the process 

Each day offers valuable opportunities to make progress. Keep yourself engaged and focused by setting process goals along with the larger outcome goals. Process goals are the mini-achievements that help you move toward your long-term goals. Make some process goals for the next four months. Aim to perform specific daily actions, which you can control, rather than to achieve certain outcomes, which you can’t. Here is an article from Live Your Legend that offers some added insight about focusing on the process.

Write about it

Start a notebook, journal or blog to record what you are learning and experiencing. Jot down your current reality, and then write down what you want to see happen. Record your progress along with any information you learn along the way that can help you and aid in your growth. Capture any ideas, inspiration, contacts, lessons, resources, etc.

Write a letter to your future self

Now is the time to be proactive about staying motivated. Start planting the seeds to help you remain motivated later. Even when we have an inspiring vision and grand purpose for what we are doing, situations will emerge to test our resolve. A fun ways to help you push past obstacles and break free from excuses is to write a letter to your future self. Use to send an email to your self in a few months describing your thoughts, feelings and hopes right now. This can be a great reminder and help you keep perspective. Here is the letter I sent myself: “Hi Joe, if you’re reading this its four months into 2013 on April 30. It’s time to review how things are going. At this time of the year you were planning on having 15 ongoing coaching clients, facilitating monthly meditation classes, and conducting the 7 Steps to Lasting Change workshop.  How are things going? If you haven’t made progress and stuck with your intentions what has got in the way? What are you going to do about it? If things are going well and you’re on track then celebrate your success! Otherwise, do something today! It’s time to get your ass in gear and take the necessary steps. Take one step to get yourself back on track. Contact your coach for a booster session and remember your mission to help others heal and grow into their purpose and potential. You are a great person and deserve happiness, well-being, and success. Stick with it!”

Accountability is key

If you don’t surround yourself with people who align with your values and life direction do so immediately. Find a group where you can get practical support, ideas and inspiration. Meet as many people as possible who can help you. Find role models or mentors to help you into the future.

Make time for inspiration 

Create more space in your life for uplifting and positive experiences. In order to make more time, find something you can stop doing by making a “not-to-do” list. Include anything from your routine that can be a time waster. Once you have made some extra time, use this to full up and get energized. Feed your passion by making weekly play dates with yourself. Some ideas that may speak to you:

Bonus tip: Stay healthy! 

Since it’s flu season this tip is crucial for the first quarter of the year. I came down with something over the last week and it completely threw off my routine and momentum. I feel better now, but there is nothing like have no energy or motivation to do anything to make you realize how important health is to our enduring success. I hope these ideas provide a road map to help you stay on course toward your yearly goals and aspirations. The ideas can be applied at any time and be used on an as needed basis. Find what works for you and utilize it when you start feeling stuck. What about you? How do you stay motivated? What productivity tips do you have? We would love to hear from you in a comment below!