Start Now

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With 18 days left in the year, it’s tempting to put off new goals until New Year’s Day.

But now is a great time to get a jump start on what you want to accomplish in the new year.

Whether it’s physical or fiscal fitness, revitalizing your career or community involvement or enjoying time with family or friends, start now.

Why?

Skip the crowds. Being a contrarian and doing things when others aren’t often leads to a more efficient and pleasant experience.

Gyms aren’t busy right now, as they will be the first few weeks of the year. Now is a great time to enjoy a workout when others aren’t.

You can mix up your routine in early January to avoid the crowds. Exercise outside or change the time of your workout so you aren’t waiting for a machine or a spot in class.

Build momentum. Rather than feel like you’re starting from zero on Jan. 1, build three weeks of momentum heading into the new year.

It’s easier to continue along a path you’ve already started. And you can accelerate faster if you’re already moving.

Developing momentum builds commitment and confidence in achieving your goals. My Fitbit green-day challenge is energizing me to add other goals to the mix.

Develop a new habit. Science now says it takes 66 days to form a new habit, rather than 21 days, to establish a new habit.

Even with that longer lead time, if you start now you’ll be more than a quarter of the way to establishing a new habit by the new year.

For forming new habits, Gretchen Rubin‘s Better Than Before is a great place to start.

Combine complimentary goals. If one of your goals is to read more, think about how what you choose to read can drive other goals. For my learning project, much of my reading will be about marketing.

And I can read while I’m walking on the treadmill, bringing another goal together with my green-day challenge to hit a series of fitness metrics every day.

Set goals, not resolutions. The concept of New Year’s resolutions makes me cringe. A resolution sounds negative to me, like something you resolve to do or not do whether you like it or not.

It sounds punitive. And because sheer willpower is required to keep a resolution, they’re also a recipe for failure. Willpower isn’t a sustainable strategy.

Goals on the other hand feel more positive. They are affirmative statements of what you choose to do and what you will do. They can be aspirational and inspirational.

Just as you set performance goals in your professional life each year, now is the ideal time to be thinking about your goals, desires and dreams for the new year.

Just start. You don’t have to be perfect to start working on your new goals. Just begin. The future will come into focus as you do.

Take this blog, for example. I’m in the process of shifting the focus from exploring the future of corporate communications to learning about the process of learning.

The future isn’t completely clear or totally defined just yet (if it ever will be). But I’m blogging in the meantime, as I figure out the path forward.

“Take action now and learn as you go” is the valuable mantra from Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future.

What could you start now that would turn into a positive new habit by the time you ring in the new year?

Published by

Caroline Leach

Hi, I'm Caroline Leach. I help people and organizations tell their stories. I'm a Marketing VP at AT&T, a former Communications VP at DIRECTV and an alum of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. This blog, Social Media Savvy for Corporate Professionals, shows you how to build your personal brand, advance your career and embrace your future. It helps you promote your employer and your network too. Opinions expressed in this blog are my own. Your comments are welcomed and encouraged. I'd love to hear from you!

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