Practices Who Start Well Set This up Before They Finish

As I write this, we are into December and, for me, this time of year is about doing three really important things:

  • End of year marketing, which I wrote about recently in this blog,
  • Forward planning for the January restart, to make it easier to get ignition, and
  • Debriefing the year and bringing projects to a neat conclusion, so we can all enjoy some high quality downtime.

I wanted to share the reason for focusing on this, and it’s all about how you start the year.

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” ― Mark Twain

For some practices, it kinda goes like this:

  • Work like mad right up until the last minute so you’ve got nothing left,
  • Get a bunch finished by leave a bunch of loose ends because you run out of time,
  • Enjoy the break, trying to put any unfinished business to the back of your mind and leave the laptop in your bag,
  • Come back in the new year and start to think about what to focus on.
  • Get started.

The problem with that is by the time you’ve started to think about things, by the time you got back in the office and you kind of got underway, you can easily be into February.

Even March, if you’re really unlucky.

The obvious problem with waiting until the end of March for your plan to roar into life is you’ve said goodbye to a quarter of the year.

By design, you’re playing catch-up from the very beginning, trying to squeeze 12 months of opportunity into 8-9 months of actual “doing”.

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear made an observation about achieving success that most high-level sports people will instantly recognise.

Results have less to do with setting goals than they have to do with systems followed.

If you begin something with a clear sense of what you will do – one activity, then the next, then the next – you stand a higher chance of achieving a better outcome (assuming the system itself is proven to work), than not.

For the past five years, I’ve begun each January with a recipe for the restart that I call Planning to Perform.

It has three key steps and revolves around:

  • reconnecting with, reconfirming or refreshing the vision for where you want to be 3-5 years from now,
  • creating a business plan-on-a-page via a process I call Domino Planning
  • Making sure every business I work with can track the implementation of each project week-by-week and is tracking the right metrics (including pipeline).

The reason I set it up this way is simply because when my clients start the year clear, motivated and with a system to follow, it makes achieving results come December immeasurably easier.

It used to be something I just did with clients, but a few years ago I started opening it out to non-program members who wanted to participate over that initial three-week period and, well, I kind of like the way it works.

The thing is though – for all the reasons I outlined earlier, once 17 December rolls around, the only thing I’ll be working on is my tan.

If you’d like to be part of the Planning to Perform program, you can read all about it here and make an application to join (before 17 December).

Of course, if you need more than just a plan, book a quick chat so we can talk about where you’d like to take your practice in 2023 and scope out a plan that confirms that an investment in coaching will generate a positive return on investment.

Related: The One End-of-Year Activity You Shouldn’t Ignore