If you set professional goals for yourself at the beginning of the year, don't forget to take a look at what you have and haven't accomplished as the year progresses.
"Most people who intend to have a great year at work make a game plan for success in January. But six months later, when things aren't going as well as they expected, they're often not sure where to turn," says Marc Corsini, representative of the Corsini Consulting Group in Birmingham, Ala. "Their best bet is to take time at this halfway point to polish their skills, examine their plans and focus on a productive future."
Mr. Corsini offers the following suggestions on how to coach yourself to a strong finish in the months ahead.
It's halftime; make sure you're still in the game. What matters is what you do for your customers this week, this month and this year. Now's the time to make the necessary adjustments in order to reach the goals you have set for a successful and profitable future. "Concentrate on today's 'I can, I shall and I will' -- not on yesterday's 'I could have, I would have or I should have,' " says Mr. Corsini.
Steady your pace
Remember that pace is more important than speed. "You have about 200 working days each year, so don't worry about establishing a frantic pace," says Mr. Corsini. "Establish a steady, even pace for productivity and success -- not a fast pace that could result in burnout or a snail's pace that could atrophy your skills and talents."
Keep it simple
Develop a simple playbook for success. Most people establish too many goals for themselves. This diverts their attention from the one or two things they really need to accomplish.
Reduce your distractions. Don't fill your life with activities, projects, meetings and groups you don't enjoy. "Reducing your distractions can help you get back to your true interests and your family," says Mr. Corsini.
Develop the skills you need. Figure out the next skill you need to succeed and master it. "If your company will pay for your training, great; if not, pay for it yourself," says Mr. Corsini. "You can't afford not to invest in yourself."
Ease the burden
Determine what drains your personal battery. The tasks people enjoy or are good at normally are the activities that energize them. The tasks they find distasteful or boring drain them of energy and create stress. "Identify those tasks that are draining your energy, then either delegate them or find creative ways to accomplish them that will make these jobs less of a burden," says Mr. Corsini.
Make a plan
Identify and rehabilitate your Achilles' heel. "We all have some areas of our lives that are out of whack," says Mr. Corsini. "At work, it may be organizational, technological or people skills; at home it may be your temper, spiritual life or your relationship with your spouse, family or friends." Identify one area you'd like to work on and commit to a personal-improvement plan. Hold yourself accountable to a mentor, coach, religious leader or support group.
Take time to assess
Position yourself to win your own personal Super Bowl. "Most people do a pretty good job planning what they want to accomplish in a year, but they spend almost no time on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis reflecting, evaluating and focusing on where they are in relation to their game plans," says Mr. Corsini. "This is a crucial element in success and in finishing the year in top form."
Once you accomplish your goals, reward yourself. "Celebrate your success at winning your personal Super Bowl -- be it a night on the town, a trip to the beach or some new clothes," says Mr. Corsini.
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