Getting It Done in 2021

This was written as a column kicking off 2021 but the main components are applicable any time you’re looking at establishing some goals and want to include some strategies for success. We tend to use January 1st as a tried and true start date for turning over a new leaf but when you think about it tomorrow works just as well. In other words…turn one day into day one and put procrastination in the rearview mirror!


It's official, the seemingly never-ending year of 2020 has come to an end. Every January 1st arrives carrying a blank canvas ready for each of us to decide what the upcoming year's portrait will look like, but this year the countdown to a fresh start has been long and loud. After this year we've all experienced together it's certainly no surprise that the general sentiment is goodbye and good riddance to 2020, but that sure puts the pressure on the new guy 2021 to really hit the ground running and be the best year ever. Not to kill the New Year's buzz, but we can probably all agree that it's an unrealistic expectation that the world will suddenly be back to normal with a flip of the calendar page but what we can do is take steps to make sure it becomes the year we envision it to be.


That said, it seems timely to dedicate this Bar Talk to resolutions and goals as those topics are probably on our radar screen now more than usual. In particular, what I hope to do is peel back a couple more layers and shine some light on what propels us towards those resolutions and goals every day to help get going in the right direction out of the gate.


Setting and achieving goals are core components of BAR40, and I write about the topic extensively both in the book and posts on LinkedIn. I also have conversations with people on the topic continuously throughout the year and have the unique vantage point to see how success is achieved and where trouble pops up most often. Let's zero in on one area in particular as it ties in so closely to success and failure when it comes to goals: motivation. '


All too often, there is a misunderstanding of where motivation fits into the story of reaching goals. Generally speaking, we expect that motivation is what we need first to start on our journey towards achieving whatever goal we have, but in reality, motivation comes from merely starting out and getting a small taste of success. I'm sure you have said or thought, "I'm just not motivated to do...xyz" and this is a mental roadblock we can quickly get around. Do yourself a favor and take that phrase out of your vocabulary and thought-process immediately. Waiting for motivation is a disservice to yourself and a surefire way to waste time and create regret down the road.


Think about your own experiences with procrastination for a minute. The mental lead-up to whatever task we aspire to do can quickly be built up into something much more complicated and arduous than actually getting started on it and taking the first steps (literally if it involves getting a walk a run in). This approach goes in the simple but not easy category, stop spending all the mental energy thinking about doing something and start actually doing it. Turn 'someday' into day one and take action. There is no substitute for that feeling of success that comes from even a small amount of progress in closing the gap between the start line and the finish. That