Somehow, we’re less than 90 days away from Christmas. It feels like only a few months ago that we were taking down last year’s tree and tinsel, but believe it or not, the most wonderful time of the year is fast approaching. It’s also the start of Q4, the final push business-wise until we can all take a break over the New Year. If you feel like you haven’t quite got back on track after the summer holidays, you’re not alone. It’s time for some Q4 goat setting to help set you on course to smash your goals for the rest of 2021.

Not sure where to start? Let’s look at 5 steps to take to set Q4 goals you’re bound to achieve.

Revisit your 2021 goals

The pandemic has made time slow down and speed up all at once, so if you’ve totally forgotten the goals you set back in January, you’re 100% forgiven. Even so, now’s the perfect chance to dig through your folders for your Resolutions. You’re likely to find you ticked off a number of goals without even realising it – and if not, you probably focused your attention on other areas of your business instead. That’s totally fine: it just means your goals were flexible from the outset. With that in mind, go through your list and eliminate the ones you don’t actually care so much about, and isolate ones you do really want to achieve. As the author of Atomic Habits and all-round goal expert James Clear says, “one of the fastest ways to make progress on your goals is to simply press pause on less important things, and focus on one goal at a time.” Particularly good advice as we speed towards the busiest period of the year.  

Be realistic

Following on from that advice, it’s worth bearing in mind that you’re usually less productive in Q4 than in Q1 or Q2. You’ve got the triple whammy of Halloween, Christmas and New Year (and if you’ve got kids, endless costumes to come up with…) that tend to suck our time, energy and attention, and with everything opening up, it’s likely you’ll be attending a few holiday parties. Be realistic about what you can achieve in the next three months. There’s no point being overly ambitious and coming up with a monster list you’ll never complete. Instead, make your goals specific and break them up into bite-sized chunks. That way, you’ll better be able to assess your chances of reaching those goals. Pick one, two or three goals you really want to work towards, and make them your focus. Once you’ve decided your goals and the mini-goals that make them up, pop some slots in your calendar in which to work on those goals.

Celebrate what you’ve achieved so far

So often in life, we rush from one task to another without taking the time to celebrate ourselves and our achievements. This is particularly true for small business owners: there’s always something to do, and we are not in the habit of patting ourselves on the back for our hard work. But it’s arguably more important for us: we don’t have a boss giving us a bonus and a great end-of-year review, so we need to get better at celebrating ourselves. Often, we get caught up in what we haven’t done, or what someone else is doing better than us. This quarter, set aside an afternoon to treat yourself for your hard work. Take yourself out for lunch, buy yourself something nice, or just grab coffee with a friend in the middle of the day if that feels like a treat for you. Taking the time to celebrate your achievements will help motivate you for your next set of goals, whilst boosting your confidence and getting rid of any imposter syndrome.

Buddy up

A problem shared is a problem halved – and the same goes for goal setting. Buddying up with someone with similar goals is a great way to increase your chances of success. Why? Because we tend to feel worse about letting someone else down than we do about letting ourselves down… It’s one thing secretly cancelling our 7am spin class to spend another hour in bed, and it’s another to have to reply to your accountability buddy’s check-in text saying “oopsy…”. Whether your goals are business or personal, a buddy will help be your cheerleader when you’re lacking motivation – especially as the days get colder and darker. If you’re a member of Found & Flourish, sign up to their Buddy Up feature and be paired with an accountability buddy who will help you to keep on track. If not, ask around your friends and see if anyone wants to partner up. The trick? Set your expectations together. Will you each get one free pass a week? Will you have to treat the other to a coffee if you don’t hold up your end of the deal? Whatever it is, come up with a system that works for you.

Think ahead to next year

Finally, one of the best ways of setting Q4 goals is to think ahead to next year. Write your New Years Resolutions for 2022 as if it were already 1 January (and believe us, it will be here quickly enough). Now, you’ve given yourself a 3 month head start! What can you already get cracking with to set yourself up for success next year? If you want to start having networking coffees on a weekly basis in 2022, do the groundwork now. Join an online community, ask friends for intros, and go to local events to get in the groove. Your future self will thank you!

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Phoebe Dodds

Phoebe Dodds

About your author

Phoebe is Found & Flourish’s resident Business blogger, she is London-born and Frankfurt-, Paris- and Amsterdam-raised. Combining her Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship with 10 years writing for international publications, she’s the founder of BURO155 and Wellby, helping female entrepreneurs achieve their business goals through strategic online content. Phoebe is also a writer, and has written for outlets including the Huffington Post, the Guardian, the Next Web, For Working Ladies and Restless Magazine.


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