Staying on Track for Year Ahead

By Jennifer Evans written for the Orange County Paralegal Association Compendium

As we close out the first quarter, I am amazed at how fast this year has started. The legal industry is moving forward at full throttle. And, if you are anything like me, your new year goals are beginning to fall to the wayside. At the beginning of each year, I am always encouraged by the possibilities a fresh start brings. However, like many, March is when I start to lose momentum and get caught up in the day-to-day grind. Before Q1 is in our rearview mirror, I think it is a great time to pause and reboot.

Here are some quick tips on resetting and making your best year yet:

Clarify Why You Chose the Goals You Did
It is hard to stay committed to something if you don’t have a clear purpose for change. Reflecting on why you chose your goals will help clarify if you want to remain committed to them. What was the purpose of the goal? How does it improve your life? Will it make a positive impact on your work – on your family?

Embrace Imperfect Progress
If you struggle with perfectionism, the challenge to keep moving forward is a real one. This is where many of us give up. I was reminded years ago that imperfect progress is still progress. Take a moment to review what you have accomplished and what you have not. Celebrate your small wins and focus your energy here.

Create a 100-day Plan
The bigger the goal, the easier it is to fall into self-doubt. When we spend too much time focused on reaching the end, it is easy to get stuck and overwhelmed. Instead, ask yourself what one to three small changes/actions you can take over the next 100 days that will move you a little closer to your ultimate goal.

Don’t Overthink It
Successful people develop an action plan, and they jump in. They might not have all the answers, but they take action and begin. Your failure to execute may be one of your biggest hindrances in achieving your goals. Use your 100-day plan to take steps now (no matter how small) that will drive you forward.

Combat the Natural Tendency of Avoidance
It is best to discipline yourself to begin immediately with the most challenging task when starting your day. We often avoid something new or hard, which stalls our progress. The key to achieving high-performance levels is developing a habit of tackling the most difficult thing first. This achievement (even if small) builds momentum and can feed your endorphins that can trigger confidence, clarity, and competence.

Find an Accountability Buddy
Self-motivation is a great tool, but I have found an accountability buddy helps. Consider sharing your goals with a coworker or professional mentor. In doing so, you’re less likely to make up excuses and more likely to stay committed.

Get Used to Saying No
Staying on track means we have to put ourselves first sometimes. Easier said than done, I know. However, it will continue to be challenging to achieve success when we are over-committed and giving out more energy than we receive back in.

Jennifer Evans, CSP, has 30 years of experience in the legal recruiting industry. She enjoys the opportunity to speak with intelligent & dynamic law professionals and partnering with them in their career management and growth initiatives. She is a regular presenter on topics that help individuals enhance their careers and professional social media presence. Jennifer is co-founder of Talent Access Solutions, a CA legal search firm she established in 2012.