But, it's only February you say! You're exactly correct. Yet, how you go about achieving your goals, even this early in the year, will determine whether or not you:

Fall short
Exactly hit or
the goals you set for yourself and/or organization in 2012.

I'd like to describe three scenarios to illustrate what I mean.

Scenario #1 You Fall Short
You've done a reasonably good job at setting your personal and/or business goals. You've done your homework and pulled together your records from last year.

You did a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis about your practice and yourself personally. You were extremely honest in your assessment and vowed that some aspects about your business needed to change. This may have involved staff and/or yourself.

You reviewed your practice management systems and processes and determined that there was room for much needed improvement. You decided that you were tired of solving the same type of problems over and over again. You asked yourself, "What is the highest and best use of my time if I am to achieve my personal and business goals". You were ruthless with your answers. You then listed in priority order what needed to get done and by when. You committed your plan to writing and vowed to review it every day.

That was in January. It's now mid-April. Tax season is finally done (except for some who filed for extensions). You decide that it's time to review your goals and your progress towards achieving them. You discover that you’re behind where you thought you'd be. "But, it's only April" you tell yourself, "I still have eight months to accomplish my goals."

This scenario is repeated again at the end of the third quarter. It's now mid-October and it dawns on you, "I better put it into gear if I'm going to hit my goals. The year concludes. Perhaps you did just achieve or just miss achieving your goals. "Next year will be better" you tell yourself and begin the annual planning process again.

Scenario #2 You Will Exactly Hit Your Goals
This scenario begins just like scenario #1. You do your homework and analysis as before. But this time, you set time frames for completion for each goal you want to achieve. As far as production goals are concerned, you realize that you really don't have 52 full weeks to work during the year. Between vacations, company meetings and conventions, incentive travel, volunteer and family obligations, illnesses (self, family, staff), and of course, the unexpected events we can never anticipate, you really only have about 40 weeks in which to accomplish everything in your annual plan. You divide the 40 weeks into quarters and realize that you only have 10 weeks per quarter to hit your benchmarks.

By breaking down the year into phases or blocks of time is a process called Periodization. So this year you decide that each quarter will be like a period. Achieving each quarters' goals are essential to achieve your annual objectives. So now it's mid February, week 6 of the 10 week quarter. You realize that more than half of the period is over and you're behind where you need to be. The psychological impact of this realization is extremely motivating. You get energized. You become serious and figure out the highest and best use of your time to achieve your objectives. You do the same for your staff. You hold daily/weekly update meetings to track your progress. By the end of March you're back on track. And so it goes until year-end where you emerge victorious in the accomplishment of everything you set out to achieve.

Scenario #3 You Will Far Surpass Your Goals
This scenario begins just like scenario #1 and incorporates all of scenario #2's ideas. What's different in this scenario is that at the end of each 10 week period you reevaluate your goals and objectives and re-set them. You decide to build on and leverage your strengths. Where appropriate, you adjust your goals to more accurately reflect what is possible for you to achieve.

This reassessment occurs each and every quarter. The end result of this strategy is that you may far surpass the initial goals that you set for yourself and/or your team. Alternately, it's possible that you may not actually achieve your new year-end goals, yet you will achieve levels that exceed those of scenarios 1 and 2. This is how you can bring your practice to the next level. The Japanese call this continuous improvement, Kaisen.

So yes, it's only February, but if you look at it as week #6 of a 10 week period vs. week #6 in a 52 week-long year, you'll be amazed at just how much more you will achieve this year.

Good luck on your journey to success.