02/04/2011 05:20 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Where Will You Be a Month From Now?

You're a month into your New Year's Resolution, everything is going great and you're putting your friends to shame. Good for you. Your "no excuses" strategy has paid off and if you keep this up you'll reach your goal by the end of the year. Problem is you have a last minute business trip this week and an unexpected house guest next week which is going to throw you off. Still it's only a couple of weeks and you can get back on track by mid-February.



Think of what plagued you the last time you couldn't achieve a goal. No matter what the reason was, you didn't accomplish it because you stopped taking action towards it. Things may have started like this time. You had a good month, and then a couple of things got in the way and you lost all of your momentum. Unfortunately, you never regained it.

It's okay to get temporarily derailed. The key is to keep temporary from becoming permanent. This sort of thing happens all the time at work. You have a project with a corresponding deadline and something urgent comes up. You either work around the clock to get both done or negotiate for an extended deadline on the project. The project gets done, it doesn't get dropped. CEO's know that unexpected things will occur - everything from product recalls to a key executive leaving. Things might get delayed but they're not given up on. Part of succeeding in business is overcoming the hurdles, dealing with the unexpected and getting the thing done.

While you can do that for work, it's sometimes harder to do that for your own personal goals. One reason is that it's easy to slough off if you're only accountable to yourself. Why do we let ourselves off the hook so easily? Mainly because we're only letting ourselves down. Too bad there can't be a project meeting about your personal goal.

Since being accountable to yourself is more difficult, the best way to get back on track is to think about your motivation around the goal. Tap into the desire that you had at the outset - the reason you wanted to be promoted, lose10 pounds or write that book.

Here's how to reignite your motivation: look at a picture of your end goal every day. Keep it fresh by getting a new visual every month; keep taking steps towards your goal. Even if the steps are small, each step has you moving forward and puts you in a rhythm.

People who consistently reach goals aren't necessarily smarter or more energetic. What they are is persistent and everybody has that ability. So, the next time you have the flu or a holiday intervenes - like Presidents Day :) - use the suggestions above to get back into the rhythm. Then you'll know where you'll be a month from now - tracking towards your goal!

"Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over." ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Fred & Gladys Whelan Stone Executive Search and Coaching Authors of GOAL! Your 30 Day Career Plan for Business & Career Success