We’re entering the final quarter of the year. Chances are, you’ve broken some of the resolutions you made back in January.
Or maybe this year, you decided not to even make resolutions because of your past failures to keep them or because of frustration that you aren’t gaining traction toward your goals.
I urge you not to give up. You can achieve all that you desire. And it’s not too late to start – even if it is already fall.
The key to your success is in this one simple acronym – IAM.
IAM stands for “it’s about millimeters,” which is the title of my book It’s All About Millimeters: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Impact in Your Business and Your Life.
In the book, I talk about how dental professionals achieve their success in treating dental and orthodontic disorders by measuring everything they do in increments of millimeters.
As an orthodontist, I measure millimeters of overbite, overjet and crowding. A periodontist measures millimeters of pocket depth and can gauge the improvement of a patient’s periodontal health based on tiny differences.
Just as millimeters can be a big deal in dentistry, so can applying a “millimeter” strategy to your personal and professional goals, enabling you to achieve all you desire. You just have to adopt the tactic of one “millimeter” at a time.
This is how it can work.
Instead of making a huge to-do list for the year with loads of tasks – which as soon as you look at them makes you feel overwhelmed, stressed and anxious – you follow the “millimeter” approach.
Try this process for the next 90 days – just for one quarter of the year – and watch what happens in your business, your practice and your life:
1. Recognize and write down three things you want to accomplish during the next 90 days.
For example, you write “I want to go to the gym five days a week.”
Now if you have never been to the gym at all, five days a week may seem like a big change to make so suddenly. After one week, you could end up so sore you’re unable to walk for a few days.
Instead, start with committing to only two days for the first two or three weeks, then each week or two, add an extra day.
Here’s what your schedule might look like: For week one, you decide to go to the gym on Monday and Thursday. You do that for two weeks. For week three, you add Saturday, when there is a great class you want to attend. After two more weeks, you decide to try yoga on Wednesday nights. In another two or three weeks, you’re ready to add an early morning swim.
You get my point. You don’t need to – and probably can’t – suddenly modify your habits or daily patterns all at once. A gradual change, whether it’s in your workout schedule or your determination to increase your work output, is ultimately more successful.
Most fitness centers have an influx of new members on January 1, and by March 1, these newbies are MIA. Using a “millimeter approach,” you will not be overwhelmed and give up. Instead, you will gradually build your strength, stamina and, most of all, commitment to the habit of going to the gym.
In other words, you will make your changes one “millimeter” at a time.
2. When picking the first three things you want to accomplish in these 90 days, choose a mix of short and long-term goals.
Ideally, I recommend two goals you can accomplish quickly and one more that will require a yearlong focus. That way, at the end of the 90 days, you will be able to celebrate your completion of two of your three goals. A feeling of accomplishment, even in the smaller tasks, will positively impact your confidence and reinforce your motivation to continue pursuing your dreams with a “millimeter” approach.
My third suggestion doesn’t directly relate to accomplishing your to-do list, but it’s just as important for your life.
3. Make it a practice to focus every day on one small “millimeter” task you can perform to bring joy and happiness to not only yourself but your family, your spouse and even strangers.
In other words, practice gratitude and thankfulness. You’ll find the simple exercise of getting up each day and immediately being grateful for all you have, sharing a smile with a complete stranger, or liberally using the words “please” and “thank you” will produce some amazing changes in your daily life.
The year is still young. I encourage you to start now to accomplish your life goals by trying my “millimeter approach.” Stick with it for 90 days and watch how small steps, practiced faithfully, can bring about significant changes in all aspects of your personal and professional life. It’s not too late!