The Best Way To Finish Strong: Start Right

Jan 2, 2012, Written by Sue Miley

No one likes to be the underdog, behind the eight ball, or ending the year trailing the pack.  Although human nature would have us justify our position, I think it is a state of personal deception to think we WANT to be in the last quarter of the year and behind in all of our goals for our business.

You may be thinking, I don’t really set goals.  It doesn’t matter. We all have them.  Whether expressed or implied.  Whether we wrote them down or thought them.

For example, if you are a business owner, even without written goals, I bet at the beginning of any given year you are at a minimum hoping:

  • to make a profit.
  • to grow in sales.
  • to do work that customers like and appreciate.
  • to have employees that want to work and want to work for you.
  • that things runs smoothly.

You see, you do have goals.

And if the year flies by, it’s October again, and you are unprofitable, shrinking, upsetting customers…..I think you get the point.

You won’t be happy or celebrating.

You may kick it into high gear and make some things happen in the 4Q.  You may come from behind and pull out a half way decent year.  It may even give you some credibility when you do try to persuade yourself and others that you like being the underdog who comes from behind.

I didn’t achieve my goals, but look how much I made happen in less than 3 months.

Remember cramming for that calculus test at the last minute in college….you got a C+ and didn’t even go to class.

Remember having your boss sit you down and explain that you aren’t going to sell anything if you don’t get in front of customers XX number of times per week.  Then you started doing it and making the sales!  You are all of the sudden the top salesperson this month, but not in time to change your bottom of the barrel ranking for the year.

It isn’t that I don’t believe that we should keep trying and make things happen even at the end of the game.

I do.  I believe we should.

Sometimes I am even rooting for the underdog.


It’s the beginning of the year.

We have 4 quarters to make it the best year ever.

We can actually quantify some of our goals so we will know how we are coming along during the year.

We can try really hard, put in the extra time and attention, get in front of those customers, study, plan, practice, review, analyze, adjust, re-position, gain momentum, celebrate, grow and achieve…..

……by starting right now

……at the beginning of the year

……fighting like we are behind the eight ball

……working with the humility of not being sure we will make it

……praying for God’s help


……stepping out in faith

and overcoming!

Here is wishing you a blessed New Year and God’s will for your business and life!

Reader Interactions


  1. Chris Patton says

    Sue, you are right on the money with this post!

    I have been working hard at goal-setting for the past several years. I am not a pro at it, but I am getting better every year. I take roughly two weeks to go through all of my steps (reviewing prior year, revisiting priorities, setting goals for new year, etc.) and end up with a plan for the year.

    In addition to the goal setting, I recommend a weekly (or monthly) review. Just forcing myself to consistently revisit my goals has a huge impact on the way I approach them from day-to-day.

    Mine is not the perfect process, but I cannot imagine going into a new year without doing anything!

    • S_Miley says

      Hey Chris, Sounds like you have a great process. Something I picked up from a book by Andy Stanley was to define the “win” for your ministry. After I do a full year of goals, I try to go back each month and say “What would a win look like this month?” That makes it fun, breaks down the goal, and focuses on key indicators not too much minutia.

      Thanks for your comments!

  2. Loren Pinilis says

    I’ve seen this happen so many times. I’m a natural crammer. It’s so easy for me to put things off and then try to plow through with a flurry of activity later. Most times I actually pull it off, but it’s draining and certainly not the best way to go.

    • S_Miley says

      Hey Loren, I have the crammer instinct too! Usually more on short – term goals. I try to stay more directional on long-term goals and focus on continuous progress verses a hard deadline. But, if something needs to happen next week, it may not get started til the day before! God help us!


    • S_Miley says

      Yes David, Your comment made me think about the saying “it is the journey, not the destination”. When we rush at the end just to check stuff off the list I think we miss something in the journey.

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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