It’s easy to get lulled into eggnog sleepwalking at the end of the year. The holiday music, the extra days off, lots of food, people on extended vacation and endless holiday parties. You genuinely go into this month believing that December is the perfect time to work on all the little things that can help you “catch up, finally” – but with all of the holiday noise it becomes increasingly difficult.

Let’s face it, we’ve been grinding it all year! Can’t we just get a little relaxation?

I’ve found that the best thing to do this time of year is to examine your commitments from last year, and then renew them by creating an accountability system for next year. This also allows you to axe ineffective tactics and tweak them for the upcoming year. You aren’t trying to tackle everything all at once (sure failure), you’re just looking at your previous blueprint and trying to make it better.

Here is a small list of things I’m doing now. What’s on your list? Have you thought about it? Why not now?

1. Setting Your Marketing Calendar

Initially, I like to do this analogue. Print out the whole calendar year and use different color markers to select specific days for events, promotions, e-newsletters, communications, decisions, key meetings and reminders. It’s a complete brain dump of key actions related to Marketing. This way everything fits together like a nice puzzle that avoids having actions collide with each other. An example; do you really want to do follow-ups, an e-newsletter & event all in the same day? Seems like overkill. So how do you make your team accountable? Create a shared calendar, so everyone sees clear as day when things are happening – and who is responsible for each action.

2. Set Transparent Business Goals for the Team

At our first meeting in January we will release a “Yearly Focus” which takes a look at our goals for 2017. Different organizations have different levels of comfort for disclosure, but we believe in being transparent with our numbers. I believe you have to be if you’re going to explain how you’re going to get there. If the team believes in the strategy in getting there, and they have a full grasp of internal metrics, then it’s easier to have buy-in for these goals.

3. What’s No One Doing?

Examine what is going on in your industry this year and identify one key opportunity that no one is owning. The masses move very slowly so surely there is an opportunity to try to experiment with something that hasn’t been explored. Where’s a good place to start with this? I like to look at abandoned best practices in the promotional products industry and think about how I can repurpose them. The fact that they’ve been abandoned means that uncreative organizations will dismiss them as “things we’ve tried before” or “no one is doing that for a reason”. Combining new technology with old best practices is always an interesting area for deep examination.

4. What Are Your Personal Improvement Goals?

You need to be investing in yourself and feeding your brain the right nutrition so that it can thrive. Being mindful of the areas you need to improve in; make a small list of resources that you’d like to explore. Commit to them! You’ll think yourself in December of nex year.

So there’s a lot here to digest. My parting thought is this post on LinkedIn. It seems to have resonated with a lot of people in a short period of time. It captures the essence of what I’m encouraging you to do. If it resonates with you then your time is NOW. Get to it! TODAY. Not tomorrow. Have an amazing 2017!