It’s the end of January, which means a lot of you (about 45%) may have already given up on your New Year’s resolutions. Don’t fall into that trap! It’s actually a perfect time to revisit the resolutions you made, see where you are already falling behind, and create some bite-sized, concrete, and (most important) actionable steps to achieve your 2020 goals for your law practice - and your personal life.
Research shows that when setting goals, people try to do too much, and fail to prioritize the key action items they need to accomplish those goals. Luckily, there are resources to help you identify your top goals, create action steps for putting them into place, and follow through. Recently, Lawline CEO and author of The Fast Forward Mindset David Schnurman shared his three (okay, four) steps for lawyers looking to determine their #1 Goal in 2020.
Step 0.Answer this foundational question:Where do you want to be more fearless and focused in your law practice and life? Chances are, your New Year’s resolution is related to something that intimidates you, and that’s why you’ve been avoiding it for years. If your resolution is to lose weight, maybe you are afraid that you are a bad athlete, or lack the discipline to stick to a routine. If you are trying to increase your law firm’s profits, maybe you are afraid that spending money on a marketing company is a bad investment. Whatever it is, you can’t make changes until you confront the fear! To help you with this, download the Fast Forward Mindset Template. First, write down all the actions or outcomes you want to achieve. Then write down the #1 fear that is holding you back from believing each one is possible to achieve.
Step 1. Answer the Four W Questions For Each Goal. This step builds on your responses in Step 0. The four questions are: Where do you want to be more fearless? What level is it outside of your comfort zone? Why do you want to do this? When will you start? Answering these four concrete questions will help you start to identify the actionable tasks you can take to actually achieve your goals - including setting actual deadlines to keep yourself accountable.
Step 2. NIP Fear in the Bud. NIP stands for: Not alone, I will get through this, Play the Part. For each piece of the acronym, the following questions will help you identify the strengths you already possess in order to fulfill your goals. First: who do you know that has gone through this? Remember, you are not alone! If you are trying to expand your law practice, identify a friend, a colleague, an old professor or mentor who has done what you are trying to do and can help coach you through the difficulties you are facing. Second, think about your own experiences: when have you faced a significant challenge, and what helped you break past that wall? You can get through this, too! Third, what will you do to not be concerned about what others think about you during this process? Fear of others judgment is a thief of ambition. You need to play the part and believe in yourself.
Step 3. Find Your Focus. In this step, you will pull from the work you did in steps 0 - 2 and create a PLAN, including a step by step of actionable items - with dates attached to each item, a prediction of how you will feel when you succeed, and an accountability partner. Your accountability partner might be the person you identified in Step 2 (Not Alone), or it might be someone within your practice or family - but the key is that they need to be willing and capable of holding you accountable to the dates and goals you set for yourself.
After you have gone through these steps, you should be holding an action plan for yourself, and feeling like you know what to do to accomplish your goals. Maybe instead of “lose weight” you now have a training plan to get you started at the gym. Maybe you identified the places your law firm could stand to take on more clients, and set some key dates for reviewing your financials, hiring a marketing firm, and going to four new networking events in your city. Whatever your goals, Lawline is here to help support you as you grow in your practice.
To learn more and join the 30 Day Fearless Focus Challenge, check out the resources on David’s website, The Fast Forward Mindset.
Sarah graduated from Simon's Rock College in 2005 with a BA in Linguistics, then worked in events production for several years before she graduated from New York Law School in 2012. Before joining Lawline, she worked in litigation management as a legal auditor. She loves working as a program attorney as it combines her legal knowledge and production background. She has two kids, two cats, and loves public transit and rainy days.