This past Tuesday, September 23, marked the beginning of the 100 day countdown until the end of the year. This means that as of this evening you have 97 days left to finish out the year strong. Decide right now what you want to accomplish until then in your business and/or personal life, and you’ll be doing yourself a much bigger favor than if you were waiting around to making New Year’s resolutions on December 31.

These are extraordinary times, and it could be easy to become or stay sucked into the 2008 Campaign, the Wall Street crisis and proposed bailout, and all the end of year holidays from now until then. Unless, that is, you make a time-bound and realistic plan right now, push aside the distractions, and get going.

There is a little known "law" of human psychology, Parkinson’s Law, that predicts that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." What this means is that if you tell yourself that something can only be accomplished by say 6 months from now, then your inner clock as well as outer circumstances are very likely to conspire to make it take at least that long.

And since most deadlines are rather completely arbitrary in nature, it can greatly benefit you to set more aggressive deadlines and thereby shorten the time to arrive at completion. If you decide today that you will finish Project XYZ by December 31, and then it turns out that it really took you until January 20, you still come out way ahead compared to having set a much later target date of say March 31, which you STILL might miss!

Is a "100 Day Countdown" an arbitrary time frame? Sure it is. But it also happens to be one of the numbers that our minds assign significance to, as in when we speak of the first 100 days of a new administration, or of the tenure of a new CEO. We have "100 best/worst/biggest/most infamous" countdowns for all manner of things in popular culture.

And 100 also lies within the realm of "overseeability" that is expressed for example in Malcolm Gladwell’s chapter in The Tipping Point on "the magic number One Hundred and Fifty": There appears to be roughly a limit of 150 people for the maximum group size at which the individuals can sustain enough of a social relationship to function as a group. By implication we might say that we can still have a meaningful enough mental "relationship" with the next 100 days and what to do with them.

100 somehow feels a lot more tangible than 180 or even 365 days. Which is precisely the reason why most people’s New Year’s resolutions don’t work out too well for them: By making (usually vague) plans for too large a number of days (the resolutions for the whole year!) to be immediately meaningful, their resolutions disappear into a seeming black hole as quickly as they appeared on December 31.

Don’t fall into that trap. Seize the power of the moment, and make outstanding use of the next 97 days for yourself, your business, and your dreams.

Best wishes – Alex Schleber

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