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By Hammad Zaidi | December 24, 2013

Welcome to Going Bionic, #191. For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you’re having a wonderful Christmas Eve, and I hope you score a sleigh filled of presents under your tree tomorrow morning. Of course, I’d like to wish everyone else my warmest Season’s Greetings. Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Feliz Navidad, and Happy Holidays to all!

Today we’re going to look back at your bionic 2013, and help you prepare for the New Year. Thus, without further ado, here are five things you can (and should), before the year ends.

Celebrate Your Wins And Examine Your Losses
By celebrating your wins, I mean finishing a screenplay, editing a film, landing a notable attachment, getting a piece of financing, or even shedding yourself of a bad situation. You need to allow yourself to enjoy your progress, and not get tied up in downplaying it if your end goal isn’t reached yet. Trust me, your career is a marathon, not a sprint, and just like marathons, it’s how you finish that counts; not how you start.

As for examining your losses, it’s good to examine your tactics and financial choices that didn’t work. Look to see if you can identify a pattern that emerges from how your choices were made during your flops, versus what you did differently during situations you deemed to be successful during 2013. If you look closely, you will find a trend in both your successes and failures, and more importantly, you’ll know what to avoid.

Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
It truly amazes me how many filmmakers arrest their own career progression because they’re afraid to fail. Whether it’s hesitating to contact the representation for some A list actor you want, calling that agent or producer that could change your tax bracket overnight, or having coffee with your mega-rich family friend, who just may finance your first film, many filmmakers are hesitant to dive into the deep end of their career pool to see what happens.

The funny this is, failing is the single most important element of success. Without failing, you won’t know how to succeed, or how to handle your success. Thus, instead of running away from situations where you could fail, you should run toward them and embrace the opportunity you’ve been given. Remember, it’s always better to have tried and failed, rather than to have never tried. This is because failing gives you an opportunity to correct your mistakes in the future, while there is no future in never having tried to do something great.

Give Yourself Quarterly Goals For 2014
Make your goals hard to reach, because if you make them low hanging fruit, you will be doing yourself a disservice. Set out quarterly benchmarks of where you want to be every three months during 2014, and then push yourself mightily to reach them. Should you not reach your quarterly or annual goals in 2014, don’t fear, because if you push yourself daily, you will be a lot closer to your goals than you will be away from them.

Make Yourself Do Monthly Assessments In 2014
As you push yourself toward your quarterly goals in 2014, make sure you give yourself monthly assessments. Assess your commitment to your goal, including the time you spent, and the effort you gave. Of course, nobody can be giving 110% for all 365 days of 2014, but as long as you keep your eyes on the prize, you will keep moving forward.

Use Your Birthday As A Benchmark For Your 2014 Goals
For those of you with January birthdays like me, you’d better get on your goals ASAP! In all seriousness, it’s always good to use your birthday as a deadline of when you should get something accomplished. To keep things interesting, make your birthday goal the hardest one to reach. If you nail it by your birthday, you’ll give yourself one hell of a birthday gift.

Remember, giving yourself birthday deadlines, quarterly goals and monthly assessments are merely tactics to keep you on track toward your 2014 goals. What they are not are tests to judge your abilities or acumen in the film industry. So, while you should push yourself toward getting what you truly want, you should never punish yourself for not obtaining your goals.

Okay, filmmakers. That’s what I have for you on Christmas Eve. Now I got to go convince my two-year old twin daughters Zoe and Lena to go to sleep, so Santa Claus can plop down the chimney and bring them a mountain of gifts. Of course, getting two-year olds to sleep on Christmas Eve may prove to be more difficult than obtaining motion picture financing for an independent feature film with no sellable stars, but hey, I have to try, right? As always, I thank you once again for lending me your eyes, and I would be honored to borrow them next Tuesday on New Year’s Eve. Until then, I hope you have a wonderful week, filled with good times and lasting memories.

I can be followed on Twitter @Lonelyseal.

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