6 reasons to complete a half yearly review. Today.

Remember all those epiphanies you had in January ? The moments of clarity where you promised yourself this year would be even better than last year?

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A mid year check in will get you places faster than an airport check in. Any day. Here’s why:

#Proof. It’s been proven if you write  your goals (preferably by hand) and check in to review regularly you are significantly more likely to achieve your objectives. Learn more from this Harvard goal setting analysis.

#Procrastination . A lot of people fall off the wagon because they reprioritise less important actions over goals. Focus on the long term vision rather than short term gain. A review shows you where you’ve lost focus & you’re less inclined to sabotage your success next time.

#Plan. If we don’t have a map we get lost. If we don’t have a plan… we drift along in a direction we have no control over. Having goals is great but if you don’t have a step by step plan to get you there it’s futile.

#Roadblocks. If you had objectives in January but you haven’t achieved them or even started you need to ask yourself why. Perhaps it’s not what you really want? Or the obstacles are bigger than you thought. Are these moveable? What resources – people/ tools can you use to plan a way forward. leaves and window coffee

#Confidence. When you review what you have achieved since January it’ll remind you of what you are capable of and build a plethora of examples of how you can completely nail it when you are fully focused. Confidence builder 101.

#Rewards.  We work best being motivated by rewards and what drives us. When reviewing your achievements so far be sure to acknowledge and reward yourself even if you’re only halfway towards your goal.

Get your 5 minute mid year check in.

Time for a 15 min mid-year check in with YOU?

I’m a straight shooter. And I’m not afraid to point out the glaringly obvious. It’s 1 July today. We’re half way through 2015. Around about now you start procrastinating about tax or filling in your automated yet clunky KPI Internal Comms system ‘demonstrating’ what a terrific year you’ve had so far for your manager to rush through to meet internal deadlines.  But here’s something outrageous. How about putting some time aside to actually reflect on your year so far?

Here’s some key questions to kick start your own personal mid-year review.

  1. Source your goals, be they in your head or on paper. How are you tracking? What have been your wins? Where do you need to focus your efforts to keep winning? What has slowed you down & how will you look to solve these challenges?
  2. Your approach. Rather than being attached to a set outcome as you begin each action, consider your strategic approach for each goal especially around who you are being. Do you need to adjust your openness to improve a relationship? Can you find more joy in the everyday, seemingly mundane things?
  3. Your support crew. Who are you going to recruit/ keep on board to assist you to make the rest of 2015 a stellar year? Equally who will you offer support and advice to you – remembering contribution is a key attribute to achieving greater happiness in your life.
  4. Imagine it’s the Christmas party season of 2015. You’re making the rounds. When people ask you how your year was what do you tell them? Make a list with all the areas important to you e.g happiness, health, fitness, love, career, finance, relationships, travel, family, hobbies, home, etc
  5.  What are three actions you will commit to completing this week to get you on your way to achieving your big ticket items and small every day wins?  Email them to a trusted friend who will hold you accountable or feel free to send them my way.

Ideally set aside 1-2 hours to reflect, refocus and refresh your outlook for 2015 but if you can only find 15 minutes just do it! You’re well ahead of the game already by even reading this.

I have a few places left at my women’s workshop The Direction Momentum in Bondi on 12th of July. A great opportunity if you or anyone you know is drifting along or needs some motivation!

mtnsI noted recently how many metaphors and language there is around focus and goal setting with roads and travelling. Journeys, direction,  path, momentum, wheels in mud, road map, stuck at a fork in the road, the road less travelled, crossroads, life intersections the list goes on. So I thought the image I took en route to Mt Hutt , Canterbury, N.Z. on Saturday was apt for today’s blog.

Where’s the road taking you for the rest of 2015?

Get motivated. And stay motivated.

If I had a $1 for every time I’ve seen “New year, new you” in the last couple of weeks I’d at least be up $85.  The media however is simply riding off the annual ‘resolution frenzy’ as we recover from our seasonal holidays, reflect on the year just gone and make promises to ourselves and our loved ones about what will happen in 2015.

And now it’s the first week of February. Some of you may already be knee deep in your goals, many may refuse to make any while others made grand resolutions but well, it’s still summer… the beach is calling.

I’ve already written about goal setting and procrastination however what is key at this point is actually motivation. You can write as many goals, make resolutions,  design vision boards and review last year till the cows come home but if you don’t take ‘massive action’ as Tony Robbins discusses – your chances of achieving your goals are slim to none.

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So how do we get motivated and more importantly stay motivated to take action?

Clear the space. Give yourself at least a half day in a clutter and distraction free zone and get those goals down written down. Paper, whiteboard, mobile, diary, laptop – whatever is easily accessible so you can read them daily and review your progress weekly.  When you write them down you are declaring your intention to yourself and putting the wheels in motion.  Ensure they are not just gliding over from one year into another. Get real with yourself about why you didn’t achieve them – were you realistic or are they no longer important to you? Vocabulary is also essential – the words we use around a goal influence how we committed we feel about achieving the goal.

Have a plan. Were your goals conjured up with a massive hangover on New Years Day with not a strategy in sight?  The best way to stay motivated is to have a simple plan breaking your goals into smaller manageable action steps. Keep it simple with five to seven goals at one time. This will prevent you from going into ‘overwhelm and mass abandonment mode’. Robin Sharma suggests a quarterly themed focus for example ‘health and well-being’ to allow you to be solely concentrate on one area of your life. While Gretchen Rubin in The Happiness Project has monthly resolution to achieve, for example ‘Boost energy’ or ‘Pursue a passion’.

Visualise it. If you spend time every day visualising achieving your goal research has shown you are far more likely to achieve it than if you didn’t. Simply take 5 minutes as you read your goals daily to visualise yourself having achieved the goal and what it will look and feel like. A vision board is a super helpful tool – contact me for some quick tips to get you started.

Be inspired by others. Who else has done what you’re doing? Research, model and ask questions to people who have done what you’re wanting to do. What do they see as the key to achieving their goals? Join a network of people who will stretch you, watch a TED talk to inspire you, attend a motivational workshop or read book that expands your thinking.

Build yourself a support crew. Gone are the days when we have to go it alone. Look to the experts. Whether it’s a nutritionist to get your wellness back on track, a coach to hold you accountable to your plans, a sponsor within your company to accelerate your growth, build a team who are invested and excited for your success. Refrain from sharing your goal with every man and their dog on Facebook – in fact this TED talk reveals why you shouldn’t over share. Get help from those you respect and are on board for your success.

Get physical. Having great physical and mental health is essential to achieving goals. If you’re slothing about in your trackies and ugg boots vs getting your endorphin’s pumping through a top notch workout how differently do you think your approach to making goal progress might be? Your state is a key factor.

Action stations. Once you’ve reviewed, planned and are inspired here’s the crucial element – take massive action within the next 24 hours to leverage your momentum and passion. And when you encounter speed wobbles take a moment to reflect, get to the core of the obstacle and take appropriate action immediately – knowing that overcoming obstacles is actually what will give you the most satisfaction when the goal is complete.

 Celebrate. When you reach any decent milestone reward yourself – I even have a tiered list of rewards (now that is a fun list to create!). Be sure to share your progress with your support crew, give yourself a big tick or strike through on your ‘to do’ list and leverage the momentum of the feeling of achievement to take your next step of action.

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This week I’ve launched ‘The Motivator‘. A short intensive programme for those who know what their goals are but are having problems making progress.

Can we make this Christmas a chillmas?

I always have a wee chuckle to myself with any annual event but this one is a classic… We know it’s coming. It’s not like..oh my god Christmas is when? Are you kidding! Nope we knew alllll year but yet you can feel the stress levels rising in the air as mild panic starts rippling across the streets.

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I’m also heavily focused on it because annoyingly for my younger brother I was born on Christmas Day.  If you don’t know me too well you will be lucky enough to escape the Becmas extravaganza and I’m not shy to admit I do love a good jingle bell rock! However as excited as I get about it, I realise not everyone shares my enthusiasm. And beyond my excitement I also peak out often, without warning and get squawky without real necessity.

The stress begins for many as we see the decorations going up in Westfield (hello 1 Nov!), hear Mariah belting out “All I want for Christmas” at Kmart with which you end up panic buying some barbells & a new flashing Rudolph for the front door & then Coles sticks a Heston ‘Hidden Orange’ chrissy pud on the end of every blimmen aisle so the pre chrissy diet is looking slipperier by the second.

As  one attempts to cross off the mother of to do lists of cards, pressies, tress, lights, groceries, hols packing, appointments and coffee catch ups galore which simply MUST BE done before the big day you seem to wind yourself into an unnecessary spin – I remember two Christmases in a row I had a couple of oopsies ‘nudging’ into the back of some Nana cars because I was so busy planning how I could  take on the world before the big day.

And down under – it’s hot. So you’re usually sweating up a storm, retreating to air con shops (smart on their part) and feeling a little bitter to those ‘o so organised ones’ parked up under their brollies at the beach. Hmph.

It also coincides well with monster hangovers. End of year parties where there are a few loose cabooses at the office send off and you pray as you wake up the next day reaching for your coconut water, it wasn’t you. Feeling dusty certainly does not add to the enjoyment of trawling about Target searching for the latest ‘Frozen’ accessory.

And then the day approaches and the catastrophizing train starts to build momentum about what may unfold. Will everyone get on? Will you have to be involved in back yard cricket?  Will you have the same conversations you’ve had twelve years running with your long lost uncle and his 5/6th new partner? Will you overeat so much that you enter a food coma and then miss the little cousins pantomime (unlikely to be  as choice as the one you used to do anyway).

So how can we take it from a stressmas to a chillmas? This year I have taken my overly honed organisational skills down a notch. I’m saying no to catch ups pre xmas if it’s going to get me in a flap. Some people couldn’t make my extremely early birthday celebrations (because squeezing into the diary of a Sydney lady is near imposs). That’s cool. I’ll see them next year. It’s not different from seeing them in November instead of October is it?

This all may sound a little selfish. And hey, isn’t Christmas all about selflessness and giving? Well, being in good spirits and enjoying yourself is selfless in my book. No one wants to hang out with a cray cray, tired, crabby pants!  This is your time to reflect over the year that has been and celebrate with your family – whether it be your blood relies, your urban family or your newly acquired mates you have forced yourself upon on your random overseas mission.

There’s a great article on being an approval whore by Martha Beck where she suggests ‘holiday season’ is where our need for approval is at an all time high…“your efforts to please become truly exhausting and other people’s appreciation is less and less rewarding. If you feel drained or angry as the season progresses, it’s time to get off the street. Learn to respect yourself. Give yourself the gift of the real you, clean and sober”.   Lets face it, you’re a much nicer person when you’re doing stuff you actually want to do, as opposed to forced. I get it. Some stuff you just have to do. But before you commit maybe take a moment to reflect & ask yourself – can it wait? Will I be better placed to do it next year with a refreshed frame of mind.

I’m not denying it, a huge element to a great chillmas is  solid (but not hysterically anal) planning but it’s also considering saying no to your third espresso martini at the work office do after midnight, taking time out for meditation or exercise (no it is not illegal to exercise on Christmas Day), buying Christmas Mince pies unless you think you’re the next Masterchef and when you do one nice thing for someone, do one nice thing for yourself. You can also grant yourself a long nana nap, let annoying relie comments brush off you like teflon and spend a little time every day practicing some good old gratitude.

Christmas doesn’t have to be stressmas. It’s our choice what we say yes or no to and whether we choose to spend time catastrophising about what will or won’t happen.  Enjoy the build up and the excitement –  remember those feelings you had when you were a kid? Search those out! After all, Christmas only comes once a year.

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The nifty fifty days left of 2014.

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I’m in the midst of ‘goal-storming’ for next year and typically when I’m setting goals I do them in 90 day increments. Hey I’m in personal development, I’m allowed to be a massive goal nerd! However it’s been a hectic month so things have got a lil out of control. It lead me to do a quick count of how many days were left of 2014 to achieve my existing goals. Fifty. WHAT! Fifty. Cripes.

And let’s be honest. We may as well take out Christmas Eve day to New Years Eve day. It’s a write off –  wading from panic pressie buying to last minute ham purchases, Christmas pudding to nana naps on the couch,  sun lounger to outdoor pub, from chillaxing (or taming your sprogs) at the beach to drawn out brunches. So that’s 42. Holy moly.

You’ve no doubt heard of the SMART goal acronym. It’s been around the traps since the ’80s and there are a few versions. As a quick refresh:

  • S = specific. Make sure it’s super clear. Think what, why, who, where, which.
  • M = measurable. You need to be able to measure your success. How will you know when you’re there?
  • A = achievable. Say you’re 45. You’re probably not going to be an All Black. Ensure your goal is do-able within your current lifestyle/stage.
  • R = realistic. Specifically what will you need to do/ give up/ change to make this happen. Are you up for it?
  • T = time based. Set your time frame. You need a date to work towards or else it will be the never ending goal that just keeps on extending into never never land.

With a couple of trips back to the homeland between now and 31 Dec, a multitude of different work opportunities and many reasons to celebrate realistically I’m now thinking I have about 20 days of productive days/ evenings/ spare minutes up my sleeve. Yikes!

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Another key rule when writing goals is the 3 P’s. Keep them positive – I’ll weigh vs I hope/ I’ll try/ I wish. Use the present tense – I have a new job vs I’ll be in a new job. And finally make it personal. Keep it motivating, visionary & engaging for you e.g.  On the 31st of December I am proudly standing on the completed shiney new deck I built and enjoying it with my mates.

If you, like me have things you set out to do in 2014 and they are achievable by the 31st of December or even ideas you have for 2015 you can get cracking on now so you’re not on the back foot in January then with 50 days to go now’s the time to get focused.

One final piece to think about from old mate Tony Robbins. Actually achieving these goals will not make you eternally happy. It’s who you become from overcoming all the challenges to get there that gives the real fulfillment factor. He asks “What kind of person will you need to become to achieve all that you want?”. Lofty and big for a Wednesday morning but you get my drift.

So what’s on your ‘to do’ list?

Is it to drop some kgs pre party season, spend more 1-1 time being present with the kids, have ‘me time’ once a week, start researching for a new career, download a meditation app and practice daily, start having green smoothies, stop having so many green smoothies, finishing a home renovation that’s been lingering, start a pilates class, visit a nutritionist to get your health back on track, join bikini boot-camp or the local touch team, limit boozing at agency lunches to prevent early onset of gout (you know who you are!), sign up to learn a new language next year, commit to 4 social media weekend detoxes, spring cleaning the wardrobe & donating the excessive Zara/ ASOS purchases to charity or even finally having ‘that’ chat you’ve been putting off with your manager about promotion possibilities. Whatever it is. Just crack on so on the 31st of December you know you gave the last 50 of twenty fourteen a red hot go.

I’m going to experiment with my 50 day plan. I’ve even (nerd alert) produced a template to get me started and keep me on track. If you’re keen to try a 50 day plan too or have a cheeky squizz shoot me your email and I’ll send my nifty fifty template your way.

Remember. What you focus on is what you get. To the exclusion of everything else.

Happy fifty!