A few years ago, a friend and I put together an event to mark the half-way point of our year. We called it the “The Six Month Check-In”. The premise was, to get a group of women together and do a six month check in on new year resolutions and provide motivation to go forward. We picked a great restaurant in NYC and hired a decorated psychologist to talk to us about staying focused. Everyone in attendance loved the event and encouraged us to do it every six months. We promised…that was 2 years ago…yikes…
We meant well, we really did. So today, with less than 3 months left of the year, I would like to revisit the idea of the in-year check in and share 5 tips on how to end 2016 with a bang!
1. Give yourself credit. Over the last 9 months I have done A LOT! I’m sure you've gotten many things marked off your lists as well. Whatever it might be, even if it’s something small – celebrate. I upgraded my gym membership earlier this year with hopes of going more and utilizing all of the amenities. I went about five times in nine months. But you know what? I’m NOT going to focus on the countless times I didn't go. I’m going to focus on the five times I went and the exhilarating feeling I had afterwards and let THAT be the motivation to get there 5 times in October, and many more times after that. It’s about perspective – focus on what you've accomplished, celebrate and build from there!
2. Plan to build on what you started. Now that you see how awesome you already are. Take it a step further. Plan a few small end of year resolutions. Make the goals small and tangible. Setting these types of goals and achieving them, regardless of how small, releases serotonin (the happiness hormone) which will metabolically inspire you to do more. My end-of-year goal is to get healthy! I have 2 doctor appoints scheduled. I’m going back to the gym starting today (clothes are packed). And I’m making better eating choices as we speak. I ordered sushi and fresh squeezed juice for lunch. I know this is an odd time to want to “get healthy” with the holidays approaching – but during fashion and market week in September, I did not treat my body well. In late, up early and eating just about anything. It was way too much. So now I’m focused and as long as I make better daily food choices, i can make provisions for the feast days ahead!
The point is to make small goals in October that you can commit to and achieve by December. You’ll feel charged going into 2017.
3. Write it all down. Please. Please. Please. Write it down. I read a lot of business and self-help books – including the Bible. And one piece of advice that they all share is the importance of writing down your goals. The Bible says in Habakkuk 2:2, “and the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it”. Most people are familiar with the first part of this scripture, but neglect the second part – “…that he may run that readeth it”, the simple exercise of writing down a goal and reading it back again will inspire you to “run”. Writing makes it real, it now exist somewhere in the universes besides our head. I start every year with a new physical calendar and journal. I write down everything, even things I know I won’t forget. But let me clear, when I say write, I mean write. I know we live in a digital world and just about everything goes on our phones and tablets - but for me pen and paper are paramount. I need to feel the excitement of drawing a line or adding a check once something is complete. However if you must go digital, do not forget to go back and re-read what you wrote…and figure out a way to cross it off once the goal is complete. It exhilarating!!!
4. Let the right people know! So this is a hard one for most people, myself included. We like to make our plans, write them in our locked journal and not tell a soul. That’s not good. Two important keys: first tell the right person. Studies show that at every age we are affected by the people we interact with. Peer pressure is not something we leave behind in junior high, it affects us immensely throughout our entire lives. I recently read, The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and he noted some research that found that regardless of upbringing most people make decisions based on context. Context includes physical environment and the people you're around. I mention this because this directly relates to who you tell your plans to. Some people will get it and motivate you. Some people will not get it and motivate you (my corner). But others will never get it and will help you talk yourself right out of your blessings.
Secondly, telling folks will hold you accountable. I have a huge goal – I’m not telling you just yet. Ha. But I’ve literally told every person that would listen what I plan to do the end of the year. I’ve gotten varying responses, and that's fine, but the point for me is that it makes me accountable. I’ve told 234,975 people that I’m doing this…let me figure out how not to look like a liar!
5. Enjoy the holidays! Look – at the end of the day, it’s the end of the year! Make time to enjoy your life, achievements, family and friends. I love the holidays and in years past I’m always working to chase the crazy fashion calendar that’s fast approaching again in February. But this year I have a lot to be thankful for and I’m making time to be grateful. I would encourage you to do the same. We'll get into planning 2017 soon, but in the meanwhile dream the biggest most grandiose dreams you can imagine for you life and write them down!
Let's talk soon!