First three months of the year are gone. It’s just like that and we have already reached 1/4 of the 2015. How are you doing with your plans for this year?
Goal-setting at the beginning of the year is so common. Every time when I open my laptop around that time of the year and go online, my LinkedIn, Facebook and RSS inbox are buzzing with the articles about how to set the goals for this year right.
Most of the people promise themselves couple of new activities and habits over the year. I do the same thing, based on what I feel is important and would help me grow. But how to track those? We deal with the same question in DEVELOR and we developed a special tool to track the action plans and their fulfilment for our training participants. But for personal use, I have a simple app, which I want to recommend to you.
For past couple of months I’ve been using the Way of Life app. It’s a simple tracking tool with a pleasant interface and that makes it easy to use.
In simple words, the app lets you set positive or negative habits and then update, whether you’ve completed them and uses the colour coding to show you at a glance, how you’re doing.
After you’ve set up the habits, this is what the week looks like:
This is how simple is the update. You only have 3 options: you’ve done it, you didn’t or it doesn’t apply for the day. The update in the evening takes 30 seconds (for me with 7 habits to track):
Here’s the app basic view at the end of the week (a successful one):
The best think about the app which I like is that for me, it actually pushes me to get the things done, as I really don’t want to see the red bar in the week overview. So last week, when it was already pretty late on Friday and I wasn’t feeling like reading, but had only read on Thursday, I pushed myself to read for 30 minutes, so that I can get the green slot instead of read.
Plus, there are some cool additional features, such as viewing trends for longer time, setting reminders for morning and evening to update, archiving the completed goals and other.
I have a complete post about my targets for 2015 written and saved in the draft. Just now I realized, how stupid it is.
Who gives a damn about what I plan to do? No one. No one cares about the plans, plans are just plans.
I have a lot of plans and lots of ideas, but the truth is, as my girlfriend says „No one pays for ideas.“ And no one cares about plans. People care about what was done, what was accomplished.
So I’ll leave that post in the drafts for now and I’ll publish it by the end of the year, to see what I’ve actually accomplished.
I know, people say (I think there’s research on that as well) that public commitment could make me perform better. This actually is a form of public commitment. I commit to give you the showdown by the end of the year and to compare the „what I wanted to achieve“ vs „what I’ve actually accomplished“. That will be something that people could care about.
Bottom line: Don’t listen to people talking about their plans, ask them about what they’ve already done.
Whether it’s the end of the day, end of the week, closing of the month, finishing current job or finish of a life phase; it’s important to close the chapter.
In the beginning of 2013 I wrote about my experience with year-end review. And I also started doing regular weekly and monthly reviews. I consider it important, because this moments offer me the chance to actually learn from the past.
People don’t learn from experience. They learn from reflecting on their experience.
When you revisit and think through what happened, you have the chance to learn and apply the findings in the future. And you can start the next chapter fresh.
Today I was studying some of our company training material on how to debrief the group after situational exercise. I found steps which you could use to guide your closings.
IT’S SIX SIMPLE QUESTIONS:
How do you feel?
An important opening question. It gives the chance to express emotion connected with the experience. It opens you for more factual analysis further on.
What are the facts? What did you do? What did others do? No conclusions, just plain facts. Start broad, then go into more details. Stay factual.
What did you learn?
Draw conclusions. What do you learn from particular events and actions? What do they mean?
How does it relate to „actual world“?
This question is specific for training situations. When you debrief your real-life experience, I would just skip it.
Go and speculate. Question yourself on what would you do differently. What if you would act in another way? To what areas can you transfer the learning?
Time to follow-up. What will you do in the future? How will you change the behaviour based on your learning? Plan clear actions.
I hope this will help you close your chapters properly. If you don’t debrief your experiences, start doing so. Give yourself the the chance to learn and start fresh. And let me know, how you’re doing 😉
It would be great to have success everyday. Big success. Something noteworthy. Something extraordinary. Something that makes you feel the most awesome.
But this doesn’t happen that often. Big success takes time. It takes effort and perseverance. It takes time.
We need to give ourselves small victories. Win small battles with ourselves, our job, our other duties. Just to get the feeling of winning and keep on going.
Sometimes, when work just doesn’t feel like coming to any good results, what helps me is victory in other fields. I usually go run. It releases the endorphins and it is a victory over myself (though I’ve been running for couple of months, it still is a fight to get out of that door and start).
Or like today morning: Yesterday I had a shit day. No particular reason, just it didn’t feel right, nothing big came in, no particular success that I would be proud of.
So I decided to start today with couple of small victories:
I woke up earlier = victory #1
I exercised = victory #2
I write this post = victory #3
The next thing I’m going to do is to write down 3 top things I want to get done today. After I finish any of them, I’ll take a break and celebrate the victory.
If you’re feeling down and that big success seems to be thousand miles away, grant yourself the small victory. Appreciate it. And keep on going.
There are 3 productive choices in any situation – take it, change it or leave it. After you’ve chosen, live with your decision.
There’s plenty of non-productive things you can do – complain, whine, blame others, blame everyone, sabotage the efforts of others, back-talk, pity yourself… I guess you could go on for quite a while here.
Only 3 productive and healthy choices stand out:
Take the situation and decide to accept it as is. Sometimes when some things don’t seem bright and shiny, this option might be necessary. Considering priorities, sacrifices you are willing to make and your options, you might decide, that taking the things as they are, accepting the status quo is the best possible way to handle it. Just make sure you are able to bear the consequences – take it with all there is, it’s your choice.
Do you feel you can do something about the situation, that would improve it? Do it. Consider your options, consider what you can do. If you cannot take the situation as is, and you are willing and able to change it, then do it. It’s going to hurt, but it’s your decision.
If you cannot take it and you cannot (or don’t want to) change it, you can still leave it. Sometimes saying „that’s enough“ is the best. Quitting in right time doesn’t mean you are giving up or losing. It means you have the guts and will to state clearly you want something else and you are not afraid to face the consequences. It’s your decision, so don’t look back.
Sounds simplified? Ridiculous? Not taking into consideration all the aspects? Might be. But it also is true.
Whenever faced with the situation that you don’t feel comfortable in, you can chose one of those. You can take it as it is and endure. You can change it. Or you can leave with your head up.