The moment you’ve all been waiting for (haha)… I’m finally publishing my #20for2020 goals. In 2019 I tried Gretchen Rubin’s idea of setting small(ish) goals for the year rather than a couple of big resolutions. I didn’t tick everything off my list, but I did alright. The key was tracking my progress. Once I stopped tracking, I started forgetting about all the things I was working towards.
So this year, I’m
setting 20 goals. Some relate to health and wellbeing, some relate to my
physical environment, others relate to career goals, relationships, and
community. We’re a month into the year and I’ve been working on some of these
Improve my greetings (show warmth and be less awkward)
FebFast – no alcohol for the month of February
Catch up with friends once a month
Date night once a month
Blog at least 24 posts
Make an extra $1000.00
Complete 3x 30-day meditation streaks
I’m planning to blog
about some of these goals in future weeks, so if there are any you are
particularly curious about, let me know in the comments! I’ll be explaining why
the goal is important to me, how I’m working toward it, and how I’m succeeding
or struggling with it.
The last month has been challenging for so many people, to say the least. In Canberra where I live, we’ve been surrounded by devastating bushfires for the last couple months, we’ve had heavy smoke haze trapping everyone indoors for weeks at a time due to the hazardous air quality, then we had a storm that produced giant hail stones bigger than golf balls, followed by dust storms. Mother Nature is seriously pissed off about something!
In my personal life things have also been rough – I lost my darling Grandad who I adored, and at the same time my toddler had a bad ear infection that made him a bit annoying and very sleepless… which meant I was also a bit annoying and very sleepless.
A combination of crazy weather, grief, and fatigue had lead me to feel lower than low. But I wasn’t the only one. People all around me have been commenting on how terrible 2020 is so far. The mood everywhere is dark and depressed. Most people in my city have been badly impacted by the weather somehow, either by losing their properties down the coast, being cut off from their families, or having their car and/or house destroyed by the hail storm.
So recently when my husband and I were having a conversation about how incredibly shit things were going so far this year, I had to put a stop to it. I was feeling such a sense of doom and despair, and by continuing to list all the bad things, I was only emphasising the negatives. So I suggested we try listing all the GOOD things, and it really did help to turn the mood around.
We started by looking for the blessings amidst the terrible events:
we weren’t directly impacted by the bushfires;
our little guy coped super well with being trapped inside because of the smoke;
the hailstorm that damaged thousands of cars and property missed our suburb;
my Grandad’s death was fast enough that he didn’t suffer, and slow enough for us to gather and say goodbye;
and our kid is pretty amazing even when he is in pain and overtired.
We then moved further out from the shitty events and looked at other things that had been happening in our lives:
My husband gained a new client;
my work was going well and offering me great support and flexibility;
our little one is making incredible progress with his development and is (usually) so well behaved and funny; etc.
We finished the conversation feeling much lighter, happier, and more grateful. The conversation led on to discuss these great things in more detail so that we no longer realised we were making a list of good things – we were just talking about something that made us happy.
It’s such a weird time in Australia with all these natural disasters and bizarre weather events. Everyone is unsettled and disturbed by it. It’s serious stuff, and the impact on people is undoubtedly huge. But we need to remember that good stuff is happening too. That’s not at all to say we should dismiss people’s feelings or their need to talk about their struggles. But we need to help each other stay afloat and not be dragged too far under by the sadness and fear.
How often do you respond to questions with “I don’t know”? For me, it’s a lot. “I don’t know” what I want for dinner. “I don’t know” what I should do about my career dreams. Or “I don’t know” what to do about some difficult relationships.
Maybe you don’t know what you want to do with your life. Or you don’t know how to leave that shit head boyfriend who makes you feel bad all the time. Maybe you don’t know why you can’t lose weight or can’t get the job you want.
I challenge you to pretend you do know. Then what would the answer be?
Maybe “I don’t know” is just the lazy answer. If you really had to come up with an answer to your problem, what would it be? Throw some ideas out there and see if any of them grab you.
I think sometimes we pretend we don’t know as protection. We don’t want to admit what we really do know, because then we might have to commit to something. Or we might fail somehow. But staying stuck in the “I don’t know” is its own kind of commitment. You’re committing to staying stuck, dissatisfied, and powerless.
So next time you catch yourself saying “I don’t know”, stop and think about what the answer would be if you did know.
If you want to talk through some of your “I don’t knows” with me, get in touch for a free initial coaching session. There is absolutely no obligation to continue with any paid coaching.
So you’ve developed an interest in self-improvement. You’re
committed to developing your skills, your emotional intelligence, and achieving
your goals. GOOD FOR YOU.
But before you go too far, can I give you a tip?
The first thing you need to develop is a thick skin and some
Because as positive as your personal development is, people will
try to bring you down. You will be accused of being up yourself, self-absorbed,
self-obsessed, and having a “superior attitude”.
People are often threatened when they see people they know and
love changing. Maybe they feel judged, or just annoyed that things are
different. Maybe you don’t like to do the things you used to do with that
person anymore. Or they just can’t relate to you anymore. Whatever it is, even
when you don’t intend to treat people differently, they can sense that things
are different and that’s uncomfortable for them.
That doesn’t meant that what you are doing is wrong. It doesn’t
mean you have to go back to that train wreck of a person you used to be – even
if that was the person they liked better. It might just mean that you need to
find new people who do like who you have become.
I can tell you that this will also be an uncomfortable change for
you. It will hurt so badly to hear these things from people you were previously
close with. Try to remember that they aren’t necessarily trying to hurt you.
They just don’t understand you anymore.
You can either try to help them understand where you’re coming
from, or you can move on. I like to give people a chance to understand, but if
they continue to insult me or bring me down, I know that it’s sadly time to
move on. Because self-improvement isn’t about changing other people. It’s not
your job to make them understand, or to change how they think. It’s your job to
keep trying to be a better person than you were yesterday. Send them some love
and keep living your life your way.
**Please make sure you are not in fact being a jerk to people.
If there’s one thing you can be sure of during any crisis in Australia, it’s the amazing display of human kindness that comes out.
Right now, we are experiencing bushfires like nothing that’s ever been seen before. The fires are wiping out massive areas of land, property, animals, and human life. People are losing everything they’ve worked for and everything they’ve known. Areas that aren’t currently directly impacted by fire are instead impacted by heavy smoke, road closures, and the constant threat that fires could start nearby at any moment. Anyone with TV or internet is exposed to 24 hour coverage of devastating images and stories from the fire grounds.
I have shed many tears over the past days as I empathise with those who have suffered this trauma. But you know what really gets the ugly sobs going for me? It’s the incredible compassion and kindness that is being shown all over the country.
People are opening their homes and businesses to those who have been evacuated. Donations of money and goods have been overwhelming. Individuals and organisations are doing what they can to ease the suffering of the animals that have been affected. Truckies are travelling long distances to deliver donated hay bales to affected farmers. Journalists are offering comfort and compassion during emotional interviews.
The outpouring of compassion is beautiful and touching. But it’s not endless. For in a few weeks when (hopefully) this disaster will have settled down, people will get back to their own lives while others are left to rebuild what is left of theirs. The images and stories will decrease over time and we will begin to forget the high emotions we all felt in the early days of January 2020. We’ll go back to road raging each other and complaining about mundane things.
But wouldn’t it be nice if we could all continue to share some of this kindness and compassion throughout the year. We have seen that we all have the capacity for extending our love and generosity beyond our own families. Perhaps now is the time to think about what goodness you can contribute to the community as the year goes on. Join a community group like Rotary? Regular donations to charity? Volunteering? Maybe you just want to put a reminder on your calendar each month to check in with a lonely neighbour and take them a meal. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but lets take this feeling of goodwill and carry it on beyond the current disaster. People who have been directly affected by the fires are going to need support for much longer than the news cameras are on them.
There are big changes that are needed at the Government level in terms of climate change. But instead of only focusing on that, I hope we can all focus on what we can do as individuals to bring more kindness into a world that is suffering. What are you achieving by spewing blame and hate about one Prime Minister from behind your keyboard? Try spreading something positive instead. Do some good in the world, and commit to carrying that beyond this moment of crisis.
I am obsessed with hearing and reading about people’s goals. I think it’s fascinating to hear about different ways people are striving for change or improvement in their lives. And one of the really common goals I see is a reading target. People seem to like challenging themselves to read a certain amount of books in a year, or simply just to “read more”.
I’ve always been a book worm. But the last few years I decided to jump on the bandwagon and set myself a reading goal. I didn’t even know why… guess I just thought it would be an easy and enjoyable goal to aim for. But then I started discovering some unexpected benefits of setting this type of goal.
How a reading goal can impact your life:
Reading opens your mind.
Whether you’re reading fiction or non-fiction, books can open your mind to new ideas, cultures, and experiences you never would have known about otherwise. Studies have shown that keeping an active mind may help to ward off Alzheimer’s.
You’ll use your time better.
Having a difficult reading goal encouraged me to get the hell off time-wasting social media apps and read books instead. At all those little moments when I’d normally open Facebook and scroll mindlessly, I’d remember my reading target and switch to my Kindle app or BorrowBox instead. I always felt much more satisfied with spending 5 or 10 minutes reading a book than scanning rubbish on Facebook. I even ended up deleting my social media apps so now I only get on Facebook for around 10 minutes a day on my laptop when I’m doing it with purpose.
You’ll take more time for yourself
On days when I arrived to work early, I read. When I was finished my lunch and tempted to end my break early to go back to work, I read. Finding opportunities to have some me-time can feel rare, but only because we are always rushing to the next thing. Having a goal of reading a certain number of books helped me put me-time above donating my time to work or other unnecessary demands.
You might make new friends.
My strong interest in reading has helped me make great connections with new friends who also read. Any reading nerd will understand the excitement they feel when they come across someone who shares the same favourite author! And apps such as Goodreads allows you to connect with others simply over books. No need to see what they ate for dinner or what political crap they’re rabbiting on about… you can just see what they’ve read recently and how they rated it! I’ve found heaps of great new books (and friends) this way!
You’ll experience mental health benefits.
When life gets a bit rough, getting lost in a book for a while can be excellent medicine. At the time of writing this post, there are devastating bushfires raging through Australia, wiping out huge areas of land, wildlife, property, and human life. It’s terrifying, heartbreaking, and as with any kind of crisis or natural disaster, addictive to watch the coverage on TV or social media. We can get hooked on following the live feeds which just repeat traumatic images and stories again and again. Waiting for new information, you are exposed to such extreme emotions and it’s hard to switch off. So today I’ve reminded myself of my reading goal and switched off from the repetitive live feeds for a while, giving my heavy and anxious heart a break from it all.
You’ll increase your intelligence.
I can get totally wrapped up in the story for the whole time I’m reading it. But as soon as I move on to the next one I completely forget the last one I read. Sometimes I can’t even remember if I’ve read the book at all! But every now and then I’ll come out with some little fact or piece of knowledge that shocks myself as much as everyone around me. ‘Where the hell did that come from?’ I find myself wondering. In most cases, it was from a book I read. Even the fiction books I’ve read have increased my awareness of stuff that I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. This helps me to contribute to conversations, occasionally know an answer at a trivia night, and stay interested in the world around me.
My reading goal for 2020
My goal for 2020 is to read 28 books. These will be a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, and I’ll be tracking them on Goodreads. Last year my goal was 25 and I reached 28, but it was challenging to get to that number so I thought I’d increase my target to that this year.
Do you have a reading goal for 2020? Even if it’s just 3 books, try setting yourself a goal and see how quickly you can tick it off. You might just find some unexpected benefits like I did!
At the beginning of 2019 I set myself 19 goals rather than one New Year’s Resolution. Now we are almost at the end of the year so it’s time to do a review of how I went!
I was doing great until I stopped tracking my progress. For the first 5 months or so I kept a detailed chart and it helped keep me on track and remind me constantly to keep working at my goals. Once I let that go it was harder to stay focused on those goals. But I still think I went okay.
Here are the results:
Start swimming lessons with Archie – Achieved! He has participated all year and made the most amazing progress. For the first 6 months of lessons I bitched and moaned every week because it was a hassle and he didn’t seem to be enjoying it or getting anywhere. But then he started loving it and making great progress so now I look forward to it every week and I’m proud of myself for sticking with it.
Rejoin Rotary – Achieved! I have joined a Rotary club again and I am enjoying being back in this community organisation where I can help make a positive difference in the world while making good friends at the same time.
Write an e-Book – Not yet. I didn’t get around to this one but it’s still a long-term goal.
Learn & use Pinterest better for my blog – Not really achieved. I dabbled. I’ll get back to it.
Catch up with a friend at least once a month – I think I would have achieved this but I stopped tracking it so I couldn’t be sure. Tracking this one definitely helped me to make social plans when ordinarily it wouldn’t have taken priority in my mind. And I think I’m getting better at doing this now.
Run my first workshop/seminar for Fly Life – Not yet. Maybe 2020! I had big plans, but then life got weird and this got sidelined until I can put all my energy and focus into it.
Get my backyard sorted – Not yet. My backyard still looks like a sad little neglected desert. Maybe 2020. I thought I’d be able to do a lot of this myself but as is always the case when men get involved, it got too complicated and I lost interest. I just wanted to stick a raised garden bed in a corner, but no… first we must install drainage and blah blah blah… too hard.
Get security screens installed – Achieved! Well, my husband really achieved this one but only because I nagged enough so I’m still claiming the victory.
Have a weekend away by myself for writing – Not yet. Still definitely on my list though.
Read 25 books – Overachieved! At the time of writing this post I think I’m up to 28 and now I’m trying to see how close to 30 I can get, but I don’t think I’ll quite get that far.
Declutter my house – Definitely not achieved! Every now and then I would work towards this a little bit but it was a drop in the ocean. Still so much work to do on this one!
Cook a new recipe once a fortnight – I think I would have achieved this one or at least come very close to it. I have been trying heaps of different recipes and really enjoying cooking. It’s a bit harder now that I’m working full time again, but I still try to throw something new together as often as possible.
Attend a blogging/business event – Not yet. This one will remain on my list.
Have my women’s health check up – Achieved. I got this one out of the way early in the year.
Move more – steps, yoga, swimming, SOMETHING – I did pretty well with this one, particularly while I was tracking my progress. I was going for walks most days before I started working full time a couple of months ago. Things have slipped a bit since then so it’s something I want to focus on again in the new year.
Weekly gratitude practice – Not really… tracking this one helped but then I just kept forgetting. It makes such a difference though, so again, one that I will continue to work on in 2020.
Write every day – Nope. I need to identify my barriers to this because I just found it really hard! But it’s still something I would like to be able to do.
Experience something new with Archie every week – tracking this one was helpful because once I stopped tracking it I forgot to keep searching for new things. Also, when I went back to work full time it became much harder to fit new things in every week. But we did pretty well with this one and discovered some new places and fun activities!
Overall I did pretty well with my #19for2019. Focusing on this list for the year truly made me enjoy life more. The year had its challenges but looking back on what I achieved and what I enjoyed showed me that it was a pretty great year overall.
Achievements don’t have to be huge or impressive. Tiny positive tweaks are still life-changing.
Now to start planning my #20for2020!
What were your goals for 2019 and how did you go with them? I really love to hear about other people’s goals, so please share with me in the comments. Are you setting any new goals for 2020?
Maybe you’ve got a rockin’ body and doing a full nudie run
through your office will get you that promo. But when I say “streak your way to
success” that’s not the kind of streak I’m talking about. Although, hey, if it
works for you, I ain’t gonna hold you back!
I’m talking about a streak of consecutive wins. A winning streak.
The small things we do every day can lead to bigger results
than the big things we do once in a while. It’s all about training your brain
to recognise what you’re doing as “normal”.
You clean your teeth everyday right? Things start to feel a
little furry if you skip this task. Maybe you have days where you’re so tired
you think about skipping it, but usually you’ll still do it anyway. Even if it’s
a half-arsed effort. And even if you do skip it, I bet you’re unlikely
to skip it twice in a row.
This is how it can be with any good habit you want to build.
It can sometimes be easier to do something EVERY FREAKIN’ DAY than it is to do
it three times a week or once a week. Because it becomes part of your daily
routine, and because you quickly start to see a winning streak. And nobody
likes to break a winning streak.
Tracking my winning streak was the most effective tool I used when I quit smoking. I literally gave myself a gold star on the calendar for every day that I didn’t smoke, and it started to look so pretty and sparkly… As much as I wanted to head-butt someone (thank you nicotine withdrawals), I was motivated by the streak of sparkles on my calendar. Plus it was on my wall for everyone else to see as well, so I didn’t want to have a gap in the stars.
Some suggested rules for streaking:
Keep your clothes on
(unless the habit you’re building involves sex or showering, then I guess you can ignore this rule).
Set yourself an achievable minimum accepted “win”.
For example, if your goal is to write everyday, set a minimum word count of 50 words. If the goal is to run everyday, make the minimum 1km or 10 minutes of running. This way, even on days when everything is against you, it’s still achievable to keep your streak going. You can also get the minimum over and done with first thing in the morning and then anything else you do that day is a bonus.
Set yourself a daily target.
Maybe the target is to write 500 words a day or to run 3km every day. If you get there, great. But if you don’t, that’s okay – as long as you’ve achieved the minimum it’s still a win. The daily target might even be something that you need to work up to over time.
Track your streak.
Having visual proof of your streak is motivating and a great daily reminder. As I mentioned before, I used gold stars on a calendar to track my progress when I quit smoking.
Never miss two in a row.
The goal here is to keep the streak going without a break. But of course there might be days when it just doesn’t happen. You’ve got the flu, or you’re on a 15 hour flight, or you just simply can’t be effed. The idea of streaking is that you make the minimum win achievable even in these sorts of circumstances, but I know sometimes it might just not happen. Don’t quit altogether just coz you missed a day. Get straight back into it the following day and keep going. Just don’t allow yourself to miss two days in a row because that’s when it gets really hard to get back into it.
Set an end date (optional).
Depending on the goal or the habit, you might want to set an end date or a target date. This way you can choose at that time to stop if you want. The end then isn’t determined by you ‘falling off the wagon’ so to speak. And it gives you the power to choose if you want to continue, change it up, or just stop altogether. It might also help you to not get too obsessive about the habit if you know it’s only going to be daily for a certain amount of time.
Get freakin’ streakin’!
What types of habits could you try
Spending time outdoors
Making your bed
Reaching out to potential new clients
Contacting a friend each day
Going to bed with a clean kitchen
You could also try streaking for
quitting a habit, of course!
Let me know what you’ve tried streaking for and if it worked for you.
Difficult people have the power to ruin our day… but only if we let them. Now, I know that’s usually easier said than done. But I recently discovered a way to reclaim my power when dealing with a jerk.
The next time you’re dealing with a difficult person, I want you to think about what they’re afraid of.
This particular A-hole that I dealt with several months ago was so aggressive, abusive, and intimidating. I lost sleep because of this dude, and anyone who causes me to lose sleep and is NOT my toddler, becomes my number 1 enemy.
Anyway, fast-forward a few months and I have to deal with him again. I got the sweats, the racing heart, the shaky hands. I started trying to think of ways to get out of it. But then I stopped and thought about why he was such a jerk. What was driving his shitty behaviour?
The answer was FEAR. He was advocating for his son, and he was so terrified of what life has in store for his young guy. The fear of losing control of things as his son got older was just too much for him to bear.
Hey, I could relate to fear. I would also feel desperately afraid in his situation. And I’d also probably forget my manners if this fear was overwhelming me. I’ve got no doubt that can be aggressive and intimidating if I feel the need to protect someone I love.
So now I was on the same page as this man. It didn’t make his previous behaviour okay, but I guess it made it a bit more understandable. I could now work with him and try to keep the conversation reasonable, or at least end it with some respect and empathy. Which is what I did in the end.
The common factor
So then I started thinking about some other ‘difficult people’ I’ve come across. Fear was a common factor. There was always something I could identify that they were afraid of and that probably drove their behaviour.
In none of the circumstances did understanding their fear suddenly excuse their behaviour. But it gave me a different perspective, and a new way of approaching them… or walking away from them.
Give it a whirl
If you’re dealing with a difficult person, I’d really encourage you to take a step back and think about what it is they might be afraid of. You don’t have to call them out on it. Just keep that thought to yourself and see if you can approach them a different way. Or… walk away confidently knowing that they may be afraid of something, but they have no right to make you feel afraid of them.
Let me know if you try this exercise and if it helps you deal with a douchebag. If you need some targeted help with conflict management, feel free to get in touch.
Today I found myself wondering, “where is the year going?!” It’s already the middle of April and it feels like Christmas was only last week! The first quarter has just disappeared, and I’m not sure I’ve used my time effectively. Sure, I’ve been ‘busy’ and things have been happening, but am I where I thought I’d be at this time of the year in terms of my goals? Not quite…
So of course I go into self-protection mode and remind myself that I’m a working mum and the toddler makes things tricky. I remind myself of all the things I HAVE achieved so far this year… and there’s actually a bit there to be proud of. But I’m not letting myself completely off the hook.
Time management can make or break us. I know I’ve heard from
a lot of readers who have said this is their weakness, so I’d like to focus more
on this in coming posts. I have so many thoughts on time management and it’s a
bit of a love-hate relationship for me!
Sometimes I’m pretty good with my time management, but at other times it all falls apart and I end up wasting a lot of time or being pretend-busy. The last few months have been a little bit of a blur, so these are the things I’m going to focus on to get myself back on track, and I’ll be back soon with some more specific time management thoughts and tips.
The best way I’ve found to manage my time better is to actually
think about time. Focus on it. Be honest with yourself about how you spend each
chunk of time in your day. And the most accurate way of doing this is to track
your time in half-hour blocks. It not only helps you to see where you’re losing
time, but also helps to keep you accountable and motivate you to do something
productive with your time. You don’t really want to write down that you just
spent an hour scrolling mindlessly through Facebook.
Make your down-time worthwhile
Using time effectively doesn’t mean you have to be constantly doing something. Rest is important too. But if you don’t feel refreshed or energised after your chill-out time, then you’re doin’ it wrong. If I spend an hour scrolling through Facebook and I come away from it with nothing but a headache and general feeling of annoyance, then I’ve wasted my time. But if I watch a 1-hour episode of a TV series with my husband and we connect over it and laugh about it or chat about it afterwards, then the down-time was worthwhile.
Switch to something
When you catch yourself doing something that’s not serving a
purpose, switch to something more productive. Think about what you could be
doing right now that’s going to get you closer to your goals. Whether it means
getting your shoes on and going for a run, Googling a healthy recipe for
dinner, putting a load of washing away, or doing some research for a project
you’re working on, there’s always something productive that you can fit in
right now with the time and the energy that you have. Put down your phone and
just do something. One trap I fall
into is thinking that I can’t do anything while my toddler is around because he
slows me down, gets in my way, wants me to pick him up all the time etc. And
sure, I can’t write an essay or clean the whole house while he’s around, but I
can probably put a few things away or write up a meal plan for the week.
Time to wrap it up…
Just being conscious of what I’m doing and what my goals are
helps me to use my time more effectively. But it takes practice to maintain
this consciousness. It’s so easy to get sucked into the busy-ness and
exhaustion of everyday life, but then before you know it, the year has slipped
away and you haven’t achieved what you set out to achieve.
Increase your awareness of where your time is going. Let’s start thinking about it now so that we can still fit everything we want to do into the rest of the year. Leave me a comment to let me know your best time management tips, or your biggest time management problems!