Top 5 tips for some last quarter goal setting

So, we are approaching the last quarter of 2020…and I’m sure there will be a lot of people looking forward to turning the page into a new year.  But even if you haven’t achieved all that you had planned this year, it doesn’t mean 2020 has to be a complete write off.

Every step counts, and even if you can’t get all the way there…there’s still time to take back some control of the reigns.  

Here are my top 5 tips for some last quarter goal setting.

  1. What goals did you set for this year?  Did you write your goals down and have a clear vision in mind? If not, this could be a good time to start getting clarity on what you want to achieve, and investigating some ideas of how you might get there.
  1. What do you still want to achieve by the end of this year?  If you didn’t set goals at all, or abandoned them earlier on in the year, perhaps there is still time to pull back your arrow and aim for something doable, that will take you that little bit closer.  And remember to celebrate the small wins – it can help with keeping you motivated.
  1. What is achievable – Be realistic about what you can give time and energy to in the next couple of months.  Don’t try and overwhelm yourself by expecting to do all the things.  Could you reach a mid point goal if you need longer to work on the ultimate goal?
  1. How do you know if you are on the right track?  If you are not already keeping an eye on your progress or don’t regularly check in with yourself, setting up some accountability reminders in your diary/phone calendar can help to keep you focussed.
  1. Is there anything you need to revise or let go of? It’s ok to reframe your aim or scrap some goals completely,  especially if the goalposts have moved this year.  Or perhaps it’s given you the momentum to go after something bigger?  Either way, set something that you will feel comfortable with, whilst still feeling some achievement.

Photo:  Alexa Williams via Unsplash 

The Art of Daydreaming

I seem to have a lot more time now to stare out of a window. Is it a lockdown thing? Or an age thing? I’m not sure.   Hopefully looking outwards to find inner inspiration, and sometimes even finding it!

When you were at school, did you ever get told off for staring out of the window, or daydreaming?  Were you ever called “dilly daydream”?  I think I was, more than once. Curtly brought back to reality, or forced to focus on what was being said.  Brought back down to earth, creativity stifled.

Daydreaming, or what psychologists like to call “anticipatory thinking” can in fact be a good thing.  It allows the brain some breathing space to process, ponder and imagine.  It enables us to make sense of new or novel ideas,  and it helps us to create a possible future through our dreams and visions.

For anyone wishing to make changes to their lives, or reach a specific goal, daydreaming can provide the visualisation needed to cement those ideas into our consciousness, and help make them a reality.  If we can see a potential future in our minds eye, it becomes more real and realistic that we can actually achieve it.

Daydreams also contain the quiet whispers (sometimes not so quiet!) of something that we secretly want to achieve, but have yet to give life to.  It could be a career change or yearning to travel.   Ok, so maybe you won’t make it as a professional footballer…but you might want to consider taking a coaching course.  Or instead of singing on a West End stage, you could try some amateur dramatics or open mic nights.

If you have a recurring idea or dream, no matter how fantastical it might seem, listen to it.  It might contain the clue to something that would really make your heart sing.

Photo credit: Alexander Solodukhin @solodfoto via Unsplash

Celebrating Roald Dahl and the writer’s life

Today is the birthday of Roald Dahl, one of my favourite writers. In fact, I believe that the whole of September is now dedicated as Roald Dahl month, so there have been lots of his lovely quotes fluttering around.
Like a lot of people,  I fell in love with his books, stories and characters, when I was growing up.  Especially Charlie Bucket (and his dad who worked in a toothpaste factory, screwing the tops on). From reading his books, or having them read to me. Or the theatre group who came to perform James and the Giant Peach when I was in infant school. I can still remember being agog at the giant papier-mâché peach and seeing the story coming to life before my wide eyes.
I also love the style of his dark, macabre adult writing and of course, Tales of the Unexpected. I think my favourite one of those was ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’.   I won’t give the game away in case you haven’t seen it, but it has a fantastic twist at the end. Wickedly genius!
But I was even more enamoured by the way in which he worked and wrote.  I think it was a feature on Blue Peter that followed him at his home, and introduced the world to the writing shed at the bottom of the garden.  He would get up and have breakfast and then head off to ‘work’, returning home at lunchtime.  I loved the idea of having this space of isolation to write, but within a comfortable distance from home.  And I admired his discipline of having that routine every day.  I think Mr Dahl would have fared well in these lockdown times…and I wonder what stories it would have inspired in him?
Photo:  The inside of the writing hut has been recreated at the Roald Dahl museum, so that you can be inspired too.  It’s on my (Charlie) bucket list to visit!!

Is procrastination really the thief of time?


I happened to notice that today is “Fight Procrastination Day”.  That’s a great topic for a post I thought…if only I could get round to writing something.  I jest of course!

But it did get me thinking – has procrastination become a bad word?  The idea of nominating a day in which we all dress up as superheroes to wrestle with our wandering minds and distractions left me a bit confused.  It’s like when you were a child at school and were told to stop staring out of the window and daydreaming (that’s a whole other blog post!).

Procrastination is often seen as coping mechanism which we use to avoid (consciously or unconsciously) events or actions which we perceive to be challenging.  We’ve all experienced it – knowing we need to make an important phone call but we keep putting it off, or needing to meet a deadline but we can’t get started.  Often it is because we are focussing on the possible outcomes and we start to project our fears onto how it may play out…what if I give my opinion and they don’t like it, what if I submit this work and it’s not good enough.  It can become problematic when we repeatedly avoid or delay situations by giving in to those fears.  It can affect how other people view us, and it also leads to greater frustration and doubt within ourselves.

But I also think that procrastination can be helpful. It’s like having an inner alarm that sounds when we are about to do something new, and makes us that little bit more cautious.  When we have something that is really important to us, taking that pause to think about what we are going to do, and considering it’s possible implications can be a good thing.  Listening to those fears can highlight where we need to do a little more preparation or learning, which can in turn increase our confidence.  It can stop us going gung-ho into situations and not giving it our best attention or efforts.  And it can also help flag up when we are getting into something that we might not be entirely on board with.  Often in these fast paced times, we do things on autopilot, and have little time to sit and reflect and think, actually is this job/relationship/whatever making me happy?

Whoever said ‘procrastination is the thief of time’ may well have been on to something…but spending time on something which isn’t truly meant for you, can be equally as wasted.

Photo credit:  TK Hammonds via Unsplash