Back to school – how to finish your year strong

tips for back-to-school success

I don’t know about you, but this time of year is deeply ingrained in my whole being as ‘back-to-school’ season. It’s when I’ve always got my things in order after the summer break, bought new stationery and Clark’s school shoes (well, not so much the shoes anymore…), and re-focused on the new term ahead. We may not be tied to the academic year anymore – although if you have children then you probably still are! – but this seasonality is a great framework to use for our careers and our businesses too. Now is the perfect time to finish your year strong and set yourself up for success in 2019.

It can be tempting to let that slow pace of summer flow into the autumn period, to slow down as you reach the finishing line of 31st December and to postpone doing anything about anything until the clock strikes midnight and you wake up with renewed energy to once again set ambitious New Year’s Resolutions for 2019. But do you want to end this year with a massive sense of regret and disappointment over all the things you didn’t do this year? Do you want to come face to face with a string of excuses as to why you didn’t do all those things – procrastination, lack of discipline, perfectionism, this happened, that happened…? Or do you want to end 2018 with a feeling of empowerment and immense satisfaction?

Here are five things you can do to get back on track, finish your year strong, and set yourself up for success in 2019:

1. De-clutter your space

Whether it’s your bedroom, where clearing up will help you sleep better, or your office, where sorting out your documents will make you more productive, de-cluttering your living space is going to have positive repercussions across all different areas of your life. Take some time to donate ill-fitting clothes to charity, sell handbags that you don’t use anymore on eBay, and throw things away that no one is going to want anymore. Check out Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying for inspiration and a new approach to thinking about your stuff!

In sorting through your things, you also want to get rid of all those little annoyances. For example, I have an old computer that I’ve been meaning to sell but I had an issue with re-installing the operating system and so I got stuck and it’s been lying there ever since. Dealing with this once and for all will get rid of the laptop and cable that’s just lying on my chest of drawers and will give me some extra money when I return it as well as a sense of satisfaction when I finally do something about it.

2. Get your health in order

Now that you’ve got your home and work environment in order, you want to get yourself in order! You don’t want to get to Christmas and already have a lot of excess weight to deal with, and you don’t just want to write off the rest of the year now and tell yourself you’ll start dieting and exercising in the New Year. Now is the time to set yourself up for success in 2019 by getting back on track with nutrition, fitness and any other aspects of physical and mental health that need seeing to.

In fact, more than your wellbeing, why not take this opportunity to check in with how you’re doing across all different areas of your life, including your relationships and especially your relationships with your partner, children and other key people in your life? Use the success audit to review the ‘5Ls’ (LIVE, LOVE, LEARN, LEAD, LAUGH) and see where there are gaps that you can focus on closing in the next few months. You may be after that all-elusive ‘work-life balance’ but remember that work is just one part of life – an important one, but still only one. Get the success audit here >>

3. Check your progress on this year’s goals

We need to look back before we look forward, so grab your goals that you set yourself for this year and let’s see how you’ve been getting on. If you’ve been part of my community for a while and were with me at the start of the year, you can look back on the work you did as part of the webinar and planning we did back in December/January. This will include an overarching theme as well as goals across the 5L areas, as well as potentially also including goals for launching your business.

As you look at the goals that you set and how well you’ve done on executing these, ask yourself:

  • What have been your wins so far this year? What have been your biggest successes?
  • What are the things that haven’t gone quite as you had planned? What lessons have you learned as a result?
  • Where are you most frustrated about not making any progress?

We’ll use these insights in the next step, where you’ll…

4. Set goals for the end of the year

Depending on how ambitious you were at the start of the year, and how effective you’ve been in working towards your goals so far, you may have a lot of goals still remaining. At this stage, given that you only have four months to go, you’re probably not going to be able to finish absolutely everything that’s still on your list; you’re only postponing disappointment if you keep telling yourself that you’re going to be able to do everything. Instead, choose the most important things that are on the list: the goals that will mean the most to you and that will make the biggest difference in your life.

To do this, look back on your notes from the previous step and in particular at the goals where you were most frustrated about not making any progress:

  • Are these goals still important to you? Why?
  • What will be different in your life once you’ve achieved these goals?
  • Which of these goals is going to create the most amount of forward motion and make the biggest impact in the areas of your life that are most important to you?

Choose one big goal that will make 2018 a cracking year for you when you ultimately achieve it by the end of December.

5. Take action

Okay, now I would usually follow on from the goal-setting step with a planning step – after all, having a plan for how you’ll achieve your goals will give you a framework and takes some of the emotion out of the process. However, this is a goal that you’ve had for a long time, that you set yourself at the start of the year and that you still haven’t done anything about. So rather than giving you more excuses to procrastinate and put off taking action any longer, I want to get you taking action RIGHT NOW.

  • What do you need in order to move forward with this goal?
  • Is there information that’s missing – in which case, what can you do to start collecting for that information?
  • Is there a preliminary step that needs to happen before you can do the thing, for example, do you need to save x amount of money as a safety net?
  • Do you want to partner with a coach who will guide you through the process and help you hit your deadline of the end of the year, once and for all (think how powerful it is to get a personal trainer to help you reach your weight loss goals versus just trying to follow free training videos and diet tips without any kind of structure, accountability or customised programme)?
  • What can you do TODAY to move forwards with this idea – send an email, book a discovery call, look into the options available to you?

NOW is the time to stop procrastinating and finish your year strong. So what’s your ONE STEP going to be?

Book a discovery call with me to discuss how I can support you in this end-of-year period, and beyond, to help you achieve your personal and professional goals.

To get support with free training sessions, Q&A and other fun stuff, come on over and join us in the Facebook group.

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