How’s your year going? If you’re reading this, then perhaps it’s not panning out as well as you’d planned. However much you may fire yourself up with goals and projects in January, by the summer months those intentions can go AWOL. Take our fun quiz to find out if you’re still on track or whether you need to give yourself a bit of a reboot…
1. You’re having a challenging year work-wise. When you lie awake at night, what thoughts are running through your head?
a You’re fretting over all those things you haven’t done.
b You’re beating yourself up over the things you’ve done badly.
c You make a mental note to stop working by 9 pm in future. You’re too wired to sleep.
2. What is your approach to your current finances?
a. As always, you’re keeping a close eye on your spending.
b. You’ve been praying for a miracle. If things get too hairy, you might have to make an appointment to see a financial advisor.
c. You can’t actually look at your bank balance. You’re too busy checking the online sales.
3. When things don’t go your way and you find you’ve somehow got knocked off track with your goals, how do you respond?
a. Open the wine. You’ve had a tough year.
b. Double down – even though it seems to be getting you nowhere.
c. Surround yourself with positive people who can give you the best advice and support to restrategise.
4. What is your strategy for staying well and fit throughout the year?
a. You always start out with good intentions but life gets in the way and you give up.
b. As a general rule, you stick to eating healthy and staying fit, with occasional exceptions.
c. You veer from detox diet to ‘falling off the wagon’ to radical fitness regime – nothing lasts long enough to make a difference.
5. Would you say you’re anxious at the moment?
a. More and more. Where did that come from?
b. Occasionally. In a way, it helps you prevent things from going wrong.
c. Massively. It’s sometimes overwhelming.
6. Spending time on social media makes you feel…
a. Guilty. It’s a time-waster. What happened to those goals?
b. Soothed. You get time off from worrying about your life.
c. It’s fun for five minutes but too distracting. Unless it’s for work, in which case you just get on with it.
7. How do you handle a major obstacle?
a. You give yourself time and space to work out how to overcome it.
b. You tend to catastrophise and blame fate/your boss/humanity for working against you.
c. Ignore it and soldier on.
1. a L b R c O
2. a O b L c R
3. a R b L c O
4 a R b O c L
5. a L b R c O
6 a L b R c 0
7 a O b R c L
Now add up your scores. If you got…
MOSTLY O: YOU’RE ON TRACK
You’re doing well, and those goals are still in sight. But are you being too hard on yourself? It’s important to take time to enjoy the ride and keep an open mind when things don’t turn out quite as planned. Being inflexible and never taking your eye off the prize could mean missing out on opportunities to stretch yourself, try different things and broaden your skill set and life experience. Be generous with advice and support and you’ll find collaborations rewarding. And try to relocate your funny bone when your back’s against the wall. “Humour is incredibly important,” says Sam Owen, psychologist and author of Resilient Me (Orion Spring). “The thoughts you attach to any challenging situation, immediately afterwards and in the longer term, impact how you feel about it, influencing how you behave. This, in turn, influences the outcomes you achieve in life. So if you immediately attach a lighthearted perception of a difficult event, you’re much more likely to experience positive emotions, leading to self-serving behaviours and habits rather than self-sabotaging ones.”
MOSTLY L: YOU’RE LOSING FOCUS
The knocks of life can make you feel a loss of control, and you can soon become distracted. Soldiering on blindly in this ‘helpless’ frame of mind is like banging your head against a wall – it hurts and gets you nowhere, especially if your self-esteem has been dented. You need to take stock and regain control. “Taking charge of your life reinforces your self-worth, which makes you feel deserving of good fortune so you surround yourself with the right people and influences in order to achieve goals and stay resilient,” says Sam. Of course, there are certain factors that you can’t control, so focus on the things you can, such as health, wellbeing and your bank balance, making sure you tackle issues before they become a problem. The amount of time you spend on electromagnetic devices is a good place to start, as these have been linked to depression, sleeplessness and anxiety, while late nights and alcohol are the quickest way to drain your focus. Sam advises: “How we care for ourselves gives our brain messages that shape our self-worth, making us more likely to have positive emotions day to day, so it’s much easier to face challenges resiliently and refocus on our goals.”
MOSTLY R: YOU NEED A REBOOT
When things don’t go to plan, whether that’s due to outside factors or personal ones, you may find you stray seriously off-script or firmly bury your head in the sand. And not sticking to your vision can make you feel anxious, beat yourself up for ‘failing’ and get into a negative cycle of self-recrimination. If this is the case, it’s time to stop focusing on the ‘failures’ and think about the good things you’ve achieved – how you handled a difficult situation, how patient you were with a colleague etc. Get into the habit of noticing things you’ve done well, so you feel a sense of achievement every week. “If you feel overwhelmed by the enormity of your goals, break them down into small, achievable actions scheduled in your diary,” says strategic business consultant Faye Watts (fayewatts.com. “Join a coaching group or mastermind group and voice your ideas. Putting your plan out there makes it real, and if you have accountability you’re more likely to make it happen.”