Whilst I am sure for most parents and indeed students (remember academic calendars?), September has always marked a new "year", it is also a new season which stands out for the amount of change it contains. However up until now I have never considered September to be a time for goal setting, for kick starting positive change or reflecting on what is really important in a work or personal context - until now.
In 2020, the spring and summer were dominated by lock down, by rainy staycation holidays (or was that just me?!) and a curtailing of what we would all normally be doing at that time of year. With the schools about to go back and for many a period of furlough about to end (whether that brings a positive return to work or the challenge of looking for new employment), autumn 2020 is marked to be more eventful than most prior.
Whilst January is usually the time I and many others would look to set resolutions or personal challenges, the effect of the one too many Quality Street, cold and dark days and depleted energy levels can provide a far from ideal platform for new routines and goal setting. According to Victoria Plant, a consultant chartered psychologist "Many of us are happier in September. Sunshine, lighter days and potentially the effects of a summer holiday can result in our brains producing more serotonin, known as the 'happiness hormone'. It has been clinically proven that a positive frame of mind is more conducive to enhancing focus, concentration and our ability to challenge our Negative Automatic Thoughts (NATs), and so we are more likely to attain our goals and resolutions by starting them at this time of year."
For me personally having goals creates structure in my work and personal life, a focus: something to aim towards. Whilst a simple written list like that above, satisfied my thirteen year old self, now I need something a little bit more in depth and technical that allows me to track my progress and add sub goals that I can tick off as I go. The same applies at a company level - having achievable and traceable steps and documenting progress are both key for the success of any project, be that internal or external. A number of my Monday morning "System Spotlight" videos that I have been featuring on LinkedIn feature tools that can help with this including Workflowy, Monday.com and Asana
However, the setting of goals is only half the story if you really wish to capitalise on September as a period of change. Now, being self employed and having no one to answer to apart from myself and a cat who constantly shouts at me, I have realised the importance of accountability.
A recent post on social media where I asked for recommendations of mentors and coaches led to an overwhelming response, but I have amongst other things ended up with just that - a weekly check in
of goal setting and goal reviewing with someone on a similar path. I recognised I needed that accountability, that pressure if you like to make me take action where on some days I admit I might of been more reluctant to do so.
If you would like someone to help keep you accountable or advice about what tools might help you or your business keep on track please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Sally Rice is the Founder and Managing Director of S Rice Consultancy who offer companies in the commercial interiors industry advice on the operational areas of business with the aim of helping them gain more time and cost efficiencies, maintain sustainable growth and ultimately improve their bottom line.
Follow their LinkedIn page at https://www.linkedin.com/company/sriceconsultancy