Seriously, STOP for one moment; how is it the end of Summer 2019 already?
It all feels like yesterday that we were having conversations about the futuristic year of 2000. How is it that we are heading towards 2020?
Weren't we all just celebrating new beginnings and endings with the end of school year, graduations, and finishing up final projects? We were looking forward to Summer, ready to enjoy a slower pace, and welcoming the beauty of the sun and all the joy Summer brings to us.
Let’s face it, as we move into August, our minds wander towards the months ahead - as much as we want to stay in the present, we project ahead for planning, whether for business or pleasure - where are we with our goals? Of course, we also think about Q4, preparing our kids to return to school and before you know it, it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then a New Year - 2020!
As we sit at the cusp of shifting into the Fall, it’s important to take a moment and reflect on the year we’ve had with honest evaluation on what’s worked and hasn’t in preparation to step and transition into the next level. Research found that people are more productive when they are reflecting! Research in "call centers demonstrated that employees who spent 15 minutes at the end of the day reflecting about lessons learned performed 23% better after 10 days than those who did not reflect” - Jennifer Porter, Harvard Business Review.
The great thing about Summer is that it allows us to embrace reflection and create more space for what we want. Over the last few months, I chose to disconnect and re-center. While I was on vacation, I was able to reflect without distraction and was actually able to set clear goals for the year ahead and how I want to tackle them. I returned from vacation refreshed and with more clarity than I’ve had all Summer, and I owe it all to reflection.
Not only is there productivity in reflection, but sunlight is a big conponent too. Researchers have found that bright light has the ability to heighten emotions and that natural light not only makes you happier but also helps reduce symptoms of depression. Exposure to sunlight increases the release of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin, as we know, is associated with boosting mood and helping people feel calmer, more focused and, you guessed it, more productive. One 2014 study found that people who had windows in their offices exercised more, got more sleep, had a greater sense of overall well being than those whose offices had no windows. - 6 Ways Lights Can Affect Your Emotions. Exercise and more sleep are both additional boosters of productivity. .
Since sunlight is proven to enhance people’s productivity, why not use Summer as a time to focus on and reach our goals?
I started shifting how and where I work to offer a new perspective. I have been operating more from a mobile desk, meaning, I work outside. While I can’t bask in the sun all day long like I did when I was on vacation, I can at least be in the sun for part of the day. Even just putting your desk in front of a sunny window, or changing which room you work offers a change in scenery which will help spark new ideas.
As many of you may know, I am a big believer in setting short and long term goals to be more effective, and see a clear measure towards success. It’s important to remember that goals change. We don’t set goals for the year once and move on; it’s a continuous process. We are always looking back and reflecting on our goals and setting new ones as we grow. As a coach, I often suggest to my clients "Don’t stress, reassess".
I love finding the light in others. Every person has a personal gift to bring to the table surrounded by their own personal light. If we embrace the benefits of our light, a natural path emerges, guiding us towards our goals.
Here are four easy, valuable tips to help set you up for success in reaching your goals:
Set time aside for reflection. Whether it be quiet reflection, exercise, meditation, whichever helps you feel centered and can lead you towards clarity.
Journal. Write down your goals, your thoughts around your reflection, let your ideas become real. Putting pen to paper is a great way to help visualize. Once we start seeing our goals, we can achieve them easier.
Make an action plan. With your goals sorted, it’s time to think about how you are going to tackle them. Remember, goals change, plans change. Don’t stress, reassess.
Share your goals with someone you trust. Put your goals out into the universe and own them. Allow yourself, and others to get excited about the path you see for yourself. In letting your light shine through you, you might even inspire others! Find a friend, an accountability partner or hire a coach to cheer lead you to your goals.
More than anything, I want to encourage you to keep sight of what you want and remember what you want to create as we head towards the end of Summer.
Reflection, productivity and keeping sight of your goals are all three integrated tools to help you achieve what you want – it’s like Yin and Yang or Hustle and Flow… Slow down and reflect in the sun.
All my best,
It can all start when we let the sun shine in...