Are you cheating on your personal life and not disconnecting from work?

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With Legacy turning two next month I thought it was time to sit down and have a look at the past two years, and in particular what has changed for me.

I have to be honest – I love Legacy, what I do at Legacy, and my Legacy family. Legacy has been an amazing rollercoaster ride. We may have missed a few of the goals we set but we smashed others. But what has become of my personal goals?

Over the past 12 months I have found it hard to disconnect from Legacy. Disconnecting to me is switching my state of mind from being at work to any other state. In fact during the last six months this has got worse and I’ve found it even harder to disconnect.

So what has changed? If I am being completely honest it comes down to trying to please everyone by always being available.

Not disconnecting from work has had an impact on my health – I have gained some weight, my sleeping patterns are not the best, and I have not been out on my bike for a couple of months, nor have I been for a run. I often joke sleep is for the weak. This is my humour getting in the way of sorting the issue out.

I drove over to Tauranga to meet Jason Whitelaw for the first time when he wanted to join Legacy as a client. I remember saying to him “let’s meet at a particular café in Tauranga, they have awesome caramel slice!” I got there and realised he was a personal trainer as well as a personal development coach. Maybe caramel slice wasn’t the best thing to start our relationship off on!

I keep in contact with Jase as we have since built a friendship. The other day I had a talk with him about setting goals. Goals are something I set for clients, their businesses and also Legacy… but what about my own personal goals?

After talking with him we came up with the question I needed to answer, which was ‘what do I find acceptable for a work life balance?’

For some of us the idea of setting ‘goals’ has been so overused that we have become numb to the word ‘goal’ and blinded to the benefits of doing this incredibly valuable task on a regular basis.

Jase says look at it this way – imagine a builder ready to build a house with no blue prints. If he or she just started bashing nails into bits of wood, what do you think the house would end up looking like?

Think of an airplane pilot. What would happen if they fired up the jets all ready to go but didn’t have a map? Where would they end up?

In the above two examples it would be easy to say, “what kind of stupid builder would start without a plan”, or “what kind of irresponsible pilot wouldn’t have the map sorted before they set off! That’s absurd!”

What’s concerning about these two examples is that out of the thousands of teachers, managers, sportsmen, mums, dads, students, etc we have worked with over the past 10 years is I have met very few who sit down on a regular basis and actually ask themselves the question “what do I want?” and then commit to writing it down and looking at it on a regular basis!

Guess what… if we don’t plan our lives, our lives will still happen. Time stops for nobody. The risk in not knowing clearly where we want to go, what we want to achieve or who we want to become, is that we end up living our lives by accident, i.e. we end up doing what others think is best for us, going with the flow or wherever the tides will take us. What a crap way to live!

So where do you currently sit? Do you know exactly what you want to achieve in the next week, month or year? Have you written these targets down? Or are you to busy with day to day living… by accident?

If you have set some goals, how are you tracking, how committed are you? Have you thought about all the different areas of your life? For instance, family, health, work, community, relationships, etc.

Some people have good intentions and think about goals… often around the New Year! They will then review their goals for the first time the following year and end up saying something like “well that didn’t go to plan, whoops”. The good news is, there are more effective ways of setting and achieving goals than this. Here is something we have found very useful in our lives and many of our clients’ lives when it comes to setting clear and compelling goals. You may be familiar with it.

S.M.A.R.T Goal Setting Strategy

Specific – try to avoid setting vague goals like “I want to work less” or “I want to be a better husband or wife”. Goals like these are so hard to measure. If we don’t know exactly what we want to achieve, how will we know when we have got there? Have a vivid picture in your mind of how it will feel, what it will look like, etc when you have reached your goal. Vague goals get vague results. This leads nicely into M…

Measurable – as the saying goes ‘Manage what you measure’. Unless you have specific measures in place it can be hard to check progress. Have some small targets to tick off which lead to the end result. For the above examples you may want to clearly define some hours you work, e.g. finish at 4pm every Friday. Or maybe it’s at least one ‘date night’ a week with your partner. This is so simple yet such a valuable part of the goal-setting process.

Attainable – answer the question why? Rather than have a goal for goal’s sake. Explore why you want to achieve it. Get incredibly clear on this. How will it feel once you have ran that half marathon / started that dance class / got the promotion? When we attach emotion to goals it provides more motivation and desire to carry on. These two things are crucial when it comes to the hard work, discipline and courage we sometimes require to achieve the goals worth chasing. When the going gets tough, remind yourself why you wanted to do it in the first place.

Realistic – I am not suggesting you set the bar really low so you know you can achieve it. Being realistic is a fine balance of setting the challenge and understanding what resources will be required to achieve it. There is nothing worse than setting unattainable goals… not getting them (because it was never going to happen anyway) and then getting put off the whole idea. Find the balance. Create a plan.

Timebound – don’t be one of those people I call a ‘gonna’ we have all met a  ‘gonna’ they say things like” I’m gonna quit smoking”, “I’m gonna lose some weight”, “I’m gonna set some goals”. The keyword here is GONNA!! These folk are always gonna (going to) do something. Set a time/date and then be accountable! Do what you need to do to make it happen!!

Finally, once you have the goals in place you may want to share them with your family or friends; this can promote peer accountability. Also, create a plan. You can be flexible with the plan, if something isn’t working change it!  “Write your goals in concrete and your plans in the sand.”

So I will share my goals with you –

1) Build a schedule for work and play

  • Usual work hours Monday to Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm
  • Maximum work hours Monday to Friday 7:30am to 5:30pm
  • Saturdays can be 8:00am to 12:00pm
  • Plan day in advance at the end of the day prior
  • Plan outline of week
  • Keep to-do list up to date (that is my workflow tool)
  • Have clients visit me in my office instead of going elsewhere (except once per fortnight)
  • Travel to Tauranga no more than once a fortnight, leave 7:00am back at 6:00pm
  • Exercise for 30 minutes every day – even it is a simple walk

2) Diet

  • Cut down on sugars and carbs
  • Don’t drink caffeine after 1pm
  • Try and lose .5kg a week until 95kg
  • Vic to make dinners during the week and control portion sizes
  • Cut out sneaky after-dinner treats

3) Disconnect

  • Leave work at work
  • No work comes home with me
  • Get a personal cell phone – leave work phone at work
  • Spend less time online
  • Date night each week – each of us plan one a fortnight

Leaving my work phone at work has made a HUGE difference – no work calls, no work-related texts, and no work emails.

So who will keep me focused and honest about my goals? Well, sorry Jase, you have to keep me honest!

Now, get on with it, go and exercise that unique skill we all have within us which is to become a goal setting / goal getting machine!

This post is by Jason Lougher from Legacy and Jason Whitelaw from Impact Training NZ Limited. Jason Whitelaw has dedicated the last 10 years of his working life to helping people reach their potential and improve the quality of their lives.

Jason is a qualified personal trainer, motivational speaker and life coach. He not only works with people one-on-one, he also facilitates team growth / development sessions with companies and teams by delivering highly engaging, fun and powerful team-building workshops. Jason uses a mixture of discussion and experiential exercises to explore effective strategies to reach desired outcomes. Some of these include but are not limited to:

•           Strengthening relationships and trust

•           Increasing awareness of self and others

•           Improving communication

•           Increasing personal leadership / responsibility

•           Enhancing team commitment and accountability

If you are interested in exploring options with Jason with regards to personal coaching or team building, you can contact him on 027 367 3420 or jason@impacttrain.co.nz