Photo source: Steve Corey
Time for a review – half way through!
By JASON LEE
Officially, half a year has passed. Are you rejuvenated from a short break and back on track in fulfilling your new year’s resolutions, or have you fallen into a sluggish mood?
Now is a great time for a personal mid-year review to decide if you need to pick yourself up from a slow season or keep up the momentum in achieving what you have set yourself to do.
A good start would be to think about what you would like to maintain, improve or change in the seven areas in life, remembering to identify, evaluate and set an action plan.
I invite you to read on and apply these few simple ideas; as I share my own journey in doing my mid-year review.
Are you satisfied with your career? Do you understand your job description and objectives?
A survey by JobStreet.com found that 78% of 1,142 respondents in Malaysia were unhappy in their current jobs due to their work being predictable, boring or sometimes having too much work.
Personal review: Maintain – I recently decided to take on additional responsibilities at work and the challenge has helped me remain satisfied. I would like to maintain the scope and workload as all work and no play may make Jason a dull boy!
Action: Take a look at your job and speak to someone if you find yourself dragging your feet to work. Some employers would rather do something about an unhappy employee than see him/her suffer in silence.
If you are working, are you earning, saving and investing? What is your budget like? Do you even have a budget?
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has a few great tips and here are some key points:
- Earning. Never depend on a single income. Make investments to create a second source of income
- Saving. Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving
- Spending. If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need
- Investing. Do not put all eggs in one basket. Invest within your circle of competence
Personal review: Change – drawing a stable salary, I used to put all my money into savings.
I have decided to actively invest my money in mutual funds, the stock market and, maybe one day, real estate.
I have set aside some money in an investment-linked insurance plan and have developed my own financial allocation – expenses (40%), investments (20%), savings (20%), continuing professional development (10%) and giving back (10%).
Action: Be disciplined in the way you manage your money, have a personal financial allocation ratio and stick to it. If you need to, engage a financial planner.
One of the top five regrets of a dying person is not having the courage to express one’s feelings and staying in touch with family and friends.
Are you spending a “healthy” amount of time with your loved ones? Are you being supportive, forgiving and respectful in your relationships?
Personal review: Maintain – being an ambitious young professional, it is easy to lose touch with people.
Thankfully, I have been intentional in being part of the weekly family dinners and have recently suggested an interstate trip during the Hari Raya holidays. My brother is working in Penang and it would be great to catch up.
I am also in a long distance relationship and have committed to allocating time to communicate via FaceTime and WhatsApp.
Action: Take some time to think of family members and friends who matter to you and make the effort to catch up with them.
Have you been learning something new recently? Are you having a curious and imaginative mind?
HAPPYneuron is a personalised brain fitness programme designed to improve cognitive ability. It states that our minds are made up of five major cognitive functions:
- Visual-spatial skills
- Executive function
The brain is like a muscle too and as the saying goes, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.”
Personal review: Improve – I used to read a lot, enjoy learning a new skill or attending a seminar.
Of late, most of my time has been spent in the office due to additional responsibilities. I have now decided to read something new more consistently and use an iPhone app that “trains the brain”.
Action: Put yourself in mentally challenging activities. The Japanese have a saying, Kaizen, which means “improvement” or “self-changing for the best of all”. Apply it to your everyday life.
Have you been building up your self-confidence, listening habits and maybe just being humourous?
Interestingly, in a survey by Men’s Health of 1,000 women, 77% ranked the No. 1 must-have in a man is humour – surpassing intelligence, passion and generosity. Humour is a sign of being confident and smart.
Personal review: Maintain – Just as there are people who enjoy playing musical instruments or learning a new language, I enjoy meeting people and making connections.
I hope to continue this and achieve my goal of having lunch with a different person every other week.
Action: Have you thought of improving your social skills? In a Harvard Business Review survey of 60,000 employees, social skills were described as a great multiplier, as leaders with strong social skills can leverage the abilities of individual team members more efficiently and effectively.
Are you just managing or in control of your weight? Have you signed up for an exercise programme or did a medical check-up recently?
Have you been eating nutritiously? Malaysians love char kuey teow, nasi lemak and roti canai but loving it too much may be unhealthy for you!
Personal review: Improve – After a sluggish start, I decided to enrol in boot camp, a military inspired outdoor fitness programme. Every alternate day (excluding weekends), I wake up at 5.30am to participate in an hour-long exercise.
This has helped me to keep in shape, or at least not be out of shape! It has been three months since and I may have missed a few sessions. However, my goal is to consistently go for the boot camp. I also want to commit to eating healthily.
Action: This is probably the most committed resolution but the least fulfilled one every year. The best way is to take part in an exercise programme.
I also heard that your six-pack abs are created in the kitchen not the gym.
What are your views in finding a sense of purpose in your life? Are you committed to prayers or engaged with a community of like-minded believers?
If you are not religious, spirituality could mean having a life from success to significance. There is no point having what was used to be the popular five Cs (cash, car, credit card, condominium and country club) to the five Bs (BMW, body, brain, billionaire and bungalow) when deep down we feel so empty.
Personal review: Change – Although I am involved in a young adults’ spiritual group, it has been difficult for me to commit to spend some time in prayer consistently. I have decided to change that and have a routine in my relationship with God.
Action: Get involved in a form of devotion to something you feel as significant in life. Volunteer more, practise mindfulness and develop a relationship with your God and like-minded people.
I hope that you would be encouraged to examine your life and look into areas which you would like to improve, maintain or change.
Whatever it is, do not forget to reflect, count your blessings and move forward with confidence.