Monthly Archives: August 2011

Personal mid-year review

At the beginning of the year I wrote a post about New Year’s resolutions and how this year I was going to take a more structured approach with them. I also explained who and how influenced me to do that.

About 3 weeks ago I started what would be my personal mid-year review and then I shared in Twitter the thought of sharing my approach with you. This is what I want to do in this post.

During some days in January, I brainstormed about what could be my objectives and the approach to be followed. In the end I selected 10 main objectives (“Become a frequent runner again”, “Read over 15 books / become eReader”, “Toastmasters: become ACB & Pres Dis AG”…). Then each of those objectives were split then in about 8-12 milestones to be achieved, each milestone driving me towards meeting the bigger goal.

For example, regarding the running, the first milestones were moderately easy ones as seen today (“Run 3 days before mid January”, “Measure several tracks where to run in TLS”, “Run 8-10 days in January”…) but they meant a great deal of breaking habits or creating new habits.

Once I had the complete list of goals and smaller milestones, I gave a weight to each of them (delivering the 7th speech towards ACB in Toastmasters was worth 12% of the “Toastmasters” goal) and a due date. If I missed the due date but met the milestone afterwards I deducted some amount out of the initial value (that means, I’ll never reach 100% at the end of the year, but if I’m close enough I’ll be more than glad!).

Spreadsheet with goals, milestones, weights, due dates...

Then I set up a kind of earned value management system to track my performance in respect to those goals. This enabled me to see how I was advancing and how I was supposed to be advancing (sure, I said a kind of as there is nothing related to the cost I incurred in achieving those goals, while the value would be assimilated to the weight).

Finally, I not only had this in written but I shared my goals with Luca. This helps in making myself more accountable with those objectives. Sure, you won’t necessarily want that everybody knows your personal objectives, neither do I. But just showing them to someone may help. To me it worked!

Every now and then I get a question from her like “When did you say you would sign up for the French course?”, “Have you already contracted the cleaning services company?”. Those reminders, together with the due dates help me a great deal in catching up with all those milestones that I keep postponing.

Of course, with some objectives I am way more advanced than with others. But let me tell you that the overall result is making me quite happy with the approach, even tough by the end of June I was way behind the schedule!

Goals achievement vs. plan (end June).

Another outcome of the mid-year review has been that I started brainstorming again with myself in order to add new milestones to previous goals (e.g. more running milestones, new trips, more speeches) and adding entirely new goals.

My humble advice: try something similar that fits you, force yourself a little bit, fight the resistance and reap the benefits down the road. See you at the year-end review!


Filed under Personal development & HR

One marathon, one cause

It is 10 years since I ran my last marathon. I have been running again quite often since the beginning of 2011, and a few of you know that in October 2011 I’ll be running the next Toulouse marathon if health permits.

Some months ago, following a recommendation of my brother Jaime, I watched a movie in Youtube called “The Spirit of the Marathon” based on the experiences of some beginners during their training towards running the Chicago marathon in 2007. I strongly recommend the movie to anyone willing take on such challenge.

In the movie, I especially liked the character of Lori, who apart of conveying a positive attitude all time and sharing a beautiful story behind, is running the marathon supporting a cause.

In February, when I decided to take part in the marathon in Toulouse, I thought it would be nice to do as Lori did and try to raise some funds for a cause, for a charity. However, I didn’t know which one to choose nor how exactly to set it up. In the meantime months have passed by, I have not started raising any cash, but luckily my Airbus Running club has sorted out which charity I could run for.

This year, all Airbus runners taking part in the Toulouse marathon are encouraged by the club to raise funds to help the association “Vaincre la mucoviscidose” which helps families of children suffering the illness and creates awareness about it. I think this is surely a worthy cause to run 42.195km for and raise some funds during the training period.

How can you contribute to such cause?

Easy, I have set up an ING savings account for that purpose. All contributions received in that account will be transferred to the associations bank account by 21st October.

Bank account: 1465 0100 91 2021356780 (ING Direct)
IBAN:  ES68 1465 0100 91 2021356780
Beneficiary: Javier Irastorza

Since in France, contributions to charities are deducted from taxes up to a 66% and I do not want to get any tax benefit out of possible contributions from friends, I will double any contribution that you make so as to offset possible benefits and thus contribute myself to the cause as well, i.e.: if you give 5€ for the charity, I will put another 10€, making a total of 15€ for the charity, out of which 10€ would be tax-deductible, equal to the disbursement I had made.

What’s in it for you?

Apart from contributing to a worthy cause, I will explicitly dedicate my marathon in this blog to all those who have contributed to the cause (if they haven’t requested anonymity).

What it’s more, in line with crowd funding initiatives, I have been working since January on a special project that will only be unveiled after the marathon. That project will also be dedicated to the contributors to that cause who will have the chance of enjoying it before the general public.

Summing up

I’ll do:

  • 100% of the training in these months (~1,100km in 17 weeks),
  • 100% of the running in the marathon (42.195km on October 23rd),
  • 66% of the financial contribution to the cause…

All you have to do is give some euros to make up for that 33% that we will contribute to the children suffering from mucoviscidose. Let’s do it together!

Running at "Corrida Pedrestre" in Toulouse, July 1st 2011.


Filed under France, Helping others, Sports