What would be the ic­ing on your cake in 2017? You'll have a bet­ter chance of achiev­ing more mean­ing­ful goals if you un­der­stand what your 'why' is first, says Fiona Blayney.

Elite Property Manager - - Contents - Fiona Blayney FIONA BLAYNEY is the Founder and Di­rec­tor of Real+, an in­dus­try-first prop­erty man­age­ment learn­ing plat­form. For more in­for­ma­tion visit re­

Fiona Blayney

They al­ways look so good in the pic­tures, don't they? Painstak­ingly put to­gether over count­less hours, no doubt by ex­treme pro­fes­sion­als, and of course beau­ti­fully pho­tographed. You buy the ex­act in­gre­di­ents, fol­low the in­struc­tions to the tee, but alas the home­made birth­day cake never looks quite the same as the pic­ture.

We've be­come quite ob­sessed with birth­day cakes in our fam­ily. Not the store-bought va­ri­ety, but old­school cakes. You know the ones: the train, the swim­ming pool, the doll. My kids are not un­like 7-year-old you; our Women's Weekly Birth­day Book is well thumbed, cov­ered in flour and stuck to­gether with sticky tape where a tug-of-war has en­sued in the search for the next cre­ation. With my bak­ing skills at such a level that I was glad to be able to say, “The kids and I made this”, it was clear I needed some im­prove­ment in the cake dec­o­rat­ing de­part­ment, and so it be­came time to add to the goals for the year ‘make great ic­ing'.

As most of us are only too aware, goals make up much of our life. In fact, most hours, days, weeks and months are filled with goals. On any given day at my place it's a goal to sim­ply make it out the front door on time! At this time of year we find our­selves dis­cussing goals on a larger scale: the goals for the year ahead.

If you're like me, you'll be set­ting goals in all ar­eas of your life. The dif­fer­ence, per­haps, is in our ap­proach. I con­tinue to be surprised by the process that many peo­ple go through when set­ting goals, es­pe­cially when achieve­ment, or lack of it, has such an im­pact on our lives. At times I've been known to write a list of goals for the year that would be dif­fi­cult to achieve in a decade, let alone 12 months. The goals are wide and var­ied and im­pos­si­ble to bring to re­al­ity si­mul­ta­ne­ously within bud­get, time and en­ergy con­straints. I have be­come more and more aware over the years of es­tab­lish­ing a clear set of goals for the year ahead based upon one prin­ci­ple: the goals I ac­tu­ally want to achieve. Maybe if we all did the same we'd be hap­pier and more ful­filled.

You're prob­a­bly think­ing, ‘Of course the goals I set are the ones I want, oth­er­wise why would I set them?' Hu­mour me as I let you in on a pretty sim­ple check­ing process. I ask my­self a se­ries of ques­tions: why do I want to achieve the goal? What will it mean to me if I reach it? What will it mean to me if I don't achieve it? And I round it off by check­ing in with my emo­tional self and as­sess­ing how I will feel ei­ther way. As my list is dis­sected it be­comes ap­par­ent re­ally quickly which ones are most im­por­tant. You could call it a ‘goals play-off' of sorts.

More than half the peo­ple I coach start off hav­ing some­one else's goal; a list of de­sired achieve­ments based on what they think they should want to do, rather than what they re­ally want. The like­li­hood of achieve­ment is low, frus­tra­tion high, hap­pi­ness neu­tral. At this time of year when you sit down to write your goals for the year ahead, make sure you go through my check­ing process. You may be surprised what you'll add and re­move from your list for cel­e­brat­ing in De­cem­ber 2017.

Ic­ing for me: well, it's so much more than sugar, but­ter and milk; it's a com­plex equa­tion of set­ting an ex­am­ple for my chil­dren, un­pack­ing my def­i­ni­tion of moth­er­hood and un­leash­ing my cre­ative brain. The mas­ter­piece of a birth­day cake took eight hours to con­struct and ice, was done un­der ex­treme pro­fes­sional su­per­vi­sion (#mez­za­pica – cake dec­o­rat­ing class), looked ex­actly like the pic­ture (al­beit our fam­ily name, Ben­nett, adorn­ing the front) and


lit­er­ally brought me to tears. Ev­ery time we walk past the Mez­za­pica cake emporium, my kids say “Mum, there's the cake you made!”

Whilst I am yet to make a cake to the same stan­dard again, I know that with an in­dus­trial kitchen, the in­gre­di­ents to hand, eight hours and 100 per cent fo­cus, I can make great ic­ing. In fact, with the right why, I can do any­thing. ■

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