How to use a mid-year review to reach your goals
How am I doing on the goals I set for myself in January at the halfway point of 2018? When I look back on my year so far, does my glass feel half empty or half full? Am I doing all I can to have my best year ever?
In order to experience more moments of feeling how I want, I need to be intentional to make sure they happen. Therefore, one of the ways I do this is with a mid-year review at the time of my summer seasonal check-in. If you aren’t able to conduct quarterly reviews, don’t beat yourself up. I especially recommend you check in with yourself at the halfway point of the year.
Let me walk you through how I conduct my personal mid-year review. With my core desired feelings as my guide, I review and reflect on the past six months before making plans for the next. Next, I recommit to my goals and sometimes take on a fresh, new intention.
Liberate yourself from goals that don’t help you feel the way you want to feel.
Sometimes going after a goal — and even reaching the goal — left me feeling stressed. Yet I thought achieving a goal was supposed to make me happy! So how could this happen?
The answer: I had left feelings, or the “why,” out of the goal setting equation. I had this “aha” moment while reading the Desire Map. But what does that mean?
According to the author, Danielle LaPorte:
“You’re not chasing the goal; you’re chasing the feeling you hope reaching the goal will give you.”
The result? After my “aha,” I decided to reverse how I set my goals by focusing on feelings first.
Now, if a goal isn’t working for me, I permit myself to let it go.
Create space and time for your goals.
Now I treat my mid-year review as self-care and as a non-negotiable event on my calendar. For me, I need 2–4 distraction-free hours. I schedule the review right around the change of seasons a week or so in advance.
You may choose to turn the process into a full day or weekend-long retreat away. If this suits you, you may need to schedule this precious time months or even a year in advance. You can add in meditation, prayer, visualizations, or yoga to get into the right mental space. You might also choose to spend a large chunk of time getting a head start on high priority projects.
Focus on your goals at a distraction-free location.
I create a distraction-free environment that enables me to focus, reflect, and plan. To listen deeply to my intuition and heart, I have to be present. I get comfortable outside on the front porch with my feet up with a tall glass of iced tea in my hand. My required supplies are ready: laptop, Desire Map monthly planner, and my favorite pen. I leave my cell phone inside the house so it won’t distract me.
Someday, I will retreat to a hotel or a resort with a view for my mid-year review. But that doesn’t work for my current season of life as a parent of a school-aged child. A change of setting — not travel — is required. A different room in my house, coffee shop, park, or the local library will also do.
Review and reflect on your goals.
To move forward with action, I look back first. Below is my process for you to adapt to your needs. I know that’s a lot to take in, but feeling good is worth it.
First, review my core desired feelings: Do these feel right or do they need some tweaking?
Next, review the goals or intentions I landed on in January for the year. Look at my notes about why I set these goals and what core desired feelings they will help me to feel. Are my goals and intentions still aligned with my core desired feelings? If not, the goal might be externally rather than internally motivated.
How did I want to move closer to my intentions so far in the first six months of the year? What happened? Is there anything I can learn from this? If I am trying to establish a new habit, has it taken hold? Have I made a two for one deal by creating a habit goal to help me reach an achievement goal?
Have I met any of my goals? Or have I made significant progress? If yes, did I celebrate the way I planned? If not, I schedule a celebration.
Next, review my monthly check-in documents from the last six months.
Review my current projects. Use Todd Henry’s project review system of Prune, Automate, Delegate, Defer or Schedule.
Review my calendar for the next six months. First, does my schedule make me feel the way I want to feel? Am I looking forward to at least two things? A vacation? A project? Visits with family, friends or loved ones? Do I have any schedule conflicts? Are there any key events that need preparation? Does my calendar reflect my priorities?
Finally, I review seasonal focus lists and my stop doing list.
But what if I am not where I wanted to be at this point?
What if I have gotten off track or am not feeling the way I want to feel? I try not to despair at this point. Instead of a roadblock, this is a road sign that I need to change my course. In addition, I need to model the growth mindset that I want my son to have.
If I am struggling, I try to shove my perfectionistic inner voice aside. Instead, I try to imagine what a friend or a mentor would ask me. Are you striving or proving? Is this a should goal instead of a goal you wish to fulfill? Does the goal not help you to feel how you want to feel? Perhaps that’s why you’re struggling? So have you learned anything? Should you recommit?
What tweaks can I make to put my goals in the sweet spot of my core desired feelings? Do I need to adjust or maintain any behavior, habit or ritual?
Are there any goals that I need to remove or replace? Yes, I have permission to do this because it is my life and may be necessary to feel the way I want to feel.
Intention: Meet Action.
Now I make plans to move forward with action after I review and reflect. At this point, I create a new document in Evernote. First, I list my core desired feelings at the top along with any affirmations. Next, I list my 2018 intentions for the year. Most importantly, I write down how will I move closer to my 2018 goals for the next six months.
In addition to my yearly intentions, I tend to have a few areas of focus each season. For example, this summer I will:
- Celebrate 20 years of love, laughter, and adventure on an anniversary getaway with my husband.
- Play on a tennis team to feel deep connection and take care of my health.
Also, what makes me happy this season? Remember: your primary intention is to feel good. So I list seasonal pleasures to remind myself to enjoy them. Examples from my summer list include:
- eating Oregon berries
- visiting farmer’s markets
- neighborhood walks in the evening
- day trips to the Oregon coast
- reading outside
What’s important to me right now?
What are the next steps for my intentions and areas of focus for the season? I keep project tasks in an app called Nozbe with back up documentation in Evernote and Google Docs.
Don’t repeat the mid-year review process from scratch every year.
As I repeat this ritual only four times a year, I worried that I would forget all the steps and questions to ask myself. To prevent this, I created a project template in Nozbe so that I can dive right in each season.