It’s now June and I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling like the year has gone by super fast. In January, the year seemed to stretch ahead of us and it seemed like we had so much time, right?
Well, if you’ve ever heard the saying ‘glass half empty’, the same applies to time. We can either see the year as halfway gone, or we have half a year left. As a natural optimist (and someone that knows what is possible to achieve in just six months), I prefer the latter.
In fact, mid-year is the perfect time to assess how your goals are going and whether you’re closer to where you want to be. With the new year buzz worn off and the hard yards of work and our personal life setting in, the mid-year is a great time to review our goals, look back on our progress and make a game plan for the months ahead.
Review your goals
What’s the point in having goals? Presumably, we use them to help build our best, most happy and fulfilled selves. Yet, when we create our plans and goals for the year, it can be all too easy to lose sight of our reasoning why the goal was important in the first place. It’s worth using the mid-year milestone to take a step back and remind ourselves why our goals matter in the big picture. You may even want to expand that big picture in your re-assessment!
For example, let’s say your goal for the year is to eat healthier. Instead of cutting straight to strategies on how to achieve healthy eating, first brainstorm all the reasons why you want to eat healthier. This could be because it’ll make you feel better about yourself, you’ll have more energy, it’s setting a good example for your kids, etc. By focusing back on that reasoning and getting to the core of it, we can give ourselves that extra push and motivation.
In reviewing our goals and the reasons behind them, we can also evaluate whether they are really working for us or whether they need to be re-calibrated. Do your goals really align with your values and priorities in life?
As Forbes contributor Tami Forman argues, we too often let external sources – such as the media or family and friends – determine our goals, rather evaluating for ourselves what we truly want. If this is you, it might be time to reassess and find a game plan that truly inspires you.
"Happiness is a habit - cultivate it."
- Elbert Hubbard
Assess where you’re at
If you’re like most people, you probably set some new year’s resolutions at the beginning of the year. They lasted a little while, but then life set in. Motivation lagged and things started to slip. This is totally normal, but it’s worth taking the time in June to revisit your progress. Ask yourself:
What’s working and what isn’t?
The key to having a good plan is looking back and evaluating what strategies worked for you, as well as where things went off track. In reflecting on your progress, make sure you take note of any accomplishments, as well as any areas of improvement. Remember, often the ultimate achievement of your goal is made up of many small steps.
Are there any bad habits getting in the way?
Bad habits (or limiting beliefs) are often a root cause of us not achieving what we want. If we can identify these roadblocks early on and strategise around them, we have a better chance of overcoming them. But you have to be honest in recognising them first before creating new habits, or new beliefs. No-one's testing you, so be honest with yourself.
What support do I need going forward?
No man is an island and part of assessing where you’re at is considering if you need extra support. Are there any extra resources that you can draw upon to help get you to where you want to be? If so, make use of them!
Will you achieve your goals on time or can they be adjusted?
Life is unpredictable and it’s natural that things will sometimes get in the way of us achieving what we want. That's why goal getting can often be referred to as a journey - it's your journey, and that's totally OK. It’s also better to adjust the time frames for our goals than to abandon them completely. Step by step for that core reason, remember.
"Organise your life around your dreams and watch them come true."
5 step game plan
So, you know what you want for the rest of 2018 and can see what worked (or didn’t) in the first half of the year. The next step is to create a game plan to make it happen. Here are some tips:
- Break each goal into a series of actionable steps, milestones or ‘mini goals’. One way to think about your goal is to visualise it as an umbrella, with spokes as your strategies or action points. Ultimately, it’s the work of many spokes that lifts the umbrella up.
- Make your goals S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Limited). This acronym was originally devised in 1981 by George Doran and has been used in management and business circles ever since. (I often like to add BIG, to keep it a little scary and exciting!)
- Use affirmations to help you to visualise success and keep your motivation up. Visualise yourself achieving that goal every day and living your dream. Add the emotions achieving that feels like and anchor them with a silent smile, self-hug or click of the fingers.
- Include in your game plan ways to keep track of your progress and make adjustments along the way. Ticks on a whiteboard, a tracking app, or reminders or alarms set on your phone that alert you to your progress point or affirm your goal achievement. After all, even goal setting is a work in progress!
- Celebrate success! Achieving your goals should be an inspiring and motivating experience so don’t forget to look back from time to time and feel proud of how far you’ve come. Small rewards at meeting milestone points can also keep momentum up as you reach the final realisation of your goal. And enjoy planning all the ways in which you'll celebrate when you get there. It will help you acknowledge your arrival and avoid the fuzzy finish line that can be detrimental to your emotional and physical health.
Enjoy the journey. Give good game. And see you at the top (wherever that is)!
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