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The Benefits Of A Personal Mid-Year Review

The Benefits Of A Personal Mid-Year Review

Personal mid year review

How has your year been going?
Do you feel like you’re on track for all the ambitions you laid out in January?
Chances are you’ve had a few important distractions pop up, both in your professional and personal lives, and chances are you’re feeling flat and run-down.

This is the perfect time for a mid-year review, one that you do by yourself over a beverage.
Instead of telling yourself that you’ll double your commitment next year, it’s easier to re-evaluate how things are going now.
Time works in your favour – a lot of the less important targets have slipped your mind, allowing you to instead prioritise the most beneficial projects.

I find it useful to think in three categories, in this order:

1. Things that have gone well.
Writing up the year’s highlights is really refreshing, our minds tend to forget all of the small, progressive wins, but once you get started they’ll come flooding back.
It might be your work projects, personal projects, time spent with friends, time spent with family, the photos you’ve taken, the books you’ve read, etc.

Don’t rush this stage.
By identifying the various sources of joy in your life, it becomes easier to plan how you’ll keep them up for the rest of the year.

2. Things that haven’t gone well.
After all the wins, these don’t sting quite as much, and it can even feel like a relief to name the areas of your life that still require some attention.
It might be the things you’ve put on hold, relationships that have deteriorated, struggles in your work, opportunities that passed you by, or whatever else is on your mind.

I personally find this helpful because it lets me mentally separate the mistakes that were my fault from the “shit happens” parts of life, and also identifies some starting points for the third category…

3. Things to do next.
This should be a list that excites you.
It can be made up of more activities that will spark joy, fixing the things you’ve neglected, and identifying some new opportunities that weren’t on your radar at the start of the year.

Here’s the kicker:
That third list has to influence either your calendar or your wallet.
If you’re genuine about improving the rest of the year, those optimistic thoughts have to translate into action.
This is a great time to start scheduling meetings, setting reminders in your phone, ordering things online, and generally making the most of your newfound energy.

This is the difference between motivation and discipline.
Anyone can do things when motivated, whereas discipline is doing things when you don’t feel like it.
I’ve heard something similar about the definition of professionalism being “doing the work even when you don’t want to”.

Earlier this year you set goals and rode the wave of motivation for a few weeks.
Knowing what you know now, which goals could benefit from some fresh motivation?
Which require some discipline?
What steps can you take today that will increase the chances of forming good habits?

Writing personal reflection lists

In the spirit of transparency and “going first”, here are some from mine:

Things that have gone well
I am fortunate to have a few groups of close friends, and a fantastic extended family.
This year I have continuously prioritised seeing them all on a regular basis, and that small default decision is responsible for a lot of my favourite meals and conversations.

I’ve been involved in a series of incubators, accelerators, hackathons and workshops, and they’ve all been brilliant.
The days are always exhausting, but something about working alongside great people leaves you feeling recharged and recommitted.

These events have also forced me to improve a lot of my content – both my slides, resources, case studies and templates.
Each step has seemed small, but there’s a cumulative improvement.
This goes for the new content areas as well as updated the old favourites.

I’m on track for my book targets (reading) and article targets (writing).
Both are carried over from previous years when those habits were formed, but it’s important to not let things slip.

Things that haven’t gone well
This year I said “yes” to a series of roles, each with a collection of pros and cons.
I haven’t balanced them well enough, which has led to some tough weeks and a lot of distractions.
It’s my third year of being a contractor and haven’t yet mastered the setup, although I certainly have enjoyed being involved in a range of projects.

I haven’t arranged a lot of the “stuff” I wanted to get this year (desk, business cards, logo, etc), although that’s probably not a real problem.
I think what I’m actually concerned about is that these were things I swore I’d arrange last year, despite the fact that they’re clearly not necessities.

I have not done well with some of the newer aspects of my work, such as event coordination and forward planning.
Each time I’ve avoided disaster, but there are some clear examples of early planning saving a lot a of headaches.
I also need to flag issues earlier.

And here’s the really hard one to admit:
In my discomfort I’ve probably withdrawn from my colleagues.
I think I’d been using the whole “I have multiple jobs” as a shield from office politics, which doesn’t actually give you peace of mind in the long run.
It’s something to proactively address in the next few months.

Things to do next
There are still a lot of sessions that I want to redesign, and I want to have them tested and validated before I incorporate them into different programs.
That means creating a series of plans, trying them out in small groups, gathering feedback, making adjustments and then creating runsheets.

I have two difficult projects that I need to finish well, and not let my concerns prevent me from doing a good job.
Complacency might clear my schedule for a day, but also makes me anxious – the problem is still in the back of my mind.

I want to be more proactive in seeking out new people with interesting ideas.
That probably means shifting from “defence” to “offense”, both in mindset and calendar.

There are some changes to my website that need to occur, they’ll take about 4 hours each to implement and I just have to bite the bullet.

I’m also excited to be going back to Queenstown for a break, it is one of the best places in the world.

The point of all this is not to brag or to complain, but to highlight that a lot of us have an uneasy situation at this time of year:
You might have had your best six months ever, and yet feel deflated.
This process isn’t magical, but it’s a good chance to reassess the year so far, name the issues that have been on your mind, and turn hopes into actions.

To get started, grab a notepad or the notes app on your phone, and write three headings:
Things that have gone well

Things that haven’t gone well

Things to do next

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