For lots of companies, the end of financial year is also the time for mid-year reviews. Perhaps you’ve just completed one for your role or your team. But have you conducted one on your own life?
We’re now halfway through the year, and it’s a great time to look back to what you wanted to achieve during 2016, and forward to how you can head towards the best possible December 31st!
Why do your own mid-year review?
There’s something called the action-reflection cycle, that looks at how we make progress over time by reflecting back and using what we learn to hone the pathway forward. It sometimes goes by slightly different names; sometimes it has 3 stages, sometimes 4; but basically, the idea is this –
You have an experience. In this case, the year to date.
You reflect on that experience. We’ll look more into how to do that in the next section.
Then, you use the learning you’ve arrived at from your reflection to plan the way forward – the remainder of your year.
This lets us use everything we’ve learned from the year so far about what’s working and what isn’t, in order to set ourselves up for the best way forward.
How to do a mid-year review
Start with your goals
The first place to start with a personal mid-year review is with any goals you wrote down for your life for this year. The very fact that you have already articulated what you are focusing on for the year means you are in a strong position to reflect on your progress. For each, ask yourself:
- Am I where I thought I would be at this point in relation to my goal?
- If I am doing as well or better than expected, what is really working for me, and why? Is there anything I can learn from a goal that is progressing well that can be applied to other parts of my life?
- If I am not as far along as I expected, then what is getting in my way? Is it something I control or not? What different approaches could I try instead of repeating something that isn’t working as well as I would like?
If you don’t have any goals written down, but you’d like to try giving it a go, there is a great basic guide from Michael Hyatt here.
Survey the bigger picture
Whether or not you started the year with written goals, it’s a good idea to take a step back and look at the landscape of your life over the last 6 months with questions like:
- How have I grown?
- Do I feel more or less connected to the important people in my life?
- Do I feel more or less physically healthy?
- Do the rhythms of my life feel more or less balanced?
- What have I learnt?
- About myself?
- About others in my life?
- About the world?
- Do I feel more or less at peace and secure in my spiritual life and soul?
- Are my thoughts more or less focused on myself as compared to others or a larger cause?
- How have I progressed towards milestones related to my vocation or calling?
Planning the way forward
Once you’ve reviewed and reflected on the year to date, both in relation to any concrete goals, as well as in regard to the bigger picture of your life, you need to act on that learning.
In areas where you’ve been slow to progress, or perhaps have become out of balance, think about what needs to be put into place in order to see a healthier picture. Is it discipline, margin, community, accountability?
In areas where you are seeing good momentum or growth, consider whether you want to simply continue as you are going, really focus in and invest more, or reinvest some of that time into a different areas of life that needs more attention. Ask yourself if there’s anything you can learn from this part of your life that is flourishing that would benefit you in other areas.
You can make your plan as formal or informal, but you may want to choose 3 key areas you want to focus on adjusting your planning around for the remainder of the year. For each of the three, articulate one clear change you are going to make, and when or how often you’re going to do so. Consider also adding some kind of tracking or accountability to the mix.
Once you’ve decided the three key changes you’re going to make, write them down, and stick them somewhere you’ll see them often.
Finally, remember that it’s important that the goals are meaningful to you personally, and the kind of life that honours what matters most to you – not just the goals you think you should be working towards! That’s living a deliberate life!