Have you ever set goals at the beginning of the year? And then… completely forgot about them?
I certainly have…
One of the biggest reasons why we don’t achieve our goals is that we set them, and then, we forget them. We don’t create concrete plans to achieve them. And, we don’t use them to guide our daily, weekly, and monthly decisions.
When this happens, it’s no surprise that we don’t meet our goals (let alone remember what they are)!
Over the last few years, I’ve started living my life a lot more intentionally. I attribute part of that to the annual planning process I’ve gone through for the last two years. This planning process was called the Annual Clarity Retreat and it was run by Kerry Ann Rockquemore, an early retiree. (Sadly, she no longer has a blog or public website, so I can’t link to it here.)
During this annual planning process, I’ve had the opportunity to:
- Articulate a vision for my life
- Create annual goals
- Translate my goals into quarterly, weekly, and daily plans.
Once my goals become holistic (rather than only being focused on work), I was excited to organize my life around my vision and goals. Since this happened, it’s been amazing to see how much I’ve accomplished and learned!
Here are just a few of the goals I’ve smashed this year so far:
- My fellow coach, Mel, and I created a new class – Overcome Your Scarcity Mindset – and ran the class in April.
- I launched 6 different coaching groups already this year! Some were for my signature coaching program, Design a Life You Love, and others were for follow-on lifestyle design masterminds.
- I’ve consistently created space for one “shouldless” (productivity-free) day each week so far this year. I haven’t had a single week yet in 2021 without a shouldless day.
- I’ve diligently committed to doing my daily foot exercises to help with the pinched nerve. Last year, I could walk about 1 mile at a time. A few weeks ago, I went on a 2.5-mile hike with no pain! It’s progress!
- We planned and enjoyed our 10-day campervan adventure throughout Maine and New Hampshire! It took a lot of planning to choose the van, determine locations, book campsites, and create our packing list. The work was worth it!
If you want to learn more about my process for setting goals, I’d encourage you to check out this post I wrote in late 2020. And, if you didn’t set your own goals yet for 2021, you still can. Summer is a fantastic time for annual goal setting!
To be clear, I have not achieved all my goals yet this year. There are definitely things I’m struggling to stay consistent with and other things that I’ve released (i.e. intentionally decided not to do). This is completely normal. I will share more about the goals I’m struggling with toward the end of the post.
Doing a mid-year review allows you to be intentional about your year, so you can:
- Ground yourself in your goals, so you can keep them at the front of your mind.
- Determine how you want to adjust things for the rest of the year.
How to Conduct a Mid-Year Goals Review and Measure Progress Towards Your Goals
Before I share more about how I’ve worked through my own goals, I want to share a simple process that you can use to do a mid-year review of your goals.
I’m offering this goal review worksheet that I use with my clients as a free resource! I’d encourage you to download it if you want to do your own mid-year goals review.
Step 1: Review Your Goals
You’ll start by writing down your list of goals for the year. This will allow you to measure your progress towards your goals.
For each goal, you’ll note if it’s:
- In Progress
- Not Yet Started (which is totally fine if you weren’t planning to do it until the second half of the year)
- Released (this means you’ve intentionally decided that you are not going to work toward this goal right now)
For any goals that are in progress or not yet started, you’ll then note if they are:
- Ahead of schedule
- On track
Do your best to complete this process without judgment. You are simply observing. This will allow you to decide what kinds of adjustments you want to make for the second half of the year.
Don’t get down on yourself if you aren’t on track for all (or even most) of your goals. This step is simply a step in helping you to live your life even more intentionally.
Step 2: Celebrate Your Wins
When reviewing your goals, the first instinct is usually to analyze where you went wrong. Well, we aren’t going to do that. Instead, we are going to spend time reflecting on our wins!
- What have I accomplished so far this year? What was on my list of goals? What was unexpected?
- What have I learned so far this year? How have I grown?
- What am I grateful for from the first half of the year? What were the unexpected blessings that I experienced?*
*Thanks to Kerry Ann Rockquemore for this awesome question!
Don’t skimp on your list of wins! Grab a sheet of paper, set a timer for 20 minutes, and write down everything good that you can think of.
Even if the last few months are hard, I am confident that you can come up with at least a few things that:
- You are proud of
- You accomplished
- You are grateful for
Step 3: Determine How You’ll Adjust Course
I like to look at my adjustments as opportunities. When I identify a place where I’m off track, I have a wonderful opportunity to adjust what I’m doing.
To understand the adjustments you want to make, it’s important to first assess why you are off track in the first place. Is it because of…
- A technical error?
- A limiting belief?
- Circumstances outside of your control?
Once you determine the reason for getting off track, you can choose how you’ll adjust your course.
These are the three main reasons why we get off track. Let’s go through each in detail to understand the causes and the remedies.
There are a number of different technical errors that could cause us to become off track. Lucky for us, technical errors are the easiest ones to solve.
Here are a few examples of technical errors:
- The goal wasn’t specific enough
- You didn’t create a plan or action steps
- You didn’t check back in on your goals regularly enough
- You didn’t know how to do the thing or how long it would take
- You didn’t have a system of accountability
When you can identify the challenge, it’s easy to identify the solution. You can make your goal more concrete, create a plan, set up an accountability structure, or seek out additional resources.
Sometimes, the barrier we face is psychological. Whenever we step out of our comfort zone, limiting beliefs arise. Our lizard brain (i.e. our limbic system) wants to keep us safe from unknown things that could harm us.
Here are a few examples of limiting beliefs that could keep you from working toward your goals:
- “I’m not _________ (smart, capable, confident, healthy, etc.) enough to do this.”
- “I shouldn’t focus on _______. It’s selfish.”
- “If I can’t do this perfectly, it’s not worth doing.”
- “If I do ________, s/he will think I’m ________ (crazy, stupid, selfish, judgmental, etc.).”
- “I don’t deserve to be happy if other people in the world are suffering.”
If you realize that a limiting belief is holding you back from achieving your goals, your next step is to work through the limiting belief.
I’d encourage you to check out this free resource I’ve created to help you identify your limiting beliefs. For help, working through limiting beliefs, I’d encourage you to check out this post I wrote about the 6 Strategies to Conquer Your Self-Limiting Beliefs.
Circumstances Outside of your Control
Sometimes, you didn’t achieve your goal because something happened that was completely outside of your control.
You (or someone you care about) could be:
- Experiencing an illness or other health challenges
- Undergoing a life transition, such as a layoff, a job change, a move, a new addition to your family, or the death of a family member.
- Facing an unexpected opportunity, such as a new job or promotion, an unplanned trip, or a request to join a new organization.
When things like this happen, I used to try to push through and achieve my goals at all costs. Now, I recognize that something is throwing me off and give myself grace. Then, I can decide what goal is least important, so that I can release it.
Step 4: Articulate Your Goals for the rest of the year
Based on your reflection, you can decide if you want to keep your goals the same or if you’d like to change them. If there were a lot of unexpected events, you may decide you want to release certain goals.
You may also have realized that you’ve accomplished all the goals in the first half of the year. If this is the case, you may want to set some new goals.
There may also be things that simply no longer feel important to you. Or, something else has filled its place. If this is the case, feel free to adjust your goals.
If you’d like to learn more about how to set goals, I’d encourage you to check out this post I wrote about my goal-setting process.
Besides setting goals, it’s also helpful in this stage to think through accountability structures. When will you check back in on your goals? What support systems and accountability do you need to be successful?
To help you do your own mid-year goals review, I’ve created this mid-year reflection worksheet that you can use.
My 2021 Mid-Year Goal Review
To provide you with a concrete example of a goal review, I’ve measured progress towards my own goals for the year and followed this process. I hope this helps you to understand the process even better.
Step 1: Review My 2021 Goals
In this step, I’m going to review my goals. I will note the status: complete, in progress, not yet started, or released. For the items that are in progress or not yet started, I will also note if they are ahead of schedule, on track, or off track.
Goal #1: Grow my blog and coaching business
- Write a weekly blog post – in process, on track
- Complete a monthly podcast interview or guest post – in process, on track
- Do a monthly Slow FI Coffee Date – in process, off-track, released
- Launch Coaching groups 3x this year – in process, on track
- Work on public speaking (focus on addressing verbal tics) – not yet started, off-track
- Create automated marketing resources to streamline enrollment for my programs – in process, on track
- Monthly reflection on how the pace of work in the business feels – in process, on track
Goal #2: Consistently implement recovery habits that support me to thrive
- Walk my dog and meditate while walking daily – in process, on track
- Yoga or exercise 3x/week – in process, off-track
- Journal 3x/week – in process, on track
- Minimalize/declutter on a monthly basis – in process, off-track
- Read novels for fun – in process, on track
- Read Atomic Habits – Complete
- Sleep 8 hours/night – in process, on track
- No caffeinated coffee – in process, on track
- Have one “shouldless” (productivity-free) day each week – in process, on track
Goals #3: Cultivate My Wellness Community
- Continue going to therapy regularly – in process, on track
- Weekly lunch with my accountability partner (and friend) – in process, on track
- Participate in a mastermind group – in process, on track (although this is different than I thought; I originally thought I’d create my own, but instead I joined one through Online Impact)
- Monthly virtual coffee dates with other entrepreneurs – In process, kind of on but also kind of off-track (I will share more below)
Goal #4: Focus on Becoming Pain-Free (specifically focused on foot and TMJ but also holistically)
- Regular acupuncture to support TMJ pain – in process, on track
- Foot exercises daily – in process, on track
- Lose weight through mindful eating and healthier habits (specifically to reduce the load on my foot) – Released (because of GI issues and focusing right now on trying to figure out what food doesn’t make me sick + the foot exercises seem to be doing their job)
I also added 2 new goals after my hospitalization for GI issues and my scooter accident.
- Work with a GI specialist and a nutrition coach to figure out my GI issues and determine what I can/can’t eat – in process, on track
- Daily hip/back stretches and exercises to alleviate pain and build back strength – in process, on track
Goal #5: Have a ton of fun!
- Spring getaway to VT – Complete
- Summer Campervan Adventure – Complete
- Camping trips – in process, on track (i.e. they are booked)
- Play Pandemic Legacy Season 0 (the 3rd game in the series) – Complete
- Learn long exposure photography – in process, on track
- Take local adventures (i.e. hiking, fruit picking, cideries, etc.) – in process, on track
I know, I know… I have a lot of goals. You certainly don’t need this many goals. Because I organize my life around my goals and habits, I want to keep everything front of mind. You certainly don’t need as many as I have. This is especially true if you keep your work goals separate from your personal goals.
Step 2: Celebrate wins!
This is always a fun part of the process! There are so many wins to celebrate!
Here are just a few things I’ve accomplished:
- Created a new class – Overcome Your Scarcity Mindset – this year! It was so exciting to see how people were impacted by the content.
- Took our 10-Day campervan trip. It was an exciting experiment to see if we want to spend more time in a campervan in the future.
- Being diligent with my physical therapy, so I can now walk 2.5 miles at a time without pain.
- Learning long-exposure photography for daytime use, so I can capture the movement of a waterfall.
- Consistently planning one “shouldless” day each week. This was new for 2021 when I became a full-time entrepreneur. When I was still working part-time, I tended to do some work almost every day, even on weekend days.
I am grateful for so many things including:
- Getting vaccinated, so that I can spend time with people I love.
- How I’m learning to shift priorities when things come up rather than just pushing through.
- Working through so many amazing coaching clients and seeing how they are designing their lives (finding new jobs, working less, taking sabbaticals, exploring new hobbies and interests, starting businesses, becoming digital nomads, etc.)
- That Corey and I spent time working through our own 5-year plan together. This helps us be on the same page, have more clarity about our future plans, and know what we need to do now to make them a reality.
I’ve learned a lot so far this year, including:
- I’ve learned to approach wellness as self-love. I am taking care of my body so that I can have more energy and alleviate pain.
- I’ve learned to better roll with the punches. I can release and adapt goals based on things that come up.
- I’ve learned how I want to schedule my time as an entrepreneur, when I work best, and that I really do need a weekly “shouldless” day.
Step 3: Determine How I’ll Adjust Course
In this step, I will look back at the areas where I am off track. I will assess why I am off track and what adjustment I’d like to make for the rest of the year. I had 5 areas where I got off track.
- Doing Monthly Slow FI Coffee Dates: I decided that the reason why I wasn’t following through on this was external circumstances (i.e. everything that’s been going on with my health). I do want to keep doing this, but I am going to release doing them monthly. I have done 2 this year, and I hope to do 2 more.
- Working on public speaking: I originally had this slated for Q3, so it’s not technically off track yet. Yet, I decided this one had a technical error. I hadn’t come up with any specifics about the goal yet. So, I decided I’m going to simplify it and focus on 2 things for the rest of the year. 1) Listen to podcasts and recordings of myself on a monthly basis and note things I want to work on, 2) Work on one specific verbal tic, where I say, “right?” after saying something I think is important, which I think could diminish my credibility.
- Yoga/Exercise: I decided that this was an external circumstance issue. Before I started experiencing GI issues, I was doing this regularly. So, I’m going to refocus on this when I’m feeling better.
- Minimalizing/Decluttering: This was a technical error. I never created a plan for when I would do this. I simply said, “I’ll do it when I have time.” That never works. So, when I do my quarterly and monthly planning, I’ll determine when I’ll do this. If this isn’t enough, I will consider looking into online communities focused on minimalism for encouragement
- Monthly Virtual Coffee Dates with other entrepreneurs: I think this was also a technical error. I don’t think the goal was specific enough. I’ve connected with a number of different entrepreneurs and some I’ve gotten a lot out of the conversations. Others, not so much. Instead, I’m going to focus on connecting with people who have businesses in a similar place to mine. I want to seek out people who can provide real thought partnership around growing their business and improving their quality of life as they do so).
As you’ll notice, I didn’t get down on myself for any of the areas where I’m not following through. I simply noted the reason why I think I am struggling to follow through and created a plan for how I will move forward.
Step #4: Articulate Goals For the Rest of the Year
At this stage, I will rearticulate my goals for the rest of the year and note places where I plan to make shifts.
- Grow my Blog and Business: continue writing and creating content. Focus on making my 10-Day to Get Off Autopilot Challenge into an online course format, automating my business systems, and impacting the clients I’m working with.
- Recovery Habits: Maintain current habits. Determine when I will minimalize/declutter and create an exercise plan for when I’m feeling consistently better.
- Cultivate my Wellness Community: Maintain my current relationships. Start cultivating more relationships with entrepreneurs in a similar place with similar goals.
- Pain Alleviation – Continue foot exercises and acupuncture for TMJ. Figure out my GI issues and what I can eat.
- Have Fun: Go camping 2 more times this year. Continue doing local adventures. Start planning our month-long summer trip for 2022.
As you can see, you don’t need to go into a ton of detail. I’ve simply noted what I want to continue and the things I want to shift. Then, I will incorporate these changes into my goals and planning.
Make the Rest of 2021 Count!
You might be thinking, “What if I didn’t set any goals at the beginning of the year?”
If that’s the case, who cares? There’s no time like the present. You can set them now.
Sometimes summer is actually a better time for people to do their annual planning. You may be coordinating your annual schedule around a kid’s school schedule. Or, you might simply have more time in the summer than during the winter holidays.
If you want to embark on creating your own goals, I’d encourage you to check out this post that I wrote about my annual planning process.
If you have goals and want to review them, I’d encourage you to download the Mid-Year Reflection Worksheet I’ve created.
What will you shift for the rest of 2021?
It’s always a great idea to see how you’re progressing on a quarterly, half yearly, and yearly basis.
I wrote a new year’s resolution but at this rate, I am not on track to meet a lot of the goals. I hope that the second half the year brings good results, though.
I loved the external circumstances part. I never give myself credit for these types of things when looking at home I am pacing toward my very measurable goals. I got engaged (life transition) and he moved in, got promoted to run a division (new opportunity) and had a 2 week illness. Yet before I saw your post, I didn’t acknowledge those things take time and attention away from goals even if they are positive circumstances. thanks for the grace!
I’m so glad this was helpful! We definitely need to give ourselves grace sometimes. All of those are HUGE things!