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How to Do a Personal Mid-Year Review

How to Do a Personal Mid-Year Review

Mid-year reviews are a common feature in workplaces around the world. Useful for evaluating and reflecting upon what’s happened over the last six months, and what they want to happen over the next six months, mid-year reviews give companies the chance to make adjustments to their actions that will keep them in line with their business goals.

In this post, we’re going to look at how you can take this concept and apply it to your personal life. Doing a personal mid-year review can help us stay conscious of our life balance. It also helps keep us on track with any personal goals or projects we want to focus on between now and the end of the year.

Looking Back

1. Make a list of everything that you feel proud of over the past six months.

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Start by thinking about your experience of the last six months. Notice that this step doesn’t just involve results or things you’ve achieved, but focuses on how you feel about what you’ve done over the last half-year.

The things that you feel proud of can be of any nature or significance. Feeling proud of bringing in a big project for your company might sit on this list, alongside feeling proud of the fact that you’ve made it to the gym at least twice per week, or feeling proud of the fact that you’ve paid all your bills on time since the beginning of the year.

2. Make a list of any new goals or challenges you’ve taken on over the past six months, as well as how much progress you’ve made on each.

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Many of us start the year with New Year’s Resolutions. You might find that these goals have changed over the past six months, or that the parameters have shifted. If a particular goal isn’t serving you and your long-term plans anymore (note: this is not the same as finding something challenging), this is a great time to make adjustments where necessary.

As well as looking at your goals individually, take a look at your personal life as a whole: are you feeling over-committed right now? Would you like to have more variety in your personal life?

Asking yourself questions like this now can help prevent you feeling overwhelmed or like you haven’t made the most of your year in six months’ time.

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Looking Ahead

3. Identify two areas of your life you would like to focus on over the next six months.

Our lives can be broadly divided up into the following areas: family, leisure/fun, career, finance, relationships, health and fitness, physical environment, and personal development.

Go through each area and think about how satisfied you feel with this aspect of your life right now (it can be helpful to think about your satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10).

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Once you’ve identified the two areas of your life you most want to focus on (usually these will be the two areas with the lowest satisfaction scores, but not always), write down three things you can do to bring your score in these areas closer to a 10/10.

4. Pick a word or phrase that will sum up your next six months.

This step might sound a little mystical, but it’s another way of helping you stay grounded between now and the end of the year.

Having a word or phrase that encapsulates how you’d like to experience your next six months helps remind you of the goals and intentions you’re setting now. As you might have experienced with goals you set at the beginning of the year, we can start off with the best intentions to honour those goals, only to have commitments and distractions throw us off course. Having a word or phrase that sums up how we want to experience the next six months helps keep us aligned with our original intentions and reduces the chance that we’ll get to the end of the year and regret how we spent our time.

Do you have any tips for a successful mid-year personal review? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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