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How to Do a Personal Mid-Year Review

How to Do a Personal Mid-Year Review
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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.

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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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Hannah Braime

Hannah is a coach who believes the world is a richer place when we have the courage to be fully self-expressed.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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