We just crossed the halfway point of the year and are now on the downhill slope. For most people, any goals that were set back in January feel like an eternity ago. The bad news is that most people probably didn’t accomplish or don’t remember what their goals were for the first half of the year. The good news is we all have a fresh six months to work with to make progress towards the kind of life we want to have.
As we start the next six months of the year, how do you make sure you’re proud of where you’re at when you cross that finish line on December 31? Here are four steps I use:
1. Learn From The Past (But Then Forget It)
Whether the first six months were awesome or abysmal, you can’t live in the past. If you’re cruising down the highway but fixated on the rearview mirror, you’re probably going to crash. People like to live in the past and dwell on past successes or past failures. Neither are healthy. Your past successes won’t guarantee future success. In the same way, your past failures won’t keep you from future success.
Although you can’t dwell in the past, you can certainly learn from the past. Before turning the page on the past, I always find it valuable to evaluate what went well and what didn’t. You can’t make progress on your life or move forward if you never stop to determine what’s working and what’s not.
I like to write out a quick summary of how things are going. I do this in Evernote. Here’s a template I generally follow.
2. Begin With The End In Mind
Fast forward to December 31st and think about what you want to have accomplished by then. Think about all the different areas of your life that you want to make progress in: professional/career/business, family, social, financial, health, personal development, spiritual, etc.
Think BIG with these areas of your life! You may have heard it said, People overestimate what they can get done in a day and underestimate what they can accomplish in a year. Six months is a lot of time to accomplish a lot of goals. But it won’t happen if you don’t plan.
For each category you create, list out 1-3 goals you plan to accomplish. Maybe you’ve heard it before, but be sure your goals meet the SMART criteria:
Specific – Make your goals as specific as possible. Be super crystal clear on where you’re headed. If your goal is to be happy, that’s great, but how will you know if you’ve accomplished it?
Measurable – How will you know when you’ve crossed the finish line? Setting a goal like get in shape is all well and good, but you need to know if you’re making progress. I will workout 3 times per week or I will lose 20 pounds by the end of the year are much more measurable.
Attainable – I’m all for dreaming big, but you also have to be realistic. Strike a balance between pushing yourself but actually being able to accomplish what you set out to do. It’s one thing to say, I will finish a marathon before the end of the year. It’s another thing to say, I will win the marathon!
Relevant – How do your goals actually tie into the bigger picture of where your life is headed? Are your goals helping move you closer or further away from the kind of life you want to have?
Time-Bound – All goals need a deadline. A goal without a deadline is just a wish. You may not need the full 6 months to accomplish certain goals. Maybe you can accomplish some goals within the next 30, 60, or 90 days. Either way, make sure you define the finish line.
3. Break It Down
Stop. Hammer Time. (if you got this reference, we’re now BFFs. I’ll send you a matching charm bracelet.)
Goals mean nothing unless you create a plan to actually accomplish them. You have to back up and figure out what steps are required to achieve the goal. For example, one of my goals in the 2nd half of the year is to finish a 100-mile bike race. Sure I could go out and just start riding around the neighborhood but that really doesn’t help move the ball forward towards the goal.
One of the first steps is figuring out when the race is that I want to compete in. Once I determine that (tentatively penciled in for Oct 5), now I can begin to work backwards and figure out what needs to happen each week in order to be ready for the race.
Any significant goal is really just a sequence of steps. Some goals have pretty clear cut roadmaps to success. Others require you to step back and create the map yourself.
But regardless, you have to have the map that gets you from where you are to where you want to be.
4. Schedule Everything
Once you have determined the best path of travel towards accomplishing the goal, then you need to schedule it out. I’ve found if it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t get done.
It’s too easy to start with a blank schedule for a day with hopes of getting massive amounts accomplished only to arrive at the end of the day with little to no meaningful work done (assuming you don’t count watching cat gifs as meaningful…which is debatable)
If my training plan for the 100-mile bike ride has me riding 20 miles on Monday, 30 miles on Wednesday, and 40 miles on Saturday, you better believe I will schedule those on my calendar. By putting it on my calendar, I’m not only setting aside that time to prevent other things from taking over, but I’m also making a commitment with myself.
I’m not just hoping I’ll get to it when I get to it. That never works. Know the roadmap and schedule the tasks that move you forward.
Regardless of how the first half of the year has been for you, you’ve got a blank slate awaiting the second half. What you do with it is entirely up to you. It would be such a disappointment though to arrive at December 31st and realize you’ve made zero progress and are exactly where you are right now.
What you do from here is entirely up to you. I firmly believe that whether your life is great or your life is a disaster, it’s your fault either way. I don’t say that to be mean or condescending in any way, but hopefully to encourage you to own the outcomes of your life.
If I can help you make progress on your goals this year, email me at email@example.com. If you’re really serious and are looking for something more intense, you may check out our coaching options.