Can you believe it? We’re half-way through 2019! Yes, already. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? And I do hope you’re having a good year. That said, this also represents a good time to reflect on how your development journey for 2019 is going.
Oh yeah. Those promises you made to yourself a little earlier this year! What was it again? Learning a new language, perhaps. Or gaining a management accreditation? Perhaps you decided to work on your organisational and productivity skills. Or you committed to becoming more proactive and engaged in key workplace relationships.
Whatever it was, if you haven’t made the progress you’d hoped, maybe external life factors got in the way. Did you have an unexpected life event or some significant changes at work that prevented you from making progress?
Alternatively, it could be internal factors such as alignment with your values, procrastination or fear of failure. We discussed a number of these on the ‘My Pocket Psych’ podcast some months ago. If you’ve not heard it, or want to listen again, you can do so here.
With half the year behind us, here are some questions to reflect on, which may help you plan for the coming six months:
1. How have I applied my values?
When working towards achieving important and meaningful goals, it’s important to remember why we’re putting in the hard work and how reflecting of our ‘best self’ we’re being. This is all about clarity of values and putting these values into practice. Ask yourself: am I being my best self in terms of self-development when I spend my evenings in front of Netflix rather than working on that pet project? If you haven’t made as much headway as you’d like, think about how you can reconnect with your values and put them into practice.
2. What have I learnt about myself in the pursuit of these goals?
When working on these goals, what did it teach you about yourself? Maybe you have more of a capacity to deal with uncertainty or risk than you’d thought. Or maybe you have a tendency to lose enthusiasm about new habits within weeks of starting them. Have you spotted a tendency to procrastinate? These are your goals, so use your self-awareness to shape how you reach them.
3. Which goals didn’t I achieve?
Are there any themes to the areas of your development you’ve left unfinished or even untouched? Perhaps they weren’t realistic or felt authentic to begin with. Looking at what remains unfinished can tell you a lot about where you can focus your efforts for the remainder of the year. Did you bite off more than you chew? Don’t abandon it all – the second half of the year represents an opportunity to pick up the unfinished work and make some progress.
4. Would it be helpful to amend any of my remaining goals?
If you realise you were being unrealistic with your plans to complete an MBA, write that novel and take that course in ceramic art by night, then it’s time to look at what you might be able to achieve. The sense of failure and guilt that can come with not making progress can make us more unlikely to even try in future. So drop anything that’s definitely not going to get done, or alternatively, break it up into a series of smaller goals that can be accomplished over a slightly longer period.
5. What challenges can I anticipate in the coming months as I work towards my goals?
With a few months under your belt, you definitely have a realistic view of what’s possible given your various life roles and responsibilities. Think back honestly over the last six months and identify the various challenges and setbacks that have prevented you from making the development progress you’d planned. Now, think ahead – could you face any of these again? Anything even similar? Rather than abandoning your plans completely, think about how you can deal with these challenges more effectively and keep going with your plans.
All is not lost!
You’ve still got six months to make that valuable progress, whatever your goals are. Or even longer, if you don’t feel constrained to get it all done within the calendar year. Movement in the right direction, no matter how slow, is progress.
Bank your existing gains, draw a line under your disappointments and then stride into the second half of 2019 as if it was the start of a fresh new year, full of possibilities.