June gloom brings more than cloudy, grayish weather. It’s also the year’s mid-way point, the pit stop on our journey to NYE that reminds us of those lofty goals we set on Jan 1. And that can make some of us as gloomy as the weather. In part because we’re looking at everything we’ve yet to accomplish, leaving us feeling like tail chasers.
But let’s make this a coffee cup half full situation and get back on the grind. Here’s how to set yourself and your business goals right once more.
Where’s that list you wrote? Whether scribbled on paper, the notes section in your phone, or stored in your memory bank, it’s time to review. Look at what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Do a brutally honest assessment of where you are. Reflection is a fundamental skill set of successful people. This time put it to paper-- if it’s not already.
WHY WORDS ON PAPER?
Two words: Accountability and commitment. Though many sites report the findings of the “1953 Harvard study” or the “1979 Yale study” both said to have found evidence correlating the act of writing down goals and the long-term performance of people, neither such study ever took place. However, putting your goals to paper does make you more accountable. For your mid-year review put your goals in two columns: A and B. In column A write down what you’ve already accomplished. In column B write down what you want to or have yet to accomplish. Notice if one column greatly outweighs the other. If the scales are tipped in favor of column B, consider creating a third column: C. Column C should be the space where you really hone in on what is realistic and important. Ask yourself if your goals have changed. Moving forward focus your efforts on C, instead of feeling overwhelmed by B.
WRITE DOWN THE HABITS YOU NEED TO NIX
Is there a side hustle you’ve been putting off because you’ve grown complacent/sucked into a Netflix hole? Have you stopped learning and listening and thereby found yourself in a creative rut/sucked into a Netflix hole? Chances are you’ve picked up a new bad habit or two in the last six months. They’re kind of like gophers that way-- always popping up in unexpected places. You don’t have to wait until New Year’s to reset. Use the start of summer (this coming Thursday, June 21st) to get the habits off your plate that are crowding out the other important and sustainable items.
CONSIDER USING A VACATION DAY OR TWO
This may feel counter-intuitive, but If you’ve been hitting it hard since the beginning of the year, that's counter productive. It could be time for a break. If you think of your brain like your computer, you know that you have to shut it down every now and again, otherwise it will start crashing. Endless spinning wheel of death where creativity ceases to flow and information exchange comes to a halt. You don’t have to hit professional rock bottom before you crawl back out. In 2014 42% of working Americans didn't take a single vacation day. Not one. In 2013 Americans collectively squandered 169 million vacation days. Yet this pattern is taking its toll on workers, proving to have a negative ripple effect on employee mental health, productivity, even the economy.
REACH OUT TO THAT *ONE PERSON*
This is an easy step to take, and yet we all know that the easiest step is often the hardest. There’s always that *one professional person* you keep meaning to reach out to, but never do. Maybe it’s a cold call or maybe you even have an introduction, but for some reason you can’t bring yourself to follow through. It may not be career changing-- for now-- but it could be the one domino that sets the others on a roll. As soon as you finish reading this, go write that email and send it off.
LET GO AND LET GO (FOR REAL, LET IT GO)
Have you heard that spring cleaning closet rule? That if you haven’t worn it (leopard print body con dress) in a year, it’s time to donate? Well, the same goes for your to-do goal list. If there is a goal that’s been lingering, weaving its way from one year to the next, without much progress, it's time to let it go. Holding onto something we can’t commit to takes up valuable space in our brains. Much like that one person, you know what the one goal is. We’re not telling you to give up on your dreams, but if you’re not working toward it, maybe it’s not your dream?
And remember: Sometimes yes, you have to look back in order to look forward, but once you have your sights set firmly ahead, hold eye contact with the future. It’s your best bet.