As in football, “halftime” signals a break and some well-earned, light-hearted fun. But halftime is also a time for reflection: When the teams leave the field they’re also taking the opportunity to evaluate how well they’re playing while there’s still time to turn the game around.
The same is true for the rest of us as we head into summer. Enjoy some travel and a vacation with your family, but also take a strategic time-out to consider your progress. Have you achieved the goals you set back in January? Are you as far along as you wanted to be?
Research shows the vast majority of people forget their New Year’s resolutions within six weeks. As a businessperson, you have annual goals and certain corporate objectives that you are working toward on a daily basis. As a leader, you may also have set your own growth goals that expand your capacity to be effective, preserve and enhance your health and wellbeing, or challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone.
These individual ambitions are sometimes neglected in the face of competing work pressures, but the reality is that life is not so satisfying—and you are not growing—when you’re only meeting other people’s goals. We are all accountable for fulfilling our mission and developing to our highest potential. As an executive coach, my clients rely on me to challenge them in these areas.
Halftime provides a great opportunity for us to step back, reevaluate, and recommit. If you already set some challenging goals for yourself earlier this year, go back to them, dust them off, and rate your performance on a scale from 1-10. You may be on track for a few of your goals—if so, tell a few people and celebrate!
It’s also possible you’ve let at least one or two goals slide. If that’s the case, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I still committed to this?
- If so, why? How will it make my life better? How will it help my performance?
- If not, why not? Is it really not important or is it no longer a top priority?
Answer honestly and remember that it’s OK to drop one goal in favor of another—that is what prioritizing is all about.
For those you are still sincerely committed to, ask yourself:
- What is challenging about achieving this goal?
- What resources, expertise, motivation, or support do I need to accomplish it?
Many of us attribute our stagnation or failure to a lack of willpower. In reality, willpower is highly overrated; if you continue to fail at a goal, it is more probable that you need to make use of one or more of the following resources to help you move forward:
- Establish an on-going relationship with a mentor or coach
- Get an expert to take a look at your plan to get specific input
- Design a workable structure to help you execute the actions it will take to achieve the goal, such as meeting with your team for half an hour weekly on X project or going to three exercise classes a week
- Meet regularly with an accountability group or partner, whether that means a monthly lunch meeting with a colleague to review how you’re doing on key goals, or going to a smoking cessation 12-step program weekly, or taking a walk with your neighbor 3 times a week
Once you’ve decided which goals are the most important and what progress you want to accomplish in the second half of 2013, identify and seek out the support you need in order to be successful by the end of the year.
Tips for finishing well this year:
- Decide what is most important to accomplish.
- Prune other commitments or goals to make this goal a priority. The tendency is to try to have too many “stretch” goals and it won’t work.
- Draw on any resources and support you need from the list above. The hard part is admitting that you can’t do it alone, but the reward is approaching your life with a greater openness to community.
- Make a dashboard with metrics, images, or symbols that chart your progress in your 1-3 most important goals.
- Forgive yourself for any complacency or backsliding earlier in year and refuse to let your internal judge discourage you!
Join our blog and tell us how you are doing at Halftime! What strategies have helped you get back on track? Share your thoughts in the comments section!