OK, so it’s the end of July and that puts us just beyond the halfway point of the year. But there’s no time like the moment a thought comes into your head to do something (who said anything about planning?!).
During that fantastic period between Christmas and New Year when day and night merge, I reflected on what I wanted to achieve from this year. I must have been feeling confident because the list was broad and long. And if there’s something I’ve learned is that writing a list when my brain is free means that way more will go onto it than if it was first thing in the morning (I am very much not a morning person).
I divided the list into three sections: must do, should do, good to do. The must do were divided into the following:
- Lose weight
- Have the loft conversion at home completed
- Resolve what to do about the finance on the car
- Support my partner returning to work after a period of time away
- Deliver on my work objectives
- Get some professional/career coaching
- Weight loss got off to a slow start, but recently I’ve found a way to trick myself into at least losing some: cut sugar out of my diet (as much as possible – I get that it’s in food like fruit!). I don’t think I’ll hit the target, but I’m sort of coming at it obliquely so as not to think I’m on a diet.
- The loft conversion has yet to begin, but that’s down to the availability of the builder. I have the money and am ready to go when he is. Currently he’s booked in for 15th August, but we’ve had plenty of false dawns so breath not being held.
- The car has been bought and paid for. It’s ours, so no more monthly payment. Just need to pay myself back for the outlay. That’s in hand (though inflation seems to be making that slower).
- Support my partner’s return to work has, on the whole, been pretty successful. She is in a much better place than she was, and – back-to-normal grumpiness about the tribulations of the workplace aside – she’s doing well.
- Work objectives are a separate conversation. It’s been a year of two halves, as I’m sure I’ll discuss soon. On reflection, the previous item on the list took more of my attention from work than I would have liked. So it goes. I’m reaching the point where a job change is needed, but have sufficient inertia not to do much about it – that tells me I have things I’d still like to achieve.
- I did go and get some professional coaching. And frankly, it both helped and didn’t much at the same time. It was powerful during, but afterwards I feel its effects dissipating. I feel the need to do more on that front.
I had expected my plans for the year to be completely off track. I’ve hit a remarkably tired phase at the mid-point of this year, so it’s pleasantly surprising to find that I’ve achieved more than I felt I would. Now, the should do and good to do lists are, frankly, less complete. But that was the point of splitting the must do items away from a lot of other ambitions.
I think there are a few lessons in here:
- Writing goals down is a good way to make them real and distinct – no longer are they a vague ambition
- Making goals real means I have to be accountable. For work, sure I’m accountable to the business. But for everything else, that’s me and those around me. There’s no hiding.
- Splitting the must do and should do/good to do items away from each other helps to keep some focus, though clearly a six month review is too long.
- And that’s the final point: by writing them down, I also have to revisit them more regularly. So I’m going to adopt a quarterly review and reset approach.
I will reflect now on what needs to move into the must do space between now and the end of the year and set a review point for October to see how I’m getting on.