Are You On Track To Reach Your Goals? A Seven-Point Mid-Year Review Checklist
June provides a lot of distractions – end of school year activities, summer vacation planning – but also provides a natural inflection point for our annual goals. If your company has an official annual review process, now would be a good time to see if you’re on track to meet the company objectives and expectations. But for your own objectives – the career, relationship, health, finance and other critical goals you set for yourself – you also want to ensure you’re on track. Here are seven questions to guide your personal mid-year review:
Are you halfway to your goal target?
If your goal is a sales target, then you should be approximately halfway to your quota. If you intended to lose 10 pounds, then you should have lost five. If you wanted to put aside $5,000, you should have $2,500 in your fund. If you’re not halfway to your target, is there a legitimate reason to believe you’ll catch up in the second half? It could be that your sales pipeline is bursting and most decisions get made in the last two quarters. Or your initial weight loss was slow but it’s accelerating. Or your savings plan is based on putting aside a bonus that is paid out later in the year. There could a good reason why you’re behind, but if not, your lack of progress should raise a red flag.
Is your goal still compelling?
If your life has changed since you set your initial goal, the goal may no longer be compelling. Perhaps the sales target is your company’s target, but you have decided to change jobs before year-end. In this case, you want to fulfill the obligations of your current job but expend any extra resources on your job search. Or you set the weight loss target initially but upon getting more fit, you realize it’s less about the pounds and more about your energy level. In that case, you want to measure, track and prioritize what gives you more energy – sleep, nutrition, certain activities – and minimize or even drop the focus on your weight.
What do you need to do to get back or stay on track?
If your goal is still meaningful to you and you have just veered off track, what action steps can you take to course correct? Time allocation is often a big culprit – are you spending time on your goal? When people ask me to troubleshoot their job search, one of the first questions I ask is how much time they’re spending on job search activities, and many times lack of sufficient time is the bottleneck. Low-return or no-results activities are another common problem. Take an honest assessment of what you’ve tried to reach your goal so far to make sure you’ve taken steps that at least show some promise.
What support do you need to get back or stay on track?
If you’re not sure you’re using the right strategies to reach your goal, this is an area where you need to get help. If you saw early results but hit a plateau, you may need to introduce different activities or push yourself. If some tactics are working but others fall short, you may need training on certain skills. For example, if your sales pipeline is bursting but leads aren’t converting, you may need specific help with the close, while the rest of your strategy should stay as is.
Do you want to aim higher?
If you’re already tracking or exceeding your target, you may have set too easy a goal, and there could be value in expanding it. Or you may decide to dial down your efforts and focus elsewhere. Or you may opt to finish your goal early and focus on something else for the rest of the year. A mid-year review can also be about celebration. You may be further along than you think, and you can use that confidence boost to propel the rest of your year.
Is your goal still relevant?
You may still find the goal compelling but it may not be your best use of time depending on the circumstances. Companies can change business strategy, and you may have picked a goal that supports an outdated strategy. Or you may get an opportunity – e.g., to participate in a new business venture – that diverts your time and attention but is time-sensitive. Don’t get stubbornly attached to your goals. You always want to confirm they’re still relevant given what else is going on.
What will you do from here?
The best mid-year reviews result in actionable next steps. Now that you know whether or not you’re on track and whether or not the goal is still meaningful and significant, what is the very next step? What will you do next week, next month, and till year-end? It could be getting support to get unstuck. It could be more of what you were already doing. Pull out a calendar, have your contact database ready (to phone a friend or grab a lifeline), and commit to a plan and timeline for the rest of the year.