But you still have months to make significant accomplishments toward changes you want to make by the end of the year, says career and transition coach Allison Task, author of Personal (R)evolution: How to Be Happy, Change Your Life, and Do That Thing You’ve Always Wanted to Do.
Ready to get back on track with your goals? Dust off that list and apply these four steps for a mid-year reboot.
Re-evaluate and reprioritize
There was likely a reason you gave up on your goals. Think about why you lost momentum and what you truly want to accomplish next, Task says. “So much of the work of pursuing the goal happens when you set the right goal,” she says. When you’re thinking about what you want to happen by the end of the year, be sure to:
- Make sure this is the right goal that you’re tackling at the right time.
- Think about whether you have the time to dedicate to pursuing it.
- Ensure the goal is in line with your values.
“The setup for the pursuit is extraordinarily important,” she adds. “Sometimes resolutions are made because you feel you have to. There’s the obligation with the new year, and they don’t get done because it’s not the right goal at the right time.”
Use the deadline as motivation
At the beginning of the year, you had a blank slate of 12 full months ahead of you. Now, you’re on a downhill run toward the end of the year, “which is kind of awesome because you’ve got a countdown, aka a deadline,” she says. With a more limited time frame, now you need to be more specific about what you want to accomplish–and realistic about what you need to let go for now, she says.
Think about the endpoint you want to reach by the last month of the year, she says. What feels possible and exciting versus overwhelming? The answer can give you valuable insight into the goals you can accomplish with the time you have left. Then, use the approaching deadline to fuel your motivation by tracking the time you have left, and what needs to happen at each stage.
Use the power of habit
Now is the time be specific about the steps you’ll need to take, habits you need to build, and performance levels you seek, says Janet Tyler, founder of executive coaching firm True Depth in Detroit. “Staying with a goal for 12 months or longer requires a ton of discipline and effort–and much of the effort happens in the second half of the year. The effort has to nearly double to reach that goal in the last six months of the year,” she says.
What, specifically, will you have to do to reach your goal and by when? What will the outcome need to be? Understanding these answers will help you scale your goal accordingly and recognize what you need to scale back.
The S.M.A.R.T. goals approach—making your goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time sensitive—is useful for helping you make progress within the time window you have, she says. This approach helps you understand what you need to do on a weekly basis to make your goals happen. For example, Tyler says if you set a revenue goal—increase revenue a certain percentage or bring in a certain number of new customers—you need to establish the habits that will bring you closer to that goal, even if the original outcome isn’t attainable in a few months. How many prospects will you need to call each week? What activities will help you get closer to achievement? Focus on developing the actions that will ultimately get you to where you want to be.
Spend your time and energy wisely
Amy Yarnell Carter is a busy real estate professional, owns Tahlequah, Oklahoma-based Vivid Salon & Boutique, and authored The Yarnell 7: The Seven Core Decisions for Extraordinary Living. With businesses and other demands on her time, she says getting everything done and moving herself closer to bigger goals “is a struggle I face and think about every day,” she says.
Her solutions are twofold: First, she learned to delegate. When inventory comes into the boutique, her “get things done” inclination has to be overruled. Staff members can check in inventory and handle other day-to-day tasks while she focuses on how to get more business in the door, improve operations, or otherwise make a difference in her business, she says.
Just as important as guarding and spending your time wisely is guarding and spending your energy, Yarnell adds. Get to know your peak performance times and reserve those times for the work where you need to be highly productive or creative, she says.
Task also warns not to beat yourself up over having to start over. It’s a waste of energy that you could be using to make progress on what you want, she says.
This article first appeared in Fast Company