As July has seemingly appeared from nowhere it occurred to me yesterday that over half a year has slipped by.
I’ve never really focused on a mid-year check-in before. I actively track my stats, growth and client data every month in my Bullet Journal which allows me to see progress over a long period of time, but any goals and plans I usually set are long-term (often with a deadline of twelve months).
At the point where I decided to take blogging more seriously I had two goals that were my sole focus: to replace my teaching job with my own social media business, and to hit a million views, and I worked incredibly hard to achieve them. Once I had done both, it was almost like the fire went out – I made the crucial mistake of not setting something meaningful to work on. Admittedly, I took my foot off the gas, sat back and coasted along because, quite frankly, it was easy to stay in my comfort zone and within the deliriously happy little bubble that I had built for The Bloke and I.
This year, things have felt a little different. I’ve been quite open about the fact that I have found the process of blogging more difficult and have made several attempts to intentionally regroup and rebuild to get back to the place I was in, but with little success. As bloggers, when stats and numbers become important and we find ourselves at the mercy of social media and search engine algorithms it has felt like a constant battle and frequent addition of new strategies to try and adapt to the changes that are regularly thrown at us, seemingly with little impact.
I set goals in January (as I always do each year), but while my brain felt that these goals were realistic and achievable, my motivation clearly wasn’t as enthusiastic. I’ve done well when working for others and my social media business continues to grow, but when examining my own 2019 plans from a mid-point perspective, I’m nowhere near where I wanted (or, indeed) expected to be because I don’t have the same passion for developing my own content and direction than I do for my clients, I’m easily distracted and I’m a terrible procrastinator.
So, what to do? An easy option would be to give up and start again next year, but I was reminded recently that there’s still six months of the year left. Surprisingly, this realisation has given me the jolt that I think I finally needed.
Want to Complete a Mid-Year Check-In?
Don’t get stuck in a cycle of criticising yourself unfairly or use it as an excuse to quit. This exercise is not for the purpose of admonishing yourself for perceived failure.
The key to a mid-year review is honesty. One of the phrases that I follow closely is something that my mother uses frequently: there’s the real truth, and the truth we want to believe because it feels better. Be brutally honest with what you have already achieved, and look closely at why you are or aren’t meeting your own expectations or the goals you have set yourself.
Simplify and streamline. I have lots of goals. Tons of them. While I think it’s a positive thing to have a variety of dreams to work towards, it isn’t realistic to do everything all at once. Make sure that your goals are relevant to your priorities and are motivational. I’ve re-examined and now set myself just one goal to work towards until the end of the year, and that will remain my sole focus.
Identify distractions and establish rewards. What became evidently clear when I was examining the last six months was that I had gone off in lots of different directions after becoming distracted with other things that had temporarily sparked my interest. Furthermore, I discovered that large amounts of my daily time was wasted by things that I do purely because I enjoy them – new TV shows, flat lays, trips out etc – rather than focusing on the things that I find difficult. Unfortunately, the things I find difficult are usually the things I need to do in order to progress, so I am going to start each day with doing the more challenging things first, and have put a reward system in place.
Remove the barriers. Where possible, get rid of the negative that is getting in your way, be it people, objects or personal thoughts and fears. I’ve been working on something for 18 months and this came to a halt a few months ago simply because of the fear of the response I may get from it, which has never happened before. I’ve spent the last few weeks removing everything that I deem to be toxic, and have incorporated my new direction to continue my project into my checklist for the month.
Get yourself an accountability buddy. I have two, and I check in with them almost daily. They call me out on any nonsense or excuses I have, offer advice and ideas and are my biggest cheerleaders.
From this point, keep going every single day. Whether it is half-an-hour or half-a-day you have in which to work on something, sit down and do as much as you can. Every little point is a step forwards.
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and you can also find me on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaksand my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks
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