Jul 10, 2012

Half-Year Tune-Up: Revisiting Your New Year’s Resolutions

We just passed the halfway mark in the year. June 2 was the midpoint of 2012, and now is an ideal time to revisit your New Year’s resolutions. Business plans require regular reviews and adjustments, and so too do personal goals.

Over the weekend I pulled out my personal plan for 2012. Every December I write a one-page plan for the upcoming year that I call “Jeremy on a Page.” It has a eight headings:

  • I am: In ten words or less articulate who I am and what I do.
  • My purpose: In ten words or less what I am giving back to the world.
  • My expertise: A statement of how I fulfill who I am and my purpose, and the core skills I must continue to invest in to achieve those goals.
  • My interests: A statement of what interests me and motivates me. This is my source of energy to fulfill my purpose.
  • My delivery: How I bring my core skills and expertise to market, and how I can impact others.
  • My tenets: These are my core values. I write them as tenets to make them more meaningful and impactful. I’ve been working to refine the list over the years. Last year I had seven, and this year I have three.
  • My projects: A list of five to ten projects I will complete in the year. These are my big rocks. They are big projects with clear, measurable goals that are important to me, my family and my company.
  • My plan: A list of five habits or processes I will use to complete my projects over the next twelve months.

Make it consistent

The reason I use the ‘Jeremy on a Page’ format is it’s a consistent planning tool. The structure helps me focus on what is important year-over-year. I’ve been refining the document over the years, and trying to distill it to the most poignant points that drive action. The tweaks are minor, and they’re in response to what I learn of myself and my operating style.

The structure of the document creates accountability. I can clearly see my goals, and I can make judgements on my progress. Am I satisfied with my progress? Do I need to adjust priorities? Am I on track?

Measure with a rearview mirror

A consistent format has an added benefit: it helps to measure what you’ve achieved.

I find it’s easy to get distracted and even depressed by measuring performance against ‘what I want to achieve.’ The problem with ambitious people is we always want more. We’re always chasing something new. And when you measure your success against what you want to achieve it’s a little like chasing the horizon. You can never catch it, and that’s depressing to realize.

Reviewing the goals I wrote six months or a year ago is rather uplifting. Rather than regretting what I’m not achieving, I can clearly see what I have achieved. I can see how far I’ve come, and all that has been done so far.

A consistent planning structure lets you measure your performance from the rearview mirror, which is the most accurate way to know how far you’ve come.

Plans are meant to be changed

Pull out your New Year’s resolutions and revisit them. Are you on track? Do you need to adjust course?

As my Strategic Planning consultant, Jim Stewart, reminds me, plans are meant to be adjusted. Jim will often say, “Did you know what you know right now when you set the goal? If not then common sense would suggest that you should adapt or change your goal now that you have more, better information.”

If you’re resolutions are off course adjust them. Use this time to review your plans, and accelerate the next half of your year.

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