Can you believe it!? It’s already July, which means we are halfway through the year already. How are your New Years’ resolutions and plans going? A mid-year goal check-in is a great time to re-evaluate the plans, goals, and resolutions we set at the beginning of the year.
As the previous year was ending, most of us were taking stock of where our work and personal lives were headed and possibly identified a few things we wanted to improve or change. Setting goals is a great idea, but having check-in points to keep yourself accountable is even better. It should be a best practice to check on progress towards the goals you set for yourself. Failing to do so, you might find yourself staring next year in the eye, setting the same goals again.
So, are you on track to complete this year’s goals? If you aren’t on your way to completing some, why not? Here are a few reasons you might not be as far along as you hoped:
Other priorities took precedent
Often, priorities change, which is just part of life and business. These quarterly and mid-year check-ins help ensure the change in priorities is actually benefiting the organization (or your personal life, depending on your goal). Take some time to ask yourself why the goals changed part way through the year? Was it due to competitive pressures? Resource constraints? Make sure the stuff that came up took precedence for a good reason, and if not, now is a great time to course-correct and get back on track. Use this mid-year check-in point to reevaluate your goals and see if they still make sense for you, your customers, and the organization.
Shifting priorities isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it may well yield better outcomes. This is the time of year to assess and find out!
Achievement timelines and steps to get there weren’t clear
Goals are essential to set personally and professionally. But if you didn’t create a plan to achieve the goal, there are no tangible steps or accountability to measure progress. Goals without a path to get there are just pipe dreams.
Software like LiquidPlanner makes it easy to create an action plan against your goals. LiquidPlanner helps you estimate timelines by listing tasks and then applying ranged estimations. Detailing out each step with a high – low estimate on how long it will take to complete each task allows you to see when you can realistically achieve your goals.
Turning those goals into real achievements that move your career or company forward is essential. The best way to set up your project for success is to list the tasks needed to achieve the goal, estimate the effort involved, and identify critical milestone dates to stay on track. What are your mid-year milestones?
Budget issues may have gotten in the way
We’ve all had times when no matter how hard we tried to progress on a project or personal goal, a budgeting issue got in the way and forced us to change direction. Maybe you had to shift priorities due to revenue needs on other objectives. Or perhaps role responsibilities shifted due to revenue streams changing. Maybe the expected revenue for the first half of the year didn’t meet our goals to continue funding this project. Perhaps your personal finances shifted from what you anticipated. These are all key reasons why a mid-year check-in is even more necessary.
You or your organization made those goals on purpose and with much forethought. They are probably still important if they were deemed necessary six months ago. Make sure to take the time to revisit them even when the budget is tight. Or, if the budget increased, has this expanded the possibilities for your goal? Perhaps the plans need adjusting, but be sure to keep the initial intent and desired outcome close. And if some significant changes in the goals are required, don’t move forward without replacing those goals with new ones that better meet your budgeting needs.
Too many fires to fight
Sometimes, you may be faced with too many fires to fight simultaneously. Or, perhaps you set too many personal goals to achieve realistically. Balancing too much can leave us setting aside some or all of our long-term goals. When an organization constantly fights fires or when we take on more than we can realistically handle, long-time priorities may get overlooked or tossed out the window to solve the current stressors. Focus is king.
So now that we are at mid-year, let’s assess the situation. Did we prioritize too many short-term fires at the sake of our long-term goals? Can we get back to making progress on those goals? Are the fires under control, and can we resume making progress on our resolutions? Even if the fires are still ongoing, can we develop some strategies to focus on achieving the most important goals? It’s equally important to make those career or organizational progress even when project tasks seem to be taking over.
Aren’t using the appropriate tools to track progress
If you aren’t even sure if you’re on track to complete your goals, then project management software may be the key to helping your team stay organized and on schedule. Often teams think they can plan projects in Excel to track the progress of their portfolio of projects. But this process becomes cumbersome when you manually change the project plan. When one priority shifts, all other projects in the pipeline need to shift with it – especially when you have shared resources. Project Management software can account for changes in resource constraints, priorities, or other timeline shifts that simple excel software cannot automate. Not all project management software can automate projected timelines like this, so it’s essential to do your research to invest in one that can help make your job easier. LiquidPlanner is one tool that builds automation into the product to save your organization time and energy on manual task updates. A small investment in PM software can go a long way.
Sometimes, the easiest thing to do is attack the issues at hand and abandon our long-term goals. When we only focus on short-term needs, it becomes easy to lose track of our goals for ourselves or the organization. We may never grow the organization or ourselves by making progress on the big things because we get weighed down by the trivial. You can end up looking back on the year and thinking you made no progress at all. Save yourself the heartache by taking the time to have a mid-year check-in to reset priorities and stay on track.
Brad Egeland is a Business Solution Designer and IT/PM consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience. He has been named the “#1 Provider of Project Management Content in the World” with over 7,000 published articles, ebooks, white papers and videos. Brad is married, a father of 11, and living in sunny Las Vegas, NV.