Ok so let’s just go ahead and get the mid-year panic out of the way.
*Initiates conversation with Captain Obvious*
Captain Obvious: “Can you believe it’s already July??”
Me: “Omg I know right?!”
Captain Obvious: “Seriously, the days/months/years are just literally flying by!”
Me: “So crazy and unexpected how that always happens right?/sarcasm”
Spoiler alert! This is just life being life! This is exactly how every year passes so we may as well save our energy being shocked at the inevitable passage of time and instead productively harness it!
That way, you can look at July and say “Wow! July, you’re here right on time! I was totally expecting you, in fact! And look at what a great year I’m having so far! Aaand it’s only going to get better!!!”
Okay, so now that that’s out of the way, let’s proceed to a more productive conversation, shall we?
Happy Mid-Year! Reinvigorate those resolutions so you can own the rest of the year
So guys, as we saw above, it’s already July, effectively placing us exactly halfway through the year. This means that, for many of us, those ambitious New Year’s resolutions we had 6 months ago have all but vanished from our radar.
Yeah, remember them? They are sitting in our goal recycling bin, awaiting next January 1, to first afflict upon us a mild inferiority complex once we realize their lack of accomplishment in T-6 months. Then they will rise to the forefront of our ambitious radars only to finally return to resolution recycling bins before March.
So I have initiated a new holiday with which to amp up the rest of the year so that I don’t wake up on the next January 1st recycling last year’s dusty list of goals to get excited for 6 weeks before returning it back to its hibernation for the remaining 46 weeks of the year.
We will call what used to be our New Year’s Resolution our Mid-Year’s Mission.
Mid-Year Mission will prompt you to review your year so far and reconcile where you are with where you’d hope you’d be. The final point of this reconciliation is to resurrect any unfulfilled resolutions and resolve any gaps or misfires by reassessing, reinvigorating, and reattempting.
How to harness Mid-Year Mission in order to finish the year strong
Assess the source of your resolutions
Try to analyze your sentiments towards those goals within your life’s context. Do you still feel the same about the desire for their accomplishment now as you did earlier in the year? How many times have you recycled this resolution? Does it pop back up year after year after year? Sometimes our resolutions are sheer, empty decoration— something we pull out during the holidays and then pack back up with our ornaments once we’re all out of Christmas cheer.
These are the generic goals that many of us use for the sake of their festive tradition rather than their actual purpose or potential in our own personal lives. “Save money, lose weight, read more, start meditating, stop drinking this, don’t eat that.” Are those goals really aligned with who you are and who you want to be? Or are you simply adapting those resolutions from the universal resolution handbook of general self-improvement?
If so, get those out of your resolution recycling bin and put them right in your garbage can. These are the worst kind of resolutions—entirely noble, likely worthwhile, but passionless, intentionless, and weightless, giving them no chance to outlast the inevitable Case of the Februaries. They are these whimsical, abstract aspirations, and no achievement was ever founded upon wishful thinking.
Specify and apply concrete planning to your goals
If you said you wanted to lose weight, specify how much, by when, and with what strategy. If you want to save money, have you even opened a savings account yet? Your goals need weight and a concrete trajectory is the perfect anchor to stabilize your approach. Otherwise, those goals will fly away at the first adversarial breeze.
Try out theme setting rather than goal setting.
Theme setting is better equipped to help us grow naturally into new lifestyles and habits. Our common practice would be to pen our planners with either loose-ended aspirations, like “finish writing novel” or with overly-specific ones, like “lose 8 pounds in 3 months.”
The former leaves too much room to interpretation and to get off track. The latter doesn’t allow the flexibility needed for human growth and improvement, leading to burnout, despair, and defeat. Rather, theme-setting applies both specificity and flexibility to our goals in a way that has increased my long and short-term productivity with more durability and less burnout. Sustainability is the key trait to consistent progress. Read how to theme-set here.
True improvement is not an overnight job. Nothing derails a goal quite as effectively as daunting expectations. When you stand before that mountain in all of its grand stature, you forget that right in front of you is a first single step. And then you cripple yourself with big-picture paralysis-my term for the incapacitation that occurs when you aim for the vision but forget the process.
Simplify. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
If you have a list of grievances against yourself, an infinite series of deficiencies that you deem require remedy, try to zoom in on a top 3-5. Inundating yourself with a long list of resolutions will just leave you scattered and disorganized, another crippling effect of taking on too much.
Strive for improvement, not perfection.
The other thief of progress is the desire to achieve perfection. This is the assailant that makes you feel that you are unworthy, that you may as well not even begin until conditions are that way instead of this way. This is the excuse that pops up every time you do something, step back to view the results, grow disappointed with their fledgling flaws, and then forfeit any movement on account of deeming yourself unfit for progress due to its imperfect process.
Every big step is comprised of many small steps. Measure your movement and reward yourself for every small progression. The more you move, the more you improve. Quantity is the foundation of quality.
Lauren is based in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to writing here on Pursuit of Daydreams, Lauren’s daydreams consist of all forms of design: Graphic, Fashion, Web, Interior, Art. On any given day, she can be found preoccupied with at least one of the above. She is happiest with a bowl of ice cream in hand.
Also published on Medium.