Goal Check-In: How to Recover from a Progress Lapse

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We are over halfway through the calendar year, which means it’s time to do a goal check-in to see how we measure up against the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year.

Sometimes the check-in is a great confirmation of all of the hard work you put into your goals for the last six months or so. Sometimes it’s a rude awakening that you’re severely off track and off target.

If you set goals earlier in the year and are overcome by a sense of anxiety when you see how much your actual progress differs from your anticipated progress, don’t worry. Now is the time to regroup, refocus and get back on track for the rest of the year.

Here is an overview of the goal check-in process I follow when I need to quickly get re-centered and freshly motivated to continue moving forward.

Ask the Hard Questions

The first step isn’t pretty. This is when you let go of any ego, excuses and justification in your way and be completely honest with yourself about your progress or lack of progress. Here are some of the questions to ask yourself:

  • What have I accomplished?
  • Where have I failed?
  • Is my current state in line with where I anticipated I’d be? Why not?
  • Am I making progress or am I at a standstill?
  • When was the last time I took action on my goals?

Once you know where you fell short, own up to your shortcomings. The more honest you are with yourself during this step, the more productive and worthwhile the process will be for you.

Adjust Your Target

If you missed the mark with your goals by a long shot, you may need to rethink what you’re aiming for. Perhaps your goal is a longer term ambition, has complexity that makes it a candidate for multiple smaller goals, or is no longer valid.

To figure out if you need to adjust your targets, consider what has changed in your business or life that could have changed your priorities. You may be able to make a small modification to your goals, or you may need to scrap your list and start fresh.

Solidify a New Plan

Once you’ve confirmed your goals are still valid, made the necessary changes and/or revamped your objectives, it’s time to create a new plan. The most important questions to answer as you plan are:

  • Where do I want to go over the next six months (or whatever time frame you allot before your next check-in)?
  • What needs to happen in order for me to get there?

Take enough time to create a plan that is realistic but still challenging, and one you can commit to fully. If you get stuck, review this article on SMART goal setting to make sure you’re developing a plan you can stick to.

The most important element of a goal check-in is to make sure your goals are on your mind and in your actions, and that you’re consistently moving forward.

Remember that goal setting isn’t a set-in-stone activity; your goals can grow and change as your business and life grows and changes. As long as you’re motivated to move forward, your goals are working for you.

Image credit: LarryLens

Alyssa GregoryAlyssa Gregory
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Alyssa Gregory is a digital and content marketer, small business consultant, and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire — a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.

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