Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

Half yearly review: being honest with yourself

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. Carl Jung

Now is the perfect time to be honest with yourself and take a hard look at how you are progressing towards your goal for the year. I embrace reviews. They give me a chance to pause, reflect, assess and make the decision to keep going or adjust as needed with what I have wanted to achieve for the year.

Reviews are often avoiding because deep down we know why we are not achieving our goal and we don’t like the answer as it is confronting. It might be because of:

  • lack of commitment – you have chosen a goal that you felt you “should do” but it isn’t something you have really committed to
  • loss of interest – you were really into the goal at the start but you have now lost interest in it
  • feeling overwhelmed – the goal set was too big or too vauge and you don’t know how to make headway into it
  • being afraid to fail – you are afraid that if you try to achieve this goal you might fail, so it feels safer to not try rather than fail
  • taking the easier option – you are avoiding doing the hard work required
  • lack of focus – you want to achieve this goal but you also want to do lots of things, so your time is spread thinly and you haven’t given it the focus you need
  • lack of time – you keep hoping to find time to work on the goal but it just doesn’t appear. The reality is we will never find the time, we have to make the time.
  • lack of energy – when you do get time to work on your goal, you are feeling tired and don’t have it in you to give it the energy it deserves.

If you have read any of my monthly reviews this year or in previous years, you will see that I have pretty much noted all of these reasons for not establishing or continuing the habits I choose to support my goal for the year. Most recently I acknowledged in my April review that I was simply taking the easier option instead of sticking to my habit of doing a 20-minute unguided meditation:

April did have a lot going on for me and I can see that my tendency is to drop what seems to be the easiest thing to drop to give me some more time. I was simply taking the easier option. The reality would be that I would have easily accumulated 20 minutes on my phone throughout the day in short spells and I would have had other time across the day pfaffing about. To say I didn’t have time for it is disingenuous. This is definitely a mindset issue for me that I am going to have to work on.

Monthly review: taking the easier option

To really make progress on your goal you need to be honest with yourself. If it is important to you, you will make the time, have the energy, save your focus and put in the commitment. Yes, it can be scary because you might fail. Yes, it can take sacrifice and you may miss out on doing other things you like to do. And yes it isn’t always exciting to do the work but the end result will be worth it.

If I had to give myself a mark for the year to date on how I am achieving my goal which is:

Half yearly review: being honest with yourself

it would be about 70%. I have made good progress but it could be better. To move this mark up I am looking at what is working well:

  • Stacking habits onto already formed habits so they become part of daily routine
  • Setting habits that are big enough of a task to feel meaningful but small enough to feel doable

And look at what I am not doing well:

  • Using time as an excuse as to avoiding doing things that make me feel uncomfortable
  • Not allocating enough of my energy to establishing habit I am finding more challenging

I definitely have work to do but I can take away from this review that there is plenty of scope for me to attain my goal by the end of the year through making small sustainable changes. I need to keep showing up every day, be honest with myself about how I am progressing and adjust accordingly.

How are you progressing towards your 2021 goal?

Half yearly review

HabitConnection to goal - Do the inner work to be able to give more to those around me.Quote - “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” - Carl JungHalf yearly Review
Meditate in the morning for at least 20 minutesI have been meditating for a number of years now, but lately it is often left to the end of the day and I listen to a guided meditation before I go to sleep.

To reap the real benefits of meditation I want to practice in the first half of the day, non guided and for a minimum of 20 minutes. In this time emotions, feelings and issues will come up and I will need to learn to not react to it, simply observe it and focus on the meditation session.
“The more regularly and the more deeply you meditate, the sooner you will find yourself acting always from a center of peace.” - J. Donald Walters
I have meditated for longer and more consistently than I have ever done before this year. So while I am not hitting this habit 100% of the time, I am really happy with my progress.

I am not happy with my progress for just the sake of progress but because meditation has a hugely positive impact on my overall well being. It helps me feel calmer, I feel I react better to triggering situations and it also helps me feel more rested.

In many recent sessions, I have been practicing box breathing as part of the meditation and am finding this to be super beneficial as it really helps to engage the parasympathetic system.

Participate in a weekly faith based activityI have a strong personal faith but feel that it needs a recharge and refresh. Immersing myself in more faith based activities will help me achieve this and to examine my spirituality at a deeper level.“Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.” - Khalil GibranThis is well established now. My success in making this habit stick is due it being big enough of a task to feel meaningful but small enough to feel doable.
Write in a gratitude journal dailyFor some reason I stopped my gratitude journal process in the latter half of 2020 and I have noticed its absence. Part of my journal entry in the evening is to note down how I could have made the day even better. Reflecting each day on how I can improve is an important part of doing the inner work.“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.” - Christina Baldwin
This habit is also well established. As this habit is stacked with another and it takes me only a few minutes I have found this habit quite easy to set and continue with - if only all habit formation was this easy!
Learn and speak Phil's love language well and dailyI read The 5 Love Languages® by Dr. Gary Chapman a few years ago and loved the concept. For some reason I never got Phil to do the quiz and work out his love language. I will re-read the book and get us both to do the quiz .

I will then focus on making sure I am speaking Phil's love language on a daily basis.
“Love is a choice you make everyday.” - Gary ChapmanThe last two months have seen great progress with this habit. I started focusing on this habit later than others. When establishing habits it is important not to try and do too many at once. Establishing habits requires mental energy at the beginning and we have a finite amount of this. To ensure we sustainably set habits we need to make sure we will have the mental energy to focus on it.