July is a great time for some reflective practices and for performing a mid-year review.
The word ‘review’ can sound very business-like and you may feel a resistance to apply it to your personal life. If this is how you feel, that’s totally fine, simply use another word that fits better. You can call it a mid-year check-in, revision, or even reflection.
It’s an opportunity to take some time and look back at the first 6 months of the year and take stock of everything that happened in your life.
The important thing is not to feel bad if you haven’t defined goals for the year! Spending time doing a mid-year review will still be a very valuable exercise. Furthermore, it will provide you with awareness of where you need to focus in the second half of the year in order to enjoy your life more.
In this post I will share with you the power of reflective practice, how to use it to perform a mid-year review and how to feel better about your life.
The importance of reflective practice
Reflective practice is the key to doing your mid-year review and it’s important to understand what reflective practice is before we dive into our review. Here’s a definition by US philosopher Donald Schon, who developed the concept of reflective practice:
Reflective practice is the ability to reflect on one’s actions so as to engage in a process of continuous learning.
Our learning is enhanced by deliberate reflection on experience. Experience alone may not be enough. Reflective practice is hugely important in increasing self-awareness. It will help you to better understand yourself and others around you.
Acknowledging your feelings is central to any reflective practice. When you look back at the first six months of this year, you will not only think about actions and events, you will also be reliving them in your mind.
Don’t fight whatever comes up!
The more you connect to the feelings, and even how and where they feel in your body, the deeper your mid-year review will be.
How to prepare for a mid-year review
Now that we know what a reflective practice is and it’s benefits, let’s see how we can use it in our mid-year review.
The best tool for this is journaling. But before you start, make sure you are ready for this work. It will be best if you create an environment where you are uninterrupted by kids, phone calls, social media, your partner or anyone else.
Maybe carve out a few hours and make sure to tell others in your family that this time is very important for you and ask for their support. You may wish to share some of your learnings with them later or even invite them to do the same exercise. This could be a very powerful and vulnerable sharing experience.
Before you start writing, consider doing a short meditation to put you in a relaxed frame of mind. Lighting your favourite candle or playing soft background music can be very soothing and may help your thoughts flow.
Journaling prompts for your mid-year review
Setting the right environment for this work is crucial. But now it’s time to do some real work. Grab your favourite pen and notebook and let’s start reflecting.
Consider answering these questions:
Try not to overthink your answers, but allow your pen to flow across the page. Trust that whatever comes up for you is just the thing you need to hear from yourself.
What To Do With Your Review
Now that you’ve completed your reflective practice, try not to rush to get back to your busy life. Sit with your experience for a while. Maybe even read your notes once again.
How do you feel looking back? What stood out for you the most?
Allow yourself to honour your experiences from the first six months of this year.
Unfortunately, it is quite natural for us to notice all the negatives and not-quite-there’s. So don’t be alarmed if this is where your attention goes. However, we must attempt to change this internal chatter if we want to feel better about ourselves and our lives!
Thinking positively will lead to a happier life experience. According to Psychology Today, “happy people are more creative, solve problems faster, and tend to be more mentally alert”.
Use Your Mid-Year Review For Good!
One of the most effective antidotes for a negative outlook is gratitude. Research finds that people who practice gratitude experience higher levels of positive emotions, have more joy, optimism and happiness in their lives, and they feel more connected.
So let’s combine these two very powerful things – positive thinking and gratitude. Create a powerful personal gratitude statement so it reminds you of the positive experiences from the first 6 months of the year.
There are a few rules:
- Start with ‘I am grateful’.
- Make it in present tense.
- Give specific examples of what happened or what you achieved.
- Use a couple of things that stand out the most from your review.
- Make sure to include something about yourself, not just others.
- Mention one of your values (include link to ‘What are values’ blog).
- End with ‘so that’ statement to project your positive experience into the future.
I know, it seems like a lot of rules, but the basic structure of your sentence is quite simple: I am grateful ……, so that….
Here are a few examples, note that I highlighted words relating to values in coral:
- I am grateful I went back to my dance classes and that my family supports me by cooking dinners twice a week, so that I do something that brings me joy.
- I am grateful I had the courage to apply for my promotion and that I got it, so that I can apply a more creative approach to my business life.
- I am grateful I started to work part time, so that I can experience more balance in my life.
Now your turn! Using the process above, come up with your own personal gratitude statement. It will allow you to feel great about the first half of this year and motivate you to take more positive steps before the end of the year.
Look at this statement often, especially when things don’t go so well, so it gives you a positive boost.
Following my reflective process of a mid-year review will help you to start being more present with what’s happening in your life and feel more positive about it. Leave a comment below to share your experience with mid-year review. Or book a free discovery call with me if you need support to untangle some of the learnings and how they relate to your values.