Mid-Year Review & Regroup

by Shana Montesol Johnson

Not to alarm you or anything, but 2011 is half over. Maybe it’s because I’m on vacation, but I’m feeling a bit reflective lately – holidays are a good time to take stock, reflect, and regroup.  Even if you are in the thick of workweek, it’s still worth taking some time this week or month to look back on the first half of 2011 and plan how to make the most of the remains of the year. Here’s a guide.

It’s hard to believe that it’s July already – where has the year gone?!  It seems like only yesterday we were reflecting on 2010, planning for the year ahead, and telling everyone about our New Year’s resolutions (which oddly, made us less likely to fulfill them).  If we keep on keeping on like we are now, will we like how the year turns out?

The good news: there’s still time – six months! – to make the most of this year.

Take advantage of the somewhat slower pace of life during summer (perhaps when your boss is on vacation? Or when you have a holiday yourself?) to carve out a few minutes of quiet time to think back on the past six months. If you’re so inclined, assemble some items to jog your memory – your planner or calendar, photos, or your journal.  It may also help to look through your old Facebook or Twitter status updates, and emails that you’ve sent.  And if you wrote down any of your resolutions, goals, or plans for 2011, scan through those as well.

The questions below are meant to guide your reflection and planning. Approach them in a way that feels appealing to you, and don’t feel obligated to answer each and every one. (Although if one of the questions particularly bothers you, it may be the one most worth answering!)  They can apply to work / career as well as personal life.

I’ve included the questions in a two-page PDF for your convenience, with space provided for your answers.  You can also use them as discussion points for a conversation with your spouse or best friend.  Or if you keep a journal, you can try them as writing prompts for a journal entry.

Looking back on the past six months…

  1. Some of the high points have been:
  2. Some of the low points have been:
  3. Some of the things I’ve learned are:
  4. Something I am proud of is:
  5. Something I wish I’d handled differently is:
  6. Something that has worked well is:
  7. If I had to choose a word or phrase to reflect the “theme” of the first half of 2011 (e.g. “risk,” “overwhelmed,” “overjoyed,” “exhausted,” “exhilarated,” etc.) it would be:
  8. For the last half of 2011, I’d like the “theme” to be:
  9. Some things I’d like to accomplish in the remaining months of 2011:
  10. Some of the things I’ve been putting up with over the past 6 months are:
  11. Things I will stop putting up with and take care of once and for all, before the end of 2011, are:
  12. How I would like people to describe me (in my various roles — as a leader, a professional, a colleague, a friend, a parent, a human being, etc. ) in 2011 are:
  13. Some things I can do in July-December to bring more fun into my work and my life:
  14. Some actions I can take in the next few weeks to get closer to my vision for 2011 are:
  15. Choosing from the actions listed in #14, one action I commit to taking in the next 4 days is:

May the remainder of 2011 bring you closer to a high-impact career (and life!) that you love!

Care to share?  I’d love to hear any of your insights from the questions above. Please share in the comments section below.

Photo by Jamiesrabbits


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }


Working full time, training for a half-marathon & duathlon, planning a new business, renovating a house – phew. I LOVE this list of questions and will relish taking the time to thoughtfully answer them. What an awesome way to regroup. Thanks for the nudge, Shana!


Shana Montesol Johnson

Kristen, you are on fire! What an impressive list of project and accomplishments — and it’s only been half a year! I’m glad you found the questions thought-provoking — I look forward to hearing about your insights and your new plans for the rest of 2011.


Sara D

Thanks, Shana – I’m looking forward to doing this reflection! I’ve had a pretty life-changing 6 months.

One tip: A visual resource I use for past refection is tweet clouds: http://tweetcloud.icodeforlove.com/. It creates a weighted visual picture of the words you’ve used over the last month, 6 months, year. I find it pretty enlightening to see not only what I’ve been tweeting about, but which words I’ve been using most.

For example, I fundamentally changed my sleeping habits when I noticed how strong the word “tired” appeared in my cloud. First, I want to be better rested, and second, that isn’t a word I wish to use when presenting myself to the world via twitter!

Hope you find it interesting…


Shana Montesol Johnson

Sara, thanks for your comment, and your suggestion about tweet clouds. Love it! I think I’ll include that in the next version of the exercise. I love how you got some enlightenment on your own patterns, and then decided to do something about it. I can’t wait to try it out! And I look forward to hearing about any additional insights you have from this reflection about the whirlwind 6 months you have had, and what you’d like to bring into the next 6 months.


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