Act Smart! Good Tools for a Great Career: Annual Mid-Yearly Check-In

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Ain’t no party like a mid-year check-in party because a mid-year check-in party means you might actually get something done (and have it be fun). Okay—maybe it won’t exactly be fun. And I’m 99% sure that’s the worst play ever on The Meme That Shwayze Started. But if there is one thing I’ve learned from my successes and failures, it’s that without regular check-ins and some kind of accountability, it’s hard to create meaningful, lasting change. So turn to (or ferret out) that list of intentions you set for yourself way, way back in December of 2015, and let’s get honest together!

In the spirit of good measurement principles, I’m including a mid-year rating for how I think I’ve succeeded so far. You don’t have to do this, of course, but what’s measured (and written down) stands a better chance of getting tended to properly. I’m also including a rationale for the rating, and a short summary of next steps, typically small, doable actions.


1. Get my house in order

  • Rating: 5/10
  • Rationale: I continue to be a diehard devotee of decluttering, but there are a couple of big, gnarly tasks that I’ve been avoiding—namely, repainting and recarpeting. I also desperately need an air-conditioner (or an alternate workspace). I have started the ball rolling on the air-conditioning front (spurred on by summer-with-a-vengeance), but am stalled at the starting gate on the walls and floor.
  • Next steps: Follow up on the a/c inquiry. Set aside a weekend in the calendar to paint the smallest room (a microscopic hallway).

2. Continue lettering as a means of personal expression

  • Rating: 9/10
  • Rationale: On my birthday last year, I committed to lettering a sign a day, every day, for an entire year. The result? As of today, I have lettered 275 more things than I had a year ago. I get a “9” because I’ve missed a handful (okay, two handfuls) of days. But it’s still a big accomplishment, so I’m only giving myself a one-point “ding”.
  • Next steps: Keep lettering a sign a day. Do some math to figure out how many I need to make up in order to meet my quota of 365 by September 13th.

3. Travel to the places I love in California

  • Rating: 8/10
  • Rationale: So far, I’ve made it out to Palm Springs and the Central Coast once, and up to Ojai twice. Just knowing I was sitting down to do this review made me pull the trigger on a desired trip to NorCal. That’s damned decent for six months, plus I also started a travel savings fund and have been saving assiduously to fund future trips. (Wishing ≠ action.) Hence, the high score.
  • Next steps: Plot out a weekend for next getaway, and BOOK IT. (Some goals are definitely more fun than others.)

4. Get back on the fitness wagon

  • Rating: 6/10
  • Rationale: I spent most of the year up until June thinking about getting fit, and only June itself actually doing the footwork (walking, in my case). But a start is a start! I began by reporting to my accountability group that I wanted to walk 5K steps per day. On my own, I’ve upped it to 10K+ per day.
  • Next steps: Commit to a minimum of 10K steps per day with my group. Add a modest amount of stretching and weight-bearing exercise.

5. Open myself up to relationship

  • Rating: 7/10
  • Rationale: While I have not been on a date yet in 2016 (there’s a sexy disclosure!), I have actively chosen to do things with individual friends, and said “yes” to group invitations to open myself up to socializing in that Other Way.
  • Next steps: Continue to participate in one-on-one and group activities.

6. Take up piano or ukulele

  • Rating: 1/10
  • Rationale: With zero movement on this front, it feels odd to give myself any kind of score above “0”. However, I have been trying to get into a particular ukulele class for the entire six months with no luck due to scheduling conflicts, so I’ll give myself one point.
  • Next steps: Find another class, or bite the bullet and pay for private classes.

7. Dance! Dance! Dance!

  • Rating: 7/10
  • Rationale: I have yet to get out to an actual scheduled night of dancing. However, I have availed myself of every dancing opportunity, and managed to get out there and shake it in public a handful of times. Again, I have been on the prowl for the kinds of venues I’m looking to hit up, just without much luck so far.
  • Next steps: Make a plan with a buddy, find a place, and GO. I have a friend who is game—possibly two friends. Really, sometimes it’s all about the buddy system.

As a special footnote, this year, rather than doing a traditional resolutions list (or even a slightly less traditional Best-Year-Yet goals list), I used a (dun dun DUHHNNNNN) vision board. It definitely wasn’t my idea. Rightly or not, apart from my discomfort with the “manifesting” concept, I feel silly clipping things from magazines as a fifty-something woman in a way that felt totally appropriate as a 12-year-old girl. But if you get desperate enough, sometimes you can get willing to look a little silly for a chance to get what you want. And while this article professing the scientific validity of visualization isn’t quite scientific enough for my tastes, it makes some excellent points. So between that and some pretty impressive results, I’m willing to continue visualizing with crafts, just for today.

(And if you’ve had any luck with vision boards, please share your experience, along with any tips. I’m as open-minded as I’ll ever be . . . I think!)


Colleen Wainwright is a writerspeaker-layabout who started calling herself “The Communicatrix” when she hit three hyphens. She spent a decade writing commercials and another decade acting in them for cash money. Now she uses her powers for good instead of evil by helping creatives learn how to strut their stuff in a way that makes the world fall madly in love with them.

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