In January I released a free downloadable guide called the January Book. It is the planning and review process Dave and I go through each year, and I put 9 years worth of experience into the guide. The response it had blew me right away and it has had to date over 1000 downloads. Part of the January Book process is reviewing it in the middle of the year, so I wanted to write a post about this. I also wanted to write a mini mid-year review guide.
Incredibly, we are half way through the year of 2018, and at the peak of summer. The Solstice has passed, as has the full moon for the month, and all of these factors have inspired me to release and review. The 1st July marks the start of the last half of the year. It is a very good time to review the goals we set at the start of the year and see how we are doing, assess whether any of our goals need to change, harvest the lessons learned and figure out some practicable action steps.
Whether you have been checking in on your goals regularly, or you can’t really even remember what they were, this process is useful.
My July Book is a shorter version of my January Book. Similarly to the January Book, this guide is the culmination of 9.5 years of mine and Dave's planning and review process. We have tweaked and fine tuned the process over the years and this here is the best version yet, and the one that serves us the best. We hope it can be helpful for you too. It won’t take long to fill in, but I always find the mid year check in incredibly useful.
If you would like to get the guide I wrote right now, skip to the end and fill in the form.
This year I am adjusting some of my goals, continuing with others and scrapping some too. I haven’t finished the process yet but I am already feeling really proud of myself for what I have done this year so far, even though it hasn't quite gone to plan.
I didn’t actually share many of my own plans in January; I focussed on writing the printable. So I have decided to share some of the plans I made, and discuss my thoughts about where I have got to here. Some of this feels quite vulnerable to share, but I love a bit of honest content.
2018 plans 6 months on….
I knew moving house in December would probably trigger my anxiety, but that, coupled with sleep deprivation, and some money worries has meant this year has felt a lot wobblier for a lot longer than I anticipated it would. I have ended up being much more focussed on trying to look after my mental health and am proud of the way I have navigated this, and continue to navigate it. But it means some of my plans and hopes haven’t happened yet, in lieu of switching into healing/hibernation mode as much as I could. I am giving myself a lot of grace in this process, safe in the knowledge that it’s fine for plans to change or pivot or pause if you need them too.
I’ll summarise a couple of key areas below.
The original plan: Our goal was to basically keep working on our marriage, to make proper time to be together in.
The Verdict: Dave and I feel strong which is mildly miraculous given some of the stresses and tiredness earlier this year.! I reckon we could be making more time for date nights either at home or away. Our intentions for the year still feel right, and this goal feels good. I feel pretty grateful for our marriage, in all it’s imperfection.
Next steps: Just keep going with original plan. Put date nights in the diary. Keep working on it! And also celebrate it too.
The original plan: To focus on us as parents. To work on being respectful and not being too controlling. Spend lots of good connecty time with Frankie and support her through big sisterdom and school. I also wanted to put breastfeeding boundaries and sleep boundaries in with Auden too.
The verdict: Overall I think we’re doing pretty well here. But I would like to focus on creating more routine and rhythm in our home. I have broadly stuck to my boundaries around breastfeeding but as Auden gets older I am aware he needs more stimulation. Things feel pretty chaotic at home too!
Next steps: Our intentions again feel really right here: to continue to work on ourselves as parents; to be respectful and patient, to kick back against the culturally expected (and instinctual) norms around controlling our kids. Practically we will build in some time to make an actual plan, spend 1:1 time with each child, and try some new routines.
The original plan: In January I made a plan to up my income targets and begin to seriously support our family. I wanted to do a lot more styling and teaching. Dave and I decided to focus on building more joint work together as a photographer and stylist (we work well together). I wanted to feel more confident in my skills and feel proud of my achievements. I wanted to approach this year with bravery (my word for the year) as I put myself out there with new events and ticket sales. I committed to more regular blogging and instagram sharing. I wanted to feel more organised in my content planning too. I committed to not working for free.
The verdict: I have mixed success here. I am incredibly proud of meeting my income targets this year and bringing in some dream brand collaborations which are well paid. I ran 3 day retreats in my home and launched a residential retreat, all of which sold out.
The interiors styling plans are yet to be completed and I need some time to figure out why it hasn’t happened yet (tiredness, busy-ness or not right-ness) Other opportunities came up instead, like being asked to co-host the Nature Sessions retreat next week. Dave and I have just cemented our joint offering, and I have put a page on my website about it. I upped my prices with my current clients (brand collaborations and styling clients), charging more to new clients and stopped doing brand collaborations for free unless they are very high ticket items, or charitable/ a cause I really believe in. This was on the back of realising that I have just 2 mornings a week childcare and have to be a total ninja with my time management, working only on things which feel super exciting or are well paid. I literally do not have the time to work for free.
Next steps: I need to make some proper space (literally blocking out a few days in my diary) in which to think about my interiors styling offering. I need to focus on fewer things at once, so again, more journalling and thinking time to figure out what I can focus on and what I could drop. I’ll continue with my blog and instagram commitments, both content wise and money wise. Dave and I will start building relationships with likeminded local (and ones further a field) brands who we might be able to help with styling and photography. I will continue to run day retreats and will plan another 2 residential retreats for next year too (whoa, those feel scary but exciting)
This is a very stripped down version of a couple of my goals. I included the marriage one because it feels like a “win”, and the professional one because things haven’t really gone to plan. In each, I am taking the wins, learning the lessons and charting a path forwards. I am also giving myself a very hearty pat on the back and celebratory cup of tea too.
How about you? How are you doing with your goals?
You can get a copy of the process we use below. I hope it can be helpful for you. And please let me know how you find it!
If you want to catch up from the beginning, read all about the January Book here