5 surprising lessons from my personal mid-year review

Success Is Target by pakorn

In a previous article, I gave tips on how to conduct a personal mid-year review. I completed mine early this month, and it combined personal and business goals because they feed into each other.

In this article, I’ll share some surprises from the review. I hope this article validates the importance of reviewing your goals at least once during the year.

Writing this article was not easy because it felt as if nimejianika nje (I’ve exposed myself). However, I know that many of my readers will benefit from this kind of self-reflection. So here goes…

Lessons From My Personal Mid-Year Review

#1: The spiritual development process I was using was not working

Spiritual growth is my main goal for this year and I was using a process that had worked in the past.

Sometime in May, I realized that I was not happy with the results I was getting. I took that as a clear warning to change direction.

During the review, I posed a question to God and asked for the next step forward.

The answer came less than a week later when my sister called and asked if I was interested in working through Rick Warren’s A Purpose-Driven Life with her and our other sister. I’ve ignored this book for many years, but this time, it felt right.

27 days later, that book has led taken me on an amazing journey of self and spiritual discovery. It has also brought me and my sisters closer as we share what we’re learning.

Lesson: What worked in the past will not necessarily work today or in the future.

#2: It was time to shift the business focus

I was surprised by this result because I wasn’t prepared for it. I knew it was coming but expected it to happen next year.

During the review, I realized that I wasn’t enjoying business coaching as much as I used to. I was also not having great success signing up clients for startup business coaching.

Much as I enjoy helping people set and achieve business goals, it had reached a point where this aspect of my business was beginning to feel like a job.

I also noticed that it would take marketing to more than 20 people to get one person who was raring to start their dream business. Most of the people I was meeting want to start a business but were not ready to make the move.

There was a time when I loved the process of helping people overcome the fear of getting started. However, I wasn’t feeling this love to the same extent as before.

What worked in the past will not necessarily work today or in the future. Click To Tweet

During the review, I took a close look at testimonials from past clients. All my clients, including the business coaching ones, noted that the personal changes they made were the best results of our work together.

A closer look revealed something I wasn’t ready to see, but that needed to be seen. It was time to turn around and go back where I started – with life coaching.

Being faithful to such insights is important so I’ve polished up my old program called Free To Be Me and this is the only foundational program I’ll be offering this year.

The moment I did this and started informing people of the change, I immediately got requests for more information and sign-ups for strategy sessions.

What other sign did I need to show that this was the right track?

This shift is still work in progress and I’ll share more of it in another article.

A second realization was that the number of inquiries on how to start and grow a coaching business had increased. When a group of coaches-in-training requested for a teleseminar, it was a clear sign to start mentoring new coaches.

Mentor coaching was a long term goal that has arrived 2 years before I was ready for it. I’m now in the process of revamping the Create Your Dream Business coaching program, which is perfect for this work.

Take a step of faith on something you know will change your life, career or business for the better. Click To Tweet

[Shameless self-promotion alert]

Making this turnaround also meant letting go of working with startups. However, it didn’t make sense to just abandon the work already done. I needed a way to help those who want to start businesses, without getting myself totally involved in the process.

Here’s the solution…

If you’re interested in starting a business, you can get help from my book 12 Weeks to Startup. This is a self-coaching manual that summarizes the same steps I would take the business startup clients through in the first 3 months of coaching.

I’ve now added the following freebies to the book:

  • Free 12-week e-course: I had a lot of information and tips that could not fit in the book. So I compiled it into a series of emails that are sent out every Monday for 12 weeks.
  • Free email coaching for the 12 weeks that you get the e-course: You do your weekly lesson and email me your answers, and I will give you with my opinion and tips on the changes you need to make.

These bonuses are free for now as the 12 Weeks to Startup e-course is still in the test phase. They will no longer be available once the e-course is launched.

So if you really want to start a business this year, I highly recommend that you get the 12 Weeks to Startup book now and take advantage of the bonuses.

[End of shameless self-promotion]

Lesson: You don’t have to throw out products or programs that are no longer working for you. You can repackage them and offer them in a way that doesn’t require constant attention from you.

#3: I have to get serious about being financially independent 

I was a work from home mum for many years and never had to think about bills because my hubby shouldered them.

At that time, the business was more of a hobby that took care of the hours when my children were in school.

When I left my husband 2 years ago, I suddenly had to start thinking bills, bills, bills for the first time in more than a decade.

That was a huge mind-shift because I expected him to pay child support on a regular basis as we had agreed upon.

When the support didn’t come, I would spend lots of time trying to force, coerce, and sometimes guilt him into making the payments.

During the mid-year review, which also included a personal financial review, I realized that it was time to put on my big girl underpants and get serious about my current and future finances.

It was time to take 100% responsibility for all my finances and not rely on child support. It was also time to let go of all the expectations I had about support from him.

And it was time to take my business very very seriously. This means increasing my fees to the value that my work brings, and to stop being available to all people at all times.

Lesson: God has blessed me with an amazing business and I am capable of taking care of my family. I need to focus on my acres of diamonds (the business) and take charge of my financial destiny.

(Can you hear my ego protesting loudly?)

#4: There will always be money for things that matter 

The best decision I made this year was to sign up for further coach training.

This was a huge step because I didn’t have the money to pay for the complete program. I took a step of faith and paid for the first month.

That decision alone has changed my business, finances, coaching skills and belief in my abilities.

It has blown my business 2 years into the future and helped me become more focused, determined and consistent.

Interestingly, money is no longer an issue and I’m completing my training in August this year.

Lesson: Take a step of faith on something you know will change your life, career or business for the better. Don’t let money be the reason for lack of action and/or growth.

Don’t let money be the reason for lack of action and/or growth. Click To Tweet

#5: It’s time to let go of some goals or habits

These have been overtaken by time, are no longer interesting, or I’ve outgrown them. They include:

1. Trying to change many areas of my life at the same time

I was working on about 4 different areas, each of which requires a huge investment of time, energy and mental focus.

Sadly, all the balls dropped and now I have to start over again.

My new rule is to improve one area of my life and one area of my business each quarter.

This means focusing on 2-4 big changes in my life and business each year instead of 8-10 per year.

For the next half of this year, the main goals are: having a full coaching practice and waiting list (for the business) and improving my health and fitness (personal).

Achieving these goals will have a positive impact on my finances and image – both of which are areas that need improvement right now.

2. Social media for personal and business use

Much as I’m an early adopter of technology and new ways of doing things, constant attention to social media has not worked for me.

There was a point when I was spending a lot of time catching up with Facebook updates. And then there’s Whatsapp where people kept adding me to groups that I had no interest in.

I won’t even dwell on people who would send Whatsapp updates at all hours of the night…

I mean who cares whether your cat ate this evening or not?

And you’re sending the message at 4:00am because you can’t sleep!?

On the day that I forgot to switch off my phone’s internet!


(take a deep breath and stop ranting, Caroline).

Anyway, I deleted my Whatsapp account and stopped checking out Facebook every day. Luckily, my newsfeed has also stopped updating due to a bug on Facebook.

This bug has affected some FB accounts, and I can’t see what other people have posted unless I  go to their profiles.

Sheer bliss and silence, aaah!

(that’s a sigh of happiness)

I’m now working on a business social media strategy that will take only 15 minutes a day to implement. Using the Pomodoro technique has also helped manage time when going online.

Another tactic that worked was to avoid going online before 3:00pm on weekdays and rarely on weekends. If I want to connect with someone, they are just a phone call away.

Change never comes easy. However, it's the only way to grow. Click To Tweet

3. It’s time to get out more

I’m an extreme introvert and generally hang out with close family and friends. I love quiet and can spend hours or even days happily in my own company.

Interestingly, I’m not shy at all and can have conversations with total strangers. I enjoy myself at parties, flow through networking events, and absolutely love public speaking.

However, these energy bursts last a short time, especially when in large groups. Spending more than 3 hours in a noisy place leads to irritation and sometimes escalates into headaches.

This year, I started avoiding noisy places and limited physical business interactions to absolutely necessary ones.

The structure of my business is almost 100% virtual. This means that I can meet people on the phone, Skype, and through video-conferencing. Perfect for an introvert.

As the business grows, there are more people requesting for physical meetings, so I’m shifting to be more out there. That’s a major change I’m working on and I can already hear some people cheering!

Lesson: Change never comes easy. However, it’s the only way to grow.

Life is about growth and if you don’t grow on a consistent basis, you will stagnate and regress. Click To Tweet


The surprises from the review have helped me make important changes in my life and business. I would have missed these changes had I waited for the end of year review.

This review revealed that I need to learn new things and implement new ways of doing things. Getting stuck on ideas, goals, or habits that are past their time only leads to frustration when they no longer work.

Life is about growth and if you don’t grow on a consistent basis, you will stagnate and regress. This is why it’s important to constantly review your personal, professional, or business goals.

Each review will help you identify:

  • what’s working (you do more of it),
  • what’s not working (you drop it),
  • and what needs to change (you create a plan for the change).

It’s not possible to anticipate all changes that will happen in your life. However, taking care of the ones that you can will help improve your life and make life easier to manage.

Those are the 5 surprising lessons from my mid-year review and the changes I’ve started implementing in the second half of the year.

It’s your turn now…

Have you done your personal mid-year review and what were your results?

What were the surprises and how will you handle them?

I’d love to hear from you so please share your experience and thoughts in the Comments below.

(Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos)


Caroline Gikonyo is a Life and Business Coach at New Dawn Solutions. She helps brilliant professional and business women become more successful while reducing the time they spend working. She is the author of 12 Weeks to Startup: How to Turn Your Skills, Talents, Knowledge and Experiences Into a Business, which is a self-coaching manual that helps professionals start businesses while still working.

How to conduct a personal mid-year review


Review Word Shows Reviewing Evaluating Evaluate And Reviews by Stuart Miles

Mid-year reviews are a given in the corporate world. Have you considered incorporating them in your personal life?

Imagine for a moment that your life is an organization, and you had set your key performance indicators (goals) for this year.

How would your manager evaluate you in the mid-year review?

What scores would you get in your key personal performance indicators?

Would you get a recommendation, a bonus, or even a promotion?

Of course, you don’t have a manager for your life and maybe you haven’t even set goals for the year. Don’t let these stop you from conducting a mid-year review.

Benefits of a Personal Mid-Year Review

Personal mid-year reviews will help you:

  • Evaluate whether you’re on track with your goals for the year.
  • Determine which actions have been more beneficial and which ones have not.
  • Identify the challenges you’ve had to overcome and learn from them.
  • Come up with more effective strategies for achieving your goals.
  • Identify areas where you could make simple adjustments in the second half of the year.
  • Make quick corrections on your goals or tactics.
  • Maintain work-life balance.

The end result is that your confidence will increase as you will have a snapshot of where you are in relation to your goals for the year.

How to Conduct a Personal Mid-Year Review

1. Prepare for the review

This is a critical step because you need to be in a conducive mental and physical environment for the review.

The preparation will include:

  • Finding a suitable place for the review process – preferably away from your home or office.
  • Collecting all the information you have on your goals for this year.
  • Putting together your writing (or drawing) materials.
  • Taking the day off and informing people that you’ll be offline or unavailable most of the day.

2. Evaluate your goals for this year

On the day of the review, start by looking through the goals you set for the year and ask yourself whether they are still relevant and meaningful for you.

You can use the following questions to guide you:

  1. Do you still want to continue with these goals or have some of them changed?
  2. Are there goals that you need to drop?
  3. Were you overly ambitious in setting some goals and need to scale them down?
  4. Which goals have you enjoyed working on and why?
  5. Which ones haven’t you enjoyed working on and why?

Goals are not cast in stone, and it’s OK to refine them as you gain new knowledge and/or experience about them. It’s also OK to drop goals that no longer serve you or that are not in line with your life at this moment.

The aim here is to remind yourself WHY you set these goals in the first place. Your goals should bring more meaning into your life even as they stretch you out of your comfort zone.

3. What have you achieved?

Many people tend to focus on what has not been achieved and forget to celebrate progress made.

Where are you in relation to the goals you set? What progress have you made?

Take a look at the goals that are still important for this year; map out the actions you’ve taken on these goals, and resulting achievements.

Review Magnifier Indicates Evaluate Appraisal And Assessing by Stuart Miles

4. What obstacles or challenges have you experienced?

It’s rare that you will achieve your goals without facing internal and external challenges.

Internal challenges are your thoughts, beliefs, habits, and actions that create self-sabotage. For example, maybe you set a goal to start a part-time business. However, you spend most of your free time hanging out with friends or watching TV instead of working on the business goal.

You have no control over external challenges. For example, suppose you set a goal to slim down by 10kgs by June this year. However, you got sick and had to be put on a special diet with no strenuous exercise. This will have a negative impact on your goal.

Create a list of the challenges you’ve faced and identified the ones that were internal. These are the ones you have to watch out for because they will sabotage your goal-achievement process.

Finally, are there mistakes you made and what did they cost you? What will you do to avoid making the same mistakes in the future?

5. What have been your learning experiences?

Next, you need to categorize the lessons you’ve learnt as you worked on your goals. Interestingly, most of your lessons will come from the challenges and mistakes.

So what have you learnt from:

  • setting your goals?
  • your achievements?
  • the obstacles encountered?
  • the process of overcoming obstacles?

6. What is the way forward?

It’s now time to decide what you will focus on for the next 6 months.

Pick 1-3 goals to focus on for the second half of the year. Prioritize them with #1 being the one that will have the most positive impact on your life when you achieve it. You will work on your #1 goal daily, even if for just 5 minutes a day.

For each of these goals:

  • What is one thing you can do consistently over the next 6 months for the goal?
  • How will you do it?
  • Do you need accountability? If you do, what level of accountability do you need and from whom?
  • What is one thing can you do within the next 24 hours to take action on each of the goals?

This article I wrote on goal setting will help you keep track of your goals daily, weekly, and monthly.

7. What changes will you make in your life?

What will you do differently from now on?

Can you achieve your goals without additional support? If you can’t, then what support do you need (people, training, etc).

Are there beliefs, habits, and behaviours you need to drop, change, or learn? How will you do it?

Are there people you need to bring into or drop from your life? Who are these people and how will you make the changes without causing undue harm to those you drop?

What changes do you need to make in your physical environment? How will you make these changes without incurring unnecessary financial costs?

Come up with a plan that takes care of your learning and the changes you need to make in your mental, physical, and people environments.

Incorporate this plan into your strategy for the next 6 months. Taking action on this plan will help you become more effective and efficient as you work on your goals.

Your Next Step

To complete your mid-year review:

  1. Set an appointment with yourself for the next review.
  2. Take action on the 3 things you decided to do for each goal within the next 24 hours.
  3. Congratulate yourself for having completed this exercise and celebrate this achievement.

Over to you now. Have you conducted a personal mid-year review before and how was the experience? Is there something I’ve missed out that worked for you?

And if this is the first time you’ve considered doing one, where will you start?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the Comments below.

(Image credit: Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos)


Caroline Gikonyo is a Life and Business Coach at New Dawn Solutions. She helps brilliant professional and business women become more successful while reducing the time they spend working. She is the author of 12 Weeks to Startup: How to Turn Your Skills, Talents, Knowledge and Experiences Into a Business, which is a self-coaching manual that helps professionals start businesses while still working.

A 5-step process for achieving your big goals

goal achievement

If someone had told me a few years ago that I would be writing online and enjoying it, I’d have laughed myself silly and most probably recommended that they visit Mathare Hospital for a check up.

That was my mentality about being online…until a mentor coach practically forced me to create a website for my business and write 3 articles for the website.

It took 2 weeks to complete that assignment and the only reason why I didn’t drop out of the coaching program was because I had paid my coach in full and there was no refund.

I still remember how scared I was when I finally created a website and my fingers were hovering over the “Publish” button that would make my website go live.

The next part of my assignment was to SMS all my friends and family members, give them the website address, and ask for comments on the 3 articles.

I had shivers I tell you.

Fast forward to 2016…and I spend a lot of time writing online and openly share my knowledge and experiences with strangers.

What is interesting is that publishing those 3 articles gave me the confidence to start writing. So I set a goal to write a book by 2017.

The 3 articles turned into a book that was ready and selling by May 2015. The book then became the foundation of a coaching program. The coaching program led to the creation of a business blog…and brought me to Mombasa.

Dream big, but start small

Setting and achieving goals is a challenge for many people. Almost everyone will tell you that they have big goals.

However, people get stuck, procrastinate, and never achieve their most desired goals. New Year Resolutions die off within a week, or before January is over. Big dreams quickly turn into ashes with time.

The trick to achieving your big goals is to dream big, and then break your goals into small steps that you can work on daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.

A 5-step goal achievement process that actually works

This process is what helped me write my first book a book 12 Weeks to Startup: How to Turn Your Skills, Talents, Knowledge, and Experiences Into a Business The 5-step process is the secret behind my business management and growth.

I’ve used it to:

  • turn the book into a coaching program.
  • become a blogger and writer.
  • become a better networker and public speaker.
  • start hosting teleseminars.
  • move my business from Nairobi to Mombasa.

The system works so well that I’ve taught it to my clients with amazing results. One of my clients was able to triple her business income in one year.

Best of all, using this process consistently will help you reduce overwhelm and procrastination because you’ll work on your goals one step at a time.

Simply put: the process works!

And here are the 5 steps…

Step 1: Look into the future

Think beyond the goal and fast-forward 5 years into the future:

  • What is your vision for the goal at that time (5 years from now)?
  • Where do you expect this goal to have taken you?
  • What will you do when you have achieved the goal – 5 years from now?
  • What achievements will this goal have helped you make as you worked on it?

Once you’ve answered these questions, break the overall goal into 5 main steps so that you have yearly goals for the next 5 years.

Step 2: Backward goal setting process

Work backward to further break down your yearly goals set in Step 1 above. This will give you a clear idea of what you need to work on each year. To do this, ask yourself

  1. What do you have to do in Year 4 in order to realize your Year 5 goals?
  2. What do you have to do in Year 3 in order to realize your Year 4 goals?
  3. What do you have to do in Year 2 in order to realize your Year 3 goals?
  4. What do you have to do in Year 1 in order to realize your Year 2 goals?

Answering these questions will also help you see your line of sight, which includes the targets you should focus on during Years 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1.

Step 3: Create a Line of Sight

My first mentor, the one that helped me overcome the fear of going online, taught me how to use a visual line of sight to keep track of my yearly goals.

Here’s an example of my current line of sight that was created in 2013:

Goals-Line of Sight(To create a similar Line of Sight using Microsoft Word, go to the Insert tab, select SmartArt, then Processes. Scroll down and pick Upward Arrow.)

Your line of sight will keep your goals at the top of your mind. Each year in the line cumulatively builds onto the next one and you take slow steps per year to achieve your goals.

You’ll notice that my line of sight has no financial goals although it is for my business. This is deliberate because when I focus more on finances and not on business development, I end up losing sight of what’s important for the business. I do have financial goals which I keep track of weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly.

If you’re in business and want to set financial goals for your business:

  • Start by deciding how much you want your business to earn by the end of the 5th year.
  • Next, evaluate how much the business is currently earning or will be able to earn in the first year.
  • Finally, create your line of sight using your financial goals as the tracking points for Years 2, 3, and 4.

The first year in business will give you an indication of what to expect in Year 2 and you can edit your goals accordingly.

For a new business, I’d advise that you keep your line of sight the same for the first 2 years as you learn more about your business and industry.

If by the end of the second year your line of sight is still too ambitious, then create a more realistic one for the next 5 years using the knowledge and experience you’ll have gained by then.

Step 4: Create your goals for Year 1

It will now be easy to set your goals for the next 12 months.

You simply use the system in Step 2 and work backward from the end of the year to identify what you need to do each month. This will break down your goal into manageable bits that you can work on slowly per month.

As you can see, the goals in my line of sight aren’t completely SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time Bound). This too is deliberate as I’m only using the line here as an example. My real line of sight has numbers and dates.

For example, for 2015, I had a number of books to sell, a number of workshops to conduct, and a targeted number of people to coach in my three main coaching programs. And for 2016 and 2017, business growth will also include hiring other staff such as an assistant and content creator. My yearly plans contain the breakdown of 6 sub-goals that will help me achieve the main goal for that year.

So when you set your goals for each year in your line of sight, also take some time to find out exactly what is required in order for you to achieve that goal and add these requirements into your yearly plans.

Step 5: Take Action

Setting goals and getting clear about your line of sight will not help you achieve the goals. You need to take deliberate and consistent action daily, weekly, and monthly. Here’s how I do it:

  • Monthly: Break down your monthly goals into 3-6 targets per week. Do this at least one day before the beginning of the month.
  • Weekly: Evaluate what you’ve done that week and compare it to your goals for the week. Pick up whatever’s pending and add it to your planned targets for the next week. Then create a new plan for the next week – keeping within the 6-target limit. I do this on Friday afternoon.
  • Daily: Each evening, evaluate what you’ve done that day and compare your achievements to the weekly targets. Pick up what’s pending and add it to tomorrow’s to-do list. Again, keep to 6 main to-do’s per day. Keep your main goals at the top of this list so that you remember to do them first each day.

Once your plan is ready, the most important next step is this: Work your plan. You have to implement this plan if you expect to have positive results from it. To do this:

  1. Start by scheduling activities in your calendar, diary, or planner.
  2. Take consistent daily action in the direction of your dreams.
  3. Track your results and continue to refine your plan over time.

A few more things…

Remember to evaluate your progress daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. If you want to, you can also do quarterly and mid-year reviews of your goals.

This will help you keep track of progress and make changes fast when you see that you’re veering off track. It will also help you identify areas where you need to grow, learn, or gain some experience in.

To do this, set aside 1-2 days each year to evaluate your achievements for the year before updating your plans for the next year. I do my yearly review in November and create my final goals for the next year a week or two before Christmas.

Don’t wait until you have a perfect plan before starting on your goals. Start with what you have and edit your plan with time and experience. As the saying goes, a half-baked plan that’s implemented consistently produces better results than a well-thought plan that’s not implemented.

Way forward

Setting up this process may seem like a lot of work, and it is. It takes time, persistence, and determination to get it right. However, once the process is set and you’ve made it a regular practice, you’ll be amazed at how well and seamlessly it works.

I’ve tried a lot of goal setting systems and I picked up what was working from each system and incorporated it into this 5-step process. So while I cannot claim it’s total originality, I can claim to have come up with something that works not just for me, but for other people too.

If you’re struggling with your goals for this year, take a few days and create your 5-year goals, a line of sight, and goals for this year. Then narrow down to your monthly goals for the year and get started working on your goals each day, week, and month. 2016 will be a totally different year if you take these actions today.

Over to you now…How has goal setting worked for you? Do you have a tip or trick that’s made it easier to achieve your goals?

(Image credit Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos)


Caroline Gikonyo is a Life and Business Coach at New Dawn Solutions. She helps brilliant professional and business women become more successful while reducing the time they spend working. She is the author of 12 Weeks to Startup: How to Turn Your Skills, Talents, Knowledge and Experiences Into a Business, which is a self-coaching manual that helps professionals start businesses while still working.