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Managing the Middle

committment discipline feedback goals new year routines Jul 31, 2023

Author: Alicia Wade (Co-Founder at The 5 Minute Career Hack)

We are at that point of the year - the middle. Maybe you have built great momentum and are poised to achieve your goals this year. Maybe you may have forgotten the goals we set at the beginning of the year but feel like you have time to reset. Or you are reading this and are acutely aware that you are tired, it has been change after change, and you have exuded more energy than you had in the tank. Regardless of what scenario resonates with you at this moment, we are all in the middle. The middle is the hardest place to manage.  

What do you want to achieve or maintain for the rest of 2023? Once you take a moment to check in with yourself here, I will want you to ask yourself one more question. How does ________ (insert your name) manage the space between announcement to fulfillment?  

Don’t hope others will forget what you said or try to forget because you are talking to yourself right now. Instead, reframe your thoughts and know that you are in the most opportune place. Why you ask? Because you don’t need more discipline or a better routine. You need to get clear on what is the next one thing that you need to make happen, consistently. 

The book "When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing" written by Daniel H. Pink explores the importance of timing in various aspects of life. "When" focuses on the effects of timing on productivity, decision-making, creativity, and overall well-being. 

I think this book provides some great tips on how to manage the middle. Managing the middle refers to managing the midpoint or midpoint tasks within a larger project or goal. In this context, the book offers several principles that can be applied to help you effectively manage the middle: 

  1. Break the task into smaller milestones: Dividing a project into smaller, achievable milestones can help create a sense of progress and motivation, especially during the middle stage when enthusiasm may start to wane. 
  2. Maintain momentum: It's crucial to keep up the momentum during the middle phase by staying focused and avoiding procrastination. Small, consistent efforts can help prevent a decline in productivity and ensure steady progress. It may seem like no movement is happening but endure because holding the line can be what this season is all about. Whatever you do, don’t take a step back. 
  3. Seek feedback and support: Getting feedback from others can provide valuable insights and help you stay on track during the middle phase. Collaborating and seeking support from colleagues or mentors can also provide encouragement and fresh perspectives. Don’t disappear, if you feel stuck or that you should have this by now, don’t give up seek support. Some things will take all you have plus some and a friend. 
  4. Stay resilient and motivated: The middle phase of any endeavor can sometimes feel challenging, so it's important to stay resilient and motivated. Remind yourself of the goal and the positive outcomes that await upon completion. Don’t give up. Stay faithful, you need you. 

What I know for sure...

You can’t lose yourself in what others may deem most important for you. 

All tasks are not created equal.  

It is impossible to give everything the same amount of your attention, time, and effort at the same time. You must choose what is most important, right now.  

Create margin for yourself to be available for the work you want to do this season. Which means you will have to say no to some important things. Your plans for how it should look may be challenged by factors out of your control and that is ok. Remember right now, in the middle is the perfect timing you have been waiting for. 

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