2019:1 End of Session Evaluation

Congrats everyone! We made it through the first session of 2019! Before we begin Session 2, it’s important to take a look back on Session 1 and get a feeling for how we did. This doesn’t have to be insanely in depth, or even formal, but it does have to be HONEST. It is really easy to cut corners or be untruthful when performing a self-analysis, but doing so when it comes to personal goals is only a disservice to yourself. It is important to celebrate your successes and to recognize your shortcomings.

Celebrate!

You kicked butt these past six weeks. I’m sure it felt like it flew by, and with some goals that is certainly a blessing. Maybe not so much for other goals. Regardless, we made it through! Take some time to pat yourself on the back. Go out for drinks. See a movie. Eat some chocolate. Take a day trip. Do something to make yourself feel good about what you have accomplished. Even if you only completed half of a single goal, you should still celebrate for following along and checking back in at the end of the session!

Look Back.

Looking back over the session, take some time to take an introspective look at what occurred throughout the last six weeks. Jot down issues you might have had, victories you achieved, or surprises that affected your goal seeking journey.

  • Did you over or under estimate the time needed to complete a goal?
  • Did you leave out or forget critical steps that might have sabotaged goal completion?
  • Was your timeline accurate enough to be useful?
  • Did external forces affect your work?
  • Did you find the help you needed to accomplish your session goals?
  • What other fine-tuning would you need to accomplish future goals?
  • What went right and what went wrong?
  • Will you take a different approach during the next session?

These are all just generic questions to get you started. You don’t have to answer to anybody but yourself, but understanding what went right and what went wrong will help as you work towards accomplishing future, possibly even more ambitious goals.

Regardless of your evaluation, it is vital to physically write down what you accomplished. You can do this on a week-by-week basis, or you could do this as a session long review. You just have to do it. Put the pencil on paper, or fire up your word processer, and start listing what you accomplished. The idea of being specific (remember SMART goals?) helps out during this exercise, as you can specifically review what you did. Something like “I posted 38 out of the 42 instagram posts I wanted to post during Session 1” is specific, and allows you to see that even though you might not have finished the desired goal, you still did much better than “I posted on Instagram”.

Currently, I set up my evaluation as follows:

Goal X: Write out your full goal here.

Success?: Did you succeed, fail, or fall somewhere in the middle?

Reason for Success/Failure: Why did you succeed or fail? Give some reasons why you think you succeeded or failed. List what went right or wrong throughout the session.

Hindrance: What was the biggest hindrances or hurdles you had to face. Were they the same as the ones you expected on you session worksheet?

Relevance: How did your work towards accomplishing this goal affect your long-term ambitions and plans? What did you learn about yourself while accomplishing this goal?

Takeaway: This is like Relevance, but more geared towards the goal setting process. How did the process help? Did you find a better way to manage your goals? Is there an area in the goal setting process that you need to re-evaluate or work harder on?

Read along to see how I review my progress.

My Introspective Evaluation of Session 1:

Goal 1: Plan, edit, and post 42 daily posts for the AARXNJAMES Instagram following the three post rule.

Success?: No. I started strong and tapered off with this goal. I posted 27 pictures since January 7, which is far less than the planned 42. I also followed the three post rule that I had decided to use until I broke away from that rule during the last two weeks of the session.

Reason for Success/Failure: I over estimated the amount of content I had previously archived. About half way through the session, I found myself running out of content that I thought would be good enough to post. Once I started running out of content, I started posting subpar content that I was not proud of. The only reason I was posting this content was to satisfy the goal I set forth in this session. While in most cases accomplishing the session goal would be a good enough reason for me to continue, this particular activity was taking away from the overall goal I have for my Instagram account. I ultimately decided that I could not force content. I also decided that I would need to either find a better way to create content (go on more trips, do more photoshoots, etc.) or alter the frequency in which I was posting. Seeing how it was later in the session, the first option was not going to work out, so I opted for the second. Since this is part of my TASKBOOK, I will need to figure out a way to produce more quality content while also improving my posting schedule. This is something I will look into as I plan out future trips, photoshoots, and content collection.

Hindrance: My thought that good content would be a hindrance was spot on. Unfortunately, I could not overcome this hindrance.

Relevance: I actually saw an increase of about 2,000 followers before Instagram did the most recent bot cleanup. I started the session with 30.0K followers and ended with 30.9K followers. Purposefully posting definitely helped boost my follower count, but it lowered my average single post reach and impression counts. The Instagram algorithm is a tricky thing.

Takeaway: I ran into a sizeable roadblock that ultimately made me not finish this goal as I had initially planned. Despite the roadblock, I still managed to post decent content, and was able to come to a better understanding of good content versus more content.

Goal 2: Website finished with all pages published by February 17th.

Success?: Sort of. I strayed from my established schedule somewhat, so it is hard to say that I made it to week X and then fell off the wagon. To simplify this statement, I guess I could say I did everything except the coding and the publishing so far. I selected all the images I needed, I found a good headshot, I built a site map, purchased a memorable domain (partypigeon.com!), and wrote the about me content for each page, but I have yet to publish it.

Reason for Success/Failure: I have a good friend that offered to code the site and assist me with publishing it once he was finished. I loosely modeled my site off of his site, so he could potentially use his coding to make my site work similarly (at least that’s how I think I understand it). I was a little bit delayed in sharing all my files with him, but this might be a goal I continue in Session 2. I still need to find a professional way to incorporate a Consulting page as well as an Author page into the final site. I also need to make specific project pages at some point. The site I envisioned at the start of the goal was more of a portfolio, but after going through so many images and thinking about all that I do, I may need to include more pages in the future.

Hindrance: I thought hosting would be my biggest issue since I had previous hosting nightmares with GoDaddy. I switched hosts, and although my site is not yet published, the new host seems to be much more transparent and easier to use.

Relevance: Picking images to display on my site was difficult, but it allowed me to see how I have developed as a designer, photography and artist. Going forward, I will keep the idea of consolidating potential portfolio pieces as I produce the work, rather than after archiving them.

Takeaway: If you get the chance to have a professional help you in achieving your goal, maybe it is best to work on their time and toss your personal deadline out the window. I could have tried to code my own site, but that would have taken me countless hours. I might have had it finished by the end of the session, but I would have had to sink exponentially more time and effort into it. I am okay with pushing the deadline back and allowing a professional site builder assist me with bringing my site to fruition.

Goal 3: Attempt to Pass CHP Physical Fit Test.

Success?: YES! Even though I didn’t pass my self tests, I still attempted the tests and followed through with scheduled workouts.

Reason for Success/Failure: I didn’t start out with a great workout plan, but after the first test during the first week, I was able to see what I needed to work on and I structured my workout off of that. I think seeing the small amounts of progress each week helped motivate me to continue the next day.

Hindrance: I thought time to workout would be the biggest hindrance, but it turned out that the weather was my biggest issue. It seems like the past three weeks have been constant rain and snow, which really limited my ability to run/walk on a daily basis.

Relevance: Knowing what I have to do to pass the CHP fit test has really helped me maintain enough discipline to work out daily. Having an end goal that you know you have to reach forces you to plan ahead to reach it, and I am hoping that I can easily pass the test at the end of the year.

Takeaway: Logging each workout really kept me accountable with this goal. This is one of the activities that I am going to be adding to my TASKBOOK.

So there you have it! Feel free to copy this approach if you want to. Heck, you can even email me your evaluations and I can go over them if you want. I want to see you succeed, so if you have any questions, let me know!

-Aaron

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