2017 goals and habits: Mid-year progress check

2017 Goals and Habits mid year progress check Halelly Azulay TalentGrow blog

Goals, Strategies, and Habits

I have good news and bad news...

Bad news: half of 2017 is finished, gone, never to return!!! What?!?

Good news: you have a full six months to do what you set out to do this year!

If you follow my blog, you may recall that at the beginning of the year, I wrote a blog post detailing all my goals, strategies, and habits that I intended to achieve and implement in 2017.

It’s time to do a half-way progress check and report. There are two reasons why it’s important.

First, we need to check our own progress along the journey and especially at important way-marker points like at the end of each quarter and at the mid-point. How else will we know if we’re on the right track, completely off-track, or something in between? Plus, it allows us to course-correct and tweak, as well as celebrate effort and progress along the journey, which is something that research shows is even more important to productivity than celebrating at the finish line.

The second reason this is an important practice is that it’s part of my intention of being transparent and creating extra motivation by putting it ‘out there’ for external accountability. I mean, if I set a goal and never told anyone about it, then no one would know if I ignored it, or made an effort but blew it, or rocked it.

But by being transparent, I’m helping myself have some peer pressure to perform. And, by the same token, even though I was public about my goals at the beginning of the year, it would be a lot easier to not say anything again and hope you all forgot about it, especially as I describe some of my less-glowing track record below. But the point would be missed for having external pressure to show up and push myself harder so that I don’t embarrass myself in front of everyone.

So, <gulp>, here goes!


This year, I said my mantra would be intentional execution. My three words to describe my overall intentions for 2017 were “healthy, happy, and fulfilled.” I think I’m doing okay on the mantra and very well with the 3 words. You’ll see the details below.

As always, I’d love to hear about yours in the comments below!

Business Goals for 2017

Publishing / Content Creation

  • Write and submit networking book to publisher.
    I pursued one publisher at first, pitched and refined a book proposal, and had a wonderful success: I was offered a book contract! But… I didn’t like the terms they offered me, and my negotiation attempts brought about very marginal improvements. So I did something that was very hard for me: I turned them down. I said, “thanks, but no thanks!”

    What this means is that I’m sort of back at square one with the book, although it is much more developed than it was at the beginning of the year. This all happened during my ‘crazy-busy travel season’ this Spring, so not much progress has been made since this turn of events. I still intend to pursue this goal (although it’s pretty obvious that it will delay the goal to 2018). I’ll keep you posted!
  • Increase newsletter frequency to weekly (from bi-weekly). Success! I am happy to report that it’s been a pretty smooth transition and we’re rocking a great, short, actionable, fun and informal newsletter every single week. Are you subscribed? Please join me.
  • Continue to publish podcast and blog/vlog each 2x per month. Rock-and-rolling! I am head-over-heels in love with podcasting. I am not in love with blogging. I’m considering moving to more frequent podcasts and making the blog a bit more intermittent. What do you think about this?

Product Offerings

  • Create and offer two online courses. I made a tiny bit of progress on this, but insufficient. I have a bit of time blocked next month to work on this. I still intend to get AT LEAST one course out there this year. I may not be able to do two, but we’ll see…


  • Daily reading – 20 pages/day. Fail. My intention was to read more non-fiction books, not just blog posts and short articles. I have not succeeded with this. I find the discipline of doing this daily very hard to maintain. I’ve actually dropped this from my reminders list after I was flunking very regularly. Back to the drawing board on this one.
  • Daily free-writing/journaling – 20 minutes/day. Fail. I did do it for a couple of months but found it hard to maintain and frankly not satisfying at all. I’ve quit this habit as well.
  • Batch content creation. Minor progress, insufficient. I did block time on my calendar every Friday, 3 hours, but it didn’t always pan out except that I’ve become better at scheduling podcast recordings almost exclusively on Fridays, which is content creation of course. I also intended to, once per month, block one additional full day for content creation, and this has not worked AT ALL. I don’t want to quit this habit yet. I’ll continue to endeavor to achieve this, it’s still on my calendar, and I’ll just need to up my focus on implementing this better/more.
  • Daily networking action. The idea was a 5-10 minutes ‘tooth-brushing’ habit (like I described in episode 44 of my podcast). I put a reminder on my calendar and was flunking it A LOT. But – because I had it on my calendar and on my mind, I did it a lot more than not at all, which is sometimes what you need to celebrate: I made progress from haphazard networking to more intentional, and from random to more regular. It’s all in how you look at the progress. I am recommitting but maybe daily is too much for me. I’ll go with 3x/week for the second half of the year.

Personal Goals for 2017

Health and fitness

  • Increase strength in all my major lifts one rep max by 10% and achieve 10 strict bodyweight pull-ups: Well, I can kip 3 pull-ups in a row now, which is definitely progress. We haven’t measured the ‘one-rep-max’ for the major lifts recently so I don’t have solid data but anecdotally I feel stronger. Being inconsistent with lifting practice due to the spring travel season did not help, though.
  • Continue to eat paleo/primal (but more consistently), add one cheat meal per month. I’m happy to report that so far this year, I’ve lost 10% of my body fat and 17 lbs of weight. I am very happy with this ESPECIALLY given the insane travel of the spring and the difficulty in routinizing my diet when I’m not at home. Will keep going – I have plenty more fat I want to dismiss! What was cool was that I discovered that my brother was also trying to work on this, so we partnered up and helped each other with motivation and accountability. I also used a DEXA scan service to help me track my progress which has been amazing.


Constrain email and social media usage:

  • No smartphone usage in bed (neither at waking nor at bedtime) [Effort made, but failed to stick to this. Recommitting!]
  • Email only after reading, writing, and networking habits checked [Well, because those other habits were not working, then this didn’t work either. Hmm… I definitely need to batch my email time. I’m gonna think about this some more.]
  • Business-related social media use once per day for 30 minutes, not before reading/writing habits [nothing to show for this one. Still erratic.]
  • Casual social media use once at lunch for 15 minutes and once in evening after work for 30 minutes [FAIL! I’m now strongly aware that I am addicted and need a stronger intervention. Anyone experience success in shifting from a heavy user mode to a controlled mode and care to share your experience? I need help…]


Continue… (existing habits)

  • Daily yoga stretch before coffee -- YES!
  • Five workouts per week (CrossFit, hiking, walking, maybe restart running again?) No running, and probably averaging 4 times a week.
  • Eating paleo –YES, mostly. MUCH better adherence.
  • Sleeping minimum 7-8 hrs /night YES!

Begin… (new habits)

  • Walk on the beach once each week – YES! This has been a remarkable success and I love this new habit SO much!
  • See 6 (non-Teev Events) concerts this year: I was much more aware of shows and on the lookout for possibilities. But most progress has been made in the last two weeks – we went to the Arroyo Seco festival and saw, like 4 different bands (The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Live, Alabama Shakes, the Dawes, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). Then, two days later, we saw the amazing Queen and Adam Lambert concert at the Hollywood Bowl. And three days later (!), we saw Lola Marsh at a local bar. Whew!! We’ll keep looking for more opportunities, this is so much fun!


All in all, I feel like this has been a good first half, and of course I’m not at all satisfied or ready to rest. There’s much more work to be done and I'm a perfectly normal imperfect human striving to get better at being the best version of me.

There are six more months in which to crush this year and make it my best year yet, and I fully intend to make good on this intention.

Your turn

What goals and habits did you plan to incorporate or continue in 2017, and how are you doing with them? How can I help support you?

Please share in the comments below, and let’s continue to work on making 2017 our best year yet, together!!

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