Over the past eight nine ten! years, nothing has helped me to accomplish big goals and stay on track more than a single exercise I complete each December: the Annual Review.
For much of the next week I’ll be working only half-time while I consider some of my successes, failures, and lessons learned from 2018.
But Wait, You Can Do This Too!
My favorite part about the review is that it brings a degree of order to my multi-faceted life and career, which consists of many different projects and roles. My second favorite part is seeing what everyone else comes up with.
Over the years, many of our readers have conducted their own Annual Reviews, frequently sharing their lessons with others on blogs, social media, or just with friends and families. A whole cottage industry of other review outlines, resources, and manifestos has sprung up, which is great to see.
Here’s my approach:
- Read the original post
- Download this free tool (more about this in a moment)
- Before doing anything else, make two lists consisting of a) what went well and b) what didn’t go well this year
- You can skip ahead to the goal-setting part of the review if you want—but it’s also good to space it out a little. That’s why I do mine over the course of about four or five days, working on it a couple hours each day
Revised Spreadsheet Template (Download for Free)
For the whole eight nine ten! years I’ve used the same simple spreadsheet to set goals in various life categories. It’s a very basic tool. It won’t win any design awards, but it will help you to think more clearly about your life, which is probably more important.
We’ve recently tweaked the formatting and added a few more data points, so be sure you have the current version:
You might wonder whether a spreadsheet is sufficient to truly devise what matters to you and plan your life accordingly. This is a valid concern—we first need to ensure that our goals match up with our values and overall vision.
No amount of goal-setting will help if you’re pursuing the wrong goals. However, I do believe (strongly!) that being specific about our intentions and tying them to measurable milestones is good for us.
If you haven’t done it before, give it a try. And if the template structure doesn’t work for you, don’t hesitate to modify it however it serves you best.
Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness of Pursuit, The $100 Startup, and other books. During a lifetime of self-employment, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Every summer in Portland, Oregon he hosts the World Domination Summit, a gathering of creative, remarkable people. His new book, Born for This, will help you find the work you were meant to do. Connect with Chris on Twitter, on his blog, or at your choice of worldwide airline lounge.
Image courtesy of Thought Catalog.