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Annual Review 2021: Forward Motion Once More

I finished an Annual Review! A full and proper one, for the first time in a while.

Over the past three years I’ve mostly been living vicariously through other people’s reviews, having completed only an abbreviated version of my own. I’m glad the process I created so many years ago has been helpful—but it’s also great to get back to my own review.

In this post I’ll share some of my goals for next year, as well as the overall narrative and focus that I’m going with. Naturally, there are some private items I don’t post about, but I’ll try to be as comprehensive as possible.

Why Share Your Personal Goals?

For me it’s not really accountability so much as that I believe there is value in publicly declaring your intentions.

This started long ago when I was like, “Hey, everyone, I’m going to visit every country in the world”—and I’ve just kind of continued in that fashion ever since. I’ve also combined the process of finishing the review and posting about it, so I tend to see them as one complete project.

So here we are! As mentioned last week, I had a rough couple of years where I was particularly depressed towards the end of the year. Then, I had another couple of years that were fine but not terribly exciting.

Now I’m ready to level-up again.

Grading My Future Self

As I was moving posts over to the new blog (check it out if you haven’t seen it already!), I came across a post I’d completely forgotten about. It’s called Giving the A Grade for the Person You’ll Become, and it’s about an activity where you write a short letter to yourself from the perspective of “future you.”

In this exercise you’re only allowed to give yourself an A, but you have to be specific on what you did to achieve it.

Here’s how the activity’s creator described the process:

In writing their letters, I say to them, they are to place themselves in the future, looking back, and to report on all the insights they’ve acquired and milestones they attained during the year as if those accomplishments were already in the past. Everything must be written in the past tense. Phrases such as “I hope,” I intend,” or “I will” must not appear.

I’m going to use this as an exercise in the online course I’m building (more on that shortly), but I thought I’d mention it now in case anyone wants to work through it on their own.

Despite writing about the exercise before, I’m not sure I’d ever actually done it myself. It was helpful!

Anyway, let’s move on to how the actual review works.

How It Works (skip this part if you’re familiar)

I’ve written many times before about how the review process works. In short, I set a number of goals and sub-goals for specific categories. Then I create an overall narrative (“outcome statement”) for the coming year. Sometimes I have a specific word as well.

I tend to do the review towards the end of December, but you can do it anytime. So if you happen to be reading this post during some other part of the year, there’s no need to wait.

My broad categories tend to be what you might expect: writing, business, finances, travel, wellness, and relationships, for example.

Some of the categories also have sub-categories. With finances, for example, I like to set goals for income, savings, and charitable giving. With wellness, I have goals for running as well as mental health.

Roam Research: New App + Process

About a year ago I began using a tool called Roam Research for daily notetaking. I used this app for the Annual Review this year, so the process came out slightly differently than it has when using a spreadsheet.

Ultimately, the tool you use isn’t that important. You could also complete a review using Notion, Evernote, or any number of other apps. What matters most are the goals you set.

Goals for 2022

All that said, here are a few things that emerged as key goals for my year to come.

  • By the end of 2022, I will have written a new book and created an all-new business model in the form of a popular cohort-based course.

There are a lot of reasons why the course is important. Mostly, I believe in the value of the course (much more on this next week). But secondly, I want to reduce my reliance on podcast advertising income. I didn’t start a podcast to make money, but it ended up bringing in more revenue than anything else I do—which is cool, but I don’t want to count on it continuing!

  • Speaking of the podcast, I’ll produce another 365 episodes of Side Hustle School. This will take us to more than 2,000 consecutive daily episodes. And I hope to highlight many listener success stories along the way! It’s my favorite part of working on the show.
  • I’ve always struggled with being consistent with social media, but this year I’ll figure something out: a new daily sharing process. Combined with a weekly newsletter that goes out every Tuesday morning without fail, I’ll rebuild some momentum and feel more connected with readers.
  • I’ll continue to care for myself through daily exercise. I’ll complete another 365-day streak of Move Points. (“It’s harder to quit than to keep going”) and run at least one marathon.
  • I’ll host WDS for the first time in three years, bringing that chapter to a close with an epic adventure—and looking ahead to something new. (Join the waiting list for tickets.)
  • I’ll take more financial risks and at least half my income in non-traditional assets, especially projects like Tokemak, Alchemix, and DeFi Kingdoms.

It’s been very fun to learn about these things over the past year. It started as research for the book I’ll be writing, but I ended up enjoying it much more than I expected. #wagmi

  • In short, I thought the years of 2014-2017 would be my second phase of business, but they turned out to be more preparatory. The real “second phase” starts now!

As I said, that’s a selection of my most important goals for the year.

For the first time I can remember, I’m looking forward to the next few years, and I believe they can be better (at least in their own way) than what came before. I hope you’ll join me for 2022!

How about you? Have you started an Annual Review yet?


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