Every December for the past fifteen years, I've completed an exercise I call the Annual Review.This year is different in some ways, but then again, so is every year for one reason or another. In fact, that's one of the things that's so beneficial about the Review: in the midst of whatever craziness is happening, it helps to ground your attention and give you something to work on over the next year. This post contains an overview of the process, along with links that might be helpful for your own review. If you'd like to go waaaaay back to the original post from 2008, you can do that too. Enjoy! Read More
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.
A moonshot, according to the ubiquitous WikiPedia, is a "is an ambitious, exploratory and ground-breaking project undertaken without any expectation of near-term profitability or benefit and also, perhaps, without a full investigation of potential risks and benefits.”For a long time my moonshot was going to every country in the world. Then I accomplished that goal (without ever getting to the actual moon—it's not a country, after all) and had to figure out what came next... Read More
What can I say about the Annual Review process that I’ve completed without fail for more than a decade?This year, I gave up on it and walked away. Well, not quite—that would be an exaggeration. But to be fully honest (and we shall return to this phrase again), I had a hard time facing it. Eventually I was able to make some progress, which I’ll note below, but the overall sense was one of sadness. Last year was hard, too. And there have been other hard years. This time, however, felt nearly insurmountable. A challenge became a struggle. The struggle became a crisis, and the crisis became, well, something that approaches a total breakdown. Read More
Last year I resisted my Annual Review for the first time in 10 years. This year, what can I say... I guess it’s the second wave of resistance.Over the past month I’ve entered a season of wandering in the wilderness. I don’t want to sound overly-mopey, so I’ll spare you the details. I know I’ll get through it at some point; it’s just hard to celebrate accomplishments or feel festive at the moment. There are still several reasons why I’m going to proceed with the review... Read More
In this (very abbreviated) Annual Review series…
- Decide Now How You'll Evaluate Yourself Next Year
- Why I've Resisted My Annual Review for the First Time in 10 Years
I’ve never really had writer’s block. I think it was Seth Godin who said something about how writing is the only profession where it’s acceptable to stop working because you can’t be “creative.” There’s no such thing as nurse's block.
But … for much longer than usual, I didn’t know what to say about my review! I really didn’t.
One thing I know is that it’s important to pay attention to how things make you feel. If you look forward to something, that tells you something. If you dread something, or even if you just don’t feel that excited about it, that gives you other information.Read More
I mentioned that I felt some resistance to this year’s review, so I ended up doing it differently. Not surprisingly, some things will be different about my recap process as well.
The biggest difference is that I’m pretty much entirely focused on the future at this point. I call it the review, but it’s much more of a forward-looking, goal-setting practice. I typically spend one day looking back and the rest planning ahead.
This time I didn’t even look back at all. It wasn’t until I started writing this post that I realized I had spent the time only looking forward and working on my new project (more on that in a bit).Read More
I can trace whatever success I’ve had to instituting and diligently following the practice of completing an Annual Review. It’s helped me write books, travel to every country in the world, start various businesses, produce events for thousands of people, and so on. After feeling that my life wasn't well-aligned, I recently added more categories focused on wellness and relationships—that decision helped a lot too.But for some reason, as this year’s review time rolled around, I felt some resistance to it. I didn’t look forward to it the way I always have in the past. Read More
For the past 10 years, I’ve conducted an Annual Review each December to look back on the year and plan ahead for the next. During this time I set a number of goals in different categories of my life.
I’ve written about the review extensively on the blog, and over the years many people have completed it for themselves or adapted it in their own way.
This year I’ll be doing something a bit different. The review is still relevant and very much part of my life, but I’ve felt for a couple years now that something about it needs to change.Read More
And…. once more, with feeling! Today’s post is all about the future.In keeping with this unusual year, the format for this post is a bit different than I’ve done before. I noticed that I was feeling some resistance in writing it, so I finally decided to just sit down and start, without worrying about trying to adhere to a specific style. Previous Posts
- 2015 Annual Review Process & Template
- Lessons in Life, Success, and Loss
- Lessons in Entrepreneurship & Unconventional Work
- Travel Roundup
And… the Annual Review continues! Today’s post is a travel roundup: everywhere I went in 2015, along with a few lessons and comments.Previous Posts
- 2015 Annual Review Process & Template
- 2015 Annual Review: Life Lessons
- 2015 Annual Review: Writing and Other Independent Work
Hong Kong (x3), South Korea, South Africa, Qatar (x3), France, UK, Australia (YESSSS x2), United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Germany, Canada, and ... it looks like that’s itYou guys, now that I’m retired from going to every country, I think I’m going to stop writing a travel roundup every December. This list is boring. No big tour, no new countries, and mostly I went to the same places over and over. Read More
I spend as much time as possible working on things I believe in. It’s not all out of compulsion—it’s also because I’m motivated to create and share. I’m happiest when I’m making progress on projects that make a difference in the world, or at least the corner of the world in which I have influence.This post provides a review and critique of my overall work in 2015. Previous Posts Read More
Every year I set aside a long block of time, typically the better part of a week, to look back at the year that’s ending and look ahead to the next.And so we begin the 2015 Annual Review. I try to live an active life and pursue a lot of different challenges and adventures. Pretty much every time I begin the review, I think, “What a crazy year it’s been!" In the case of 2015, I began the year fairly well, had the worst thing imaginable happen in the middle, and then managed to close out on a relative high note. As I sat down to write these notes, I have to confess that I wasn’t feeling super excited. My mind continued to drift toward the negative emotions, revisiting the things that have made me sad. As usual, though, I discovered that there were several good things from the year that I’d completely forgotten about. Read More
Over the past
eight nine 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.
And… the Annual Review continues! Today’s post is all about the future. You’re welcome to share your lessons too, and—new bonus!—we’ll award a $100 Powell’s gift card to the person who leaves the best comment by the end of the week, as determined by our cats and biased judges. Right after Christmas, I’ll also share…Read More