For the last few years I have written a review of what my year has been like and areas I want to work on in the coming year. I've found it really useful and wanted to share it with you. You can download the yearly review template if you want to try it out yourself.
The purpose of this is to generate rough areas to work on. It is not to come up with actionable goals - doing this process is not going make your goals more likely to be achieved. I hope that it will give you goals that are more aligned to what you actually want to get better at.
This last one took me about 4 hours. It's split into 3 sections:
- Review the past year (1h)
- First, I look through my last 12 monthly reviews and make notes (especially on things that changed my happiness or motivation)
- Next, I comment on how I did with each of the goals I set myself last year (especially what went well, what I want to keep doing, and why certain things didn’t pan out).
- Review myself (1.5h)
- First, I make a list of people - the ones who inspire me (even if I haven’t met them), or people that I love being around.
- Next, I work out how I spend my time (what do I do on a normal day/week, a fantastic day/week, activities I have done, project, hobbies)
- Then, I write a list of the top 10 to 20 things I love doing. Sorted by how much I love it.
- I do a similar thing for projects and hobbies sorted by how important they are to me.
- Make some goals (1.5h)
- I start by writing down anything that I might want as a goal for the year. I end up getting rid of most of them. (I have a log of potential habits and goals which I use along with the notes I have just made the the first two sections)
- Next, I try to think of 2 or 3 goals for each of the categories below (I could also come up with 2 or 3 for each project/hobby)
- Then I prioritise. Ending up with about 6 top, 6 middle, and 6 lower priority areas for the year.
- Intellectual (books, subjects)
- Health (diet, exercise, sleep)
- Emotions (feel more/less of, more control)
- Career (is the career path you are on leading you to a place you want to be)
- Financial (are you happy with how much you spend, save, earn)
- Social (people to spend more/less time around, what kind of people do you want to meet)
- Fun (what do you want to do)
- Personal (what character traits do you want to change)
- Philanthropic (how do you want to help others, or help the world)
To make sure I actually work on these areas I do a similar review every month and every week. In the monthly one, I pick 2 or 3 of my yearly goals to work on. In the weekly one, I turn the monthly goals into tasks (e.g. send an email), or habits/routines of the format “if/when ____ happens then I will ____”.
What I Found This Year
Here are some useful things I found in my last yearly review:
- My biggest factors for motivation/efficiency are: not being ill or tired, having a clear idea of exactly what I need to work on, and scheduling an entire evening to work on my to do list or projects.
- In my mood/emotions: I love 1-on-1 intellectual/deep conversations, and having a clear inbox and todo list.
- In the last 5 months I set myself 162 tasks or habits. I completed or did well on 123 of them. Hence on average I complete 73% of the tasks I set myself. More importantly I know why I did/didn’t do them and can work to make this figure higher.
Here are some other people who do something similar:
DownloadDownload the Yearly Review Template
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