Conducting an Annual Review

conducting-an-annual-reviewI’ve never been a big fan of New Years Resolutions, they seem designed to set you up for failure. You create a lofty goal, but that initial enthusiasm isn’t enough to carry you through the whole year. Then you start to wonder how you’re going to pull it off, and all too often it falls apart.

So this past year I tried something different. I wrote before about how dedicating yourself to a change for 30 days is much easier than a full year, but I still wanted some way to commit to long term goals, and set myself up to succeed at them.

I first heard about the idea of annual reviews at Chris Gillebeau’s site, the Art of Non-Conformity. It’s like a New Year’s Resolution on steroids. It takes more time to do than just telling yourself next year I’m going to do ____, but it actually works.

I could explain the whole process, but he does it much better himself. The gist is you pick several areas of your life, and set goals for each one. Wait you might be saying, isn’t this going to make keeping them harder not easier with so many things to have to juggle? Nope, because you’ll also be working each goal down into several smaller chunks and actionable steps. I’ve wrote about this before, how when you’re setting goals and get stuck about how to follow through with them, break them down into smaller pieces and focus on the blockage point – the one thing that’ll make the biggest impact.

So at the end of 2011 I set my goals for this year, and I kept the excel document of them on my desktop, to easily refer back to throughout the year. Keeping them always visible helped, because then anytime I wasn’t sure what to do next or had some extra ambition and time at the end of the day I could just open the file and have it all laid out right there, ready to act on.

The point wasn’t to plan out the whole year in advance, but just every week or two peek at the list on a day off and spend maybe 15 minutes plotting what needed to happen next to get closer to each goal. Then work those smaller steps into the daily to do list, so they get worked on a little at a time. Usually people overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can do in a year.

Today is the last day of 2012. So how did I do? Well some goals I met, and others I didn’t.

Going full-time threw the whole thing off, because in December of 2011 I knew I would be quitting the Old Job, and that the next one I held wouldn’t be as profitable. So I played things safe with my goals, and didn’t plan on full-timing this year in case the job situation ended up being less than ideal.

Well we all know how that turned out. I learned something important though, be honest with yourself. I wanted to go full-timing more than anything, that should have been all the proof I needed that it should go on my goal list, even if I wasn’t sure how I would pull it off. But I let my brain do the deciding, and not my heart. So no, I didn’t get everything on my list done since I ended up RVing instead (actually, if you try this out and find that you do, then you probably didn’t challenge yourself enough and might want to try for harder goals next time), but I still had an excellent 2012, there is no doubt.

I’m a bit behind in planning for 2013, but I have a few solid goals already figured out, and some others that I am debating on. For instance I’d planning on performing at a renaissance faire next year with Julie, it’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’m excited about what 2013 may hold, I’ve learned a lot about full-timing so far, and I’m prepared to keep charging ahead! What about you? What’s one thing you want to accomplish next year?

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10 Responses to Conducting an Annual Review

  1. travelfables December 31, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    I’m not so much the list maker but I am a goal maker. Goals help drive me, but I had to quit making the big lists of goals on New Years ages ago. It seems I always cursed the process of goal making by doing that in the winter-taunting the Fates when I’m weakest – it doesn’t fit me. I got them in the end though 😉 -as I still make New Year’s resolutions: Ones like: Listen to this song I already have playing all the way though, finish this beer I’m holding by midnight, comb my hair, look at the sky this year. So I win. I make goals though (never on new years). And I build plans by way of many magic baby-steps that empower. I do like the idea of resolutions though- but being solar powered- I like to do them in the spring. Also, I love Ren fests so I hope to see ya at one, Happy New Year Becky, love your blog, and Happy Adventures for 2013.
    travelfables recently posted..montepulciano tuscany landscape A17My Profile

    • Becky January 1, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

      I’m more of a summer person than a winter person too, not that I don’t like winter per say, but when I lived in Wisconsin I always wished it wasn’t so long.

      Thanks for sharing. Have a good new year, and it’ll probably be either Georgia or Carolina fare that I work at. 😛

  2. Lynn December 31, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    I never make goals because I have learned that life throws you curves. For me the secret is being flexible enough to recognize and be ready for opportunities that will come your way. Life always propels me towards my biggest “wants” but not always in the order or picture of how I think they should look.

    Having said that, I have a goal of getting a B, C or small travel trailer for part-time travel – that is about as detailed as I will get. The rest I leave up to fate, timing and circumstance. I know it will happen when the time is right.

    For work, I have always done things logically and in response to the environment and it seems to work well for me.
    Lynn recently posted..A Slow Boat To BaliMy Profile

    • Becky January 1, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

      I’m a big believer in working with your strengths. If that method works well for you, then great! For myself, I have discovered that if I don’t set goals, nothing happens. Or it doesn’t happen as fast as I would like. Although when I make goals and plans they aren’t rigid and often do change. Well the plans change, the annual review goals I held steady to last year even once it became clear that RVing was going to make several of them unachievable. But now it’s a new year and it’s time to make new ones. 🙂

      I wish you good luck with RVing!

      • travelfables January 2, 2013 at 10:22 am #

        Use to go to the Georgia Ren Fest quite a bit. I’d dress up as a Jester and heckle the hell out of everyone – Great fun! Amazing what one can get away with if a silly hat is involved.

        • Becky January 3, 2013 at 12:27 am #

          Indeed! I’m usually too shy for those sort of shenanigans, but every now and then I abuse my costumed powers. 😉

  3. Lynn December 31, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    PS I meant to add I look forward to your 2013 travels in your cute little home. Happy New Year!
    Lynn recently posted..A Slow Boat To BaliMy Profile

    • Becky January 1, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

      You too Lynn!

  4. Marvin January 1, 2013 at 4:42 pm #


    Becky ,

    I do not do New Years Resolutions !
    I do not even buy green bananas !
    My 2013 calendar events were set early in 2012 . The income producing items are posted first , and I get to fill in the time between events with my personal travel and play time .
    I am a form , function , and detail oriented person , but that is mellowed with a large helping of flexibility .
    Having personal goals is healthy , but there are many exterior things that may be beyond our control , cause a modification , or even delay .
    I believe that an RV gives us a greater flexibility and an edge to adjust or plan a positive outcome .

    Be Safe and Make Each Day Count !


    • Becky January 1, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

      Heya Marvin,

      Yeah, balance is the key. I’ve written about flexibility in the past too, most of the traveling back in September was lived by that philosophy. I didn’t make reservations in advance or know where I was stopping for the night until I felt like stopping, it was liberating.

      That being said if I don’t set overarching goals, nothing important gets done. It’s a delicate balancing act. 🙂

      Safe travels and happy trails, and Happy New Year!

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