When I introduced my my 2011 annual review I reflected on what went well and what I struggled with during the past year. I include things across all areas or categories of my life – personal, social, financial, or business related – that I have control over. If something blew up because of an outside influence it’s a drag, but that’s no fault of my own.
I start with this reflection in order to define what is important to me for the up coming year. It gives me a starting point to set goals and actions to achieve. I break my goal setting down into categories, as I mentioned in my previous post, these are based on the outline from Chris Guillebeau. The categories that I typically use during this thought process are:
- Friends, family, and social
- Financial (earning)
- Financial (saving)
- Financial (giving)
So what plans do I have for 2012?
There are a few big milestones I’d like to conquer in 2012. These aren’t the gone-by-February New Year resolutions such as “get in better shape,” “get more exercise,” “earn more money,” or “be happier.” They are specific events or accomplishments with measurable actions to help me get there. Here is a list of 10 of the more substantial ones I have set for myself that I believe will greatly impact my quality of life:
Run my first marathon. My lack of a healthy lifestyle was a big issue for me in 2011. I believe that if I have a purpose to train for something, and something to work towards that it would motivate me a little more than simply knowing I need to do it. I have always wanted to run in a marathon, and ran track and field fairly competitively in high school. There is a July marathon in Barrington, NS and a September marathon in Sydney, NS. I would like to be ready by July, but considering I haven’t run more than 3k at a time in the past 12 months, I think I’ll register for both just in case.
Complete P90x in 90 consecutive days (like for real this time). Although I’ve attempted it a couple times before, the furthest I’ve ever gotten is to about day 50. Life always seemed to get in the way – or at least that was my excuse at the time. It really doesn’t take that much out of your day and the program has a great mix of workouts (I hate it, but I love it). Considering I typically work from home and have more than enough space, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to come up with many excuses this time. I will likely be documenting my successes and failures with health and fitness over on a blog I’ve started called Health Redefined so feel free to follow that if you’re looking for updates.
Launch an online local Internet marketing training program. As part of my new business, I would like to launch an online training series to teach small and local businesses how to better compete online. There are many businesses I speak and meet with that simply don’t have the money in the budget to have me (or anyone) execute a proper Internet marketing strategy. That said, many do have an extra 30 minutes a day they could devote to promoting their business online. It’s these people I want to help by offering the tools and knowledge they need to get the online side of their business to where they want it to be. I’d like to have this up and running before summer of 2012.
Learn to say no. I have a tough time saying no to opportunities and projects, which leads to me being stretched thin, stressing out, and doing poorly on one or more of the projects. If something doesn’t fit well with my schedule or theme, I need to learn to say no.
Attend five plays, musicals, or cultural events during 2012. I managed to get to the Jungle Book at Neptune Theatre last month, which was very well done. I realized I didn’t get out to see many plays or shows during the year and wanted to make a conscience effort in changing that going forward.
Attend a weekly networking event. This may require me joining some sort of club, but even without that I would like to make more of an effort to get out and mingle with the local business crowd. I get to the odd 3rd Wednesday or Mingle at Fred but really not as much as I’d like and should.
Enjoy dinner and/or drinks and good conversation with close friends on a weekly basis. This is something I failed at pretty badly last year. In my opinion, getting together with those you care about on a weekly basis for laughs and good conversation will add years to your life.
Plan and book a trip to Ireland for 2013. My girlfriend and I have been talking about heading to Ireland for a while, and I’d like to finally nail down a date and book flights for this trip within the next year.
Read 52 books. I rarely make time for reading, especially fiction books, but always love life a little more when I do. I would like to consume 52 books – a book a week – during 2012. I’m fine with a mix of fiction and non-fiction, but I would like to add more fiction and relaxing books to the mix of things.
Build my passive income businesses to $3,000 per month. Working online, I have two types of incomes. One for which I have to actively work in order to get paid (client contracts, consulting, freelancing, training, etc.) and one for which I can stop working on and money keeps coming in. Most of the businesses I have are structured around a recurring-income business model that are semi-passive but typically requires a decent amount of work to grow. I have since started creating almost completely passive income streams (I don’t believe something valuable can be totally passive), and its these streams I would like to put more of a focus on growing over the next six to twelve months.
At first glance it might look like a big list – people always over estimate what they can accomplish in a day, but under estimate what they can accomplish in a year. I think if I can hit 80% of the above I would consider 2012 a good year.
I should also note that it’s important that once you have set these measurable goals, that you then define the process and steps necessary to complete them. It’s one thing for me to say I want to run a marathon, but it’s important that I know that by Feb 1 I need to be able to run 3x per week for at least 30 minutes without issues prior to even starting my marathon training. Breaking these goals down into smaller tasks will help make them seem less threatening.
Why do I do an annual review anyway?
Good question. Reflecting on your year to see what you’ve done well and didn’t do well is a great exercise to do. It can open your eyes a bit regarding the things that slipped, while at the same time make you feel like you’ve accomplished something by actually making note of it.
Going through this process will help you identify what’s important for you and what isn’t. These aren’t carved in stone. In 6 months time there might be goals on your list that are irrelevant or non important. It’s the process of defining them and having something to work towards on a yearly basis that is so powerful.
2012 seems to be the year of movement and action. Hopefully it’s a good one for everyone.
I hope you have a happy and safe Holiday season.