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Most people who talk about goals just say, ‘you should have goals.’ They don’t tell you how to set them.” -Craig Swanson

For the past eight years, I keep following Chris Guillebeau  “Annual Review” every December. He says….” I look back on the year that’s ending and set a series of goals for the future. More than anything else, this process has helped me reach higher goals and continue to improve.

hope for travel © Tamara PatrejevaI began writing about the Annual Review in 2008, the first year I published AONC. You can read the original post that contains the basic instructions, as well as many archive posts along the way.

Last year the Annual Review was greatly abridged due to a book tour in India. The tour was good, but I definitely missed being able to spend more time on the planning process. This year I’m taking the full amount of time. I just started two days ago, and so far it feels great. I’ve missed this.

General Principle

As the quote from Craig illustrates, we often hear about the general notion of goal-setting, but without much in the way of specificity. The Annual Review process is a way to create structure around the life that you want to create.

The goals you’ll set will be specific and measurable. Also, they’re your goals — not mine or anyone else’s. If you end up changing your mind at some point, that’s OK. You can simply adjust the plan.

Maybe you don’t like goals, or maybe you just like to take things as they come along. It’s OK if you feel that way. But trust me: life planning can change your life. Or don’t trust me: just give it a try, in your own way, and see what happens.

How It Works
To begin the Annual Review, I ask myself two questions and try to come up with at least 6-8 answers to each:

  • What went well this year?
  • What did not go well this year?

For these answers, I’m mostly interested in events I have control over. If something did not go well that I couldn’t prevent or control, it doesn’t need to go on the list. (Hint: most things are within your control.)

Next, I start looking towards the future, setting specific goals for a number of categories. Here are some of the categories that I use:

Writing, Business, Friends & Family, Service, Travel, Spiritual, Health, Learning, Financial (Earning), Financial (Giving), Financial (Saving)

While thinking about each category over the course of a week (off and on), I set an average of 3-5 measurable goals for each.”

Try his template for success, use your own self-reflection process to create your wellness plan for 2014.

Good luck in creating your new exciting life.

Veronika, in creating a bridge between past and future = 2013/1014

Words of wisdom by Chris Guillebeau