I get graded on bi-annual reviews at work, got grades in class, so why don’t I do the same thing in my personal life?
2018 is the first year I’ll do an annual review. And man, I did terrible in basically everything except for money and I did ehhh on this blog.
I got this idea from James Clear’s annual reviews. He has his going back several years, so it’s interesting to see how goal-setting and annual reviews have shaped him.
I would encourage you to do your own annual review this year. It doesn’t have to be on a blog for all to see, it can just be in a little journal or Google Doc so that you can refer to it at the end of 2019 to see how your annual review has improved. Here are the 4 questions I’ll ask myself:
- 1. What Went Well This Year?
- 2. What Didn’t Go So Well This Year?
- 3. What Am I Working Toward?
- 4. What Did I Learn?
1. What Went Well This Year?
Blogging has had a ton of ups and downs, but the most important thing is that I didn’t quit. I hear stats floating around that say 95% of people quit within 6 months to a year, so I guess I’m doing pretty well in that I haven’t quit.
I firmly believe owning a piece of internet real estate (a blog) is similar to owning an appreciating asset. At a certain point, it becomes passive, but you’re going to have to do a ton of work before that happens.
In my first year blogging, I was ecstatic to get 210,000 page views (GA measurement)! Thank you to all the readers and email subscribers who take the time to read my writing. I am so appreciative of each and one of you:). If you ever have any questions about anything, you know where to reach me!
I spent quite a few months floundering before figuring out Pinterest and other passive traffic sources. There are other bloggers who have definitely done much better than I, but I’m still proud of sticking it out. I’d like to thank BusyMom, Angela, and Aparna for being my first blogging tribe, Carl from 1500 Days for my first guest post, Root Of Good for saying I was his favorite new blogger (I’m woefully behind on that guest post, oops), John and Joe for reaching out during a particularly tough time personally, Hiro the foodie who I’ll hang out with when I quit my job and she works remotely, Rich who challenges my productivity, and Pete who is a master at all things blogging. In 2018, I joined a mastermind after hanging out with some awesome people at Fincon: Lily for being my partner in crime, Adam and Aaron who have answered way too many tech/marketing/other blogging questions of mine, Janet for her bright cheeriness, and Zach, who is the resident D3/JS/data whiz.
Over the course of the year, I learned a ton of new skills. When they say blogging has a steep learning curve, they aren’t kidding! It’s somewhat close to bootstrapping a startup, where you have to wear all the hats and do things yourself instead of paying someone. At least you can do it from home in your onesie, though!
2. What Didn’t Go So Well This Year?
Side Project #2
This I detail in my 2019 goals post. We were supposed to be further along than we are currently are but ran into a number of problems.
I’ve set aside specific times to work on the project each week and my css/html/web dev and other traffic driving skills have improved a crazy amount over the last few months that I feel like I’m ready to crush it this year.
There were sporadic weeks where I’d be super gung-ho about the gym, but then I’d fall off the wagon for a bit. In my 2019 annual goals, I set up a spreadsheet with actions to track my health goals.
I was bogged down this year by some personal stuff, so I didn’t interact with friends and family as much as I’d hoped. I’m hoping our monthly get-together with our game night group will return. I’ll see Lisa and Harry each week, which makes me very happy.
I wanted to cook one different new recipe each week but that just stressed me out. I also kept putting off buying new kitchen gadgets so that didn’t help either. I’m looking forward to watching the Gordon Ramsey Masterclass.
My outline of my 2019 goals and the accompanying spreadsheet will get me on the right track.
3. What Am I Working Toward?
Optimizing My Health
Health is wealth. What good is financial independence if you’re not healthy and able to experience the freedom that comes with it?
My 2019 goals include a large plan for getting healthier by exercising at the same time each week in specific exercises.
Cementing Good Habits
I’ve never really had a good routine (other than checking blog stats when waking up, apparently). I’ve really tried to start changing that this year after reading Atomic Habits. I found an awesome habit app called Fabulous that is helping me do that. They’re working with Dan Ariely, one of my favorite behavioral psychology experts, and I’m happy to say I’m making small changes already. By the end of the year, I hope to have cemented my morning, night and weekday afternoon habits to be good ones.
FIRE (Financial Independence)
I hope to be financially independent by the time I turn 30. For my financial independence calculation, I only include my own assets. Even if I were to get married, people get divorced. Do I really want to be going back to work or worrying about money when I’ve already tasted financial independence?
My 2019 goals are around a number of new skillsets, most of which are programming related. I already know Python/Java well, and C a little less well. I’m not good at front-end though. Guess I’m trying to be more full-stack so I can easily build an entire project myself.
4. What Non-Tangible Things Did I Learn?
I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I realized I like to finish projects in one shot instead of working on 10 projects 5 percent at a time. This is problematic for a blog because I tend to want to write 25 posts on a certain topic before publishing all of them. I dislike going back and fixing old posts because it feels like I’m going backwards. So, I’ve decided to write 2 posts per week while working on my blog projects. I’ve set aside one day biweekly where I work a few hours on fixing up old content and sprucing up the blog look.
The Importance Of Empathy
People don’t always want a step-by-step guide or optimal solution. Sometimes they just want to feel like they’re being heard. Blog posts shouldn’t always be about the best solution, but about connecting and resonating.
Storytelling and Visualizations
Personal stories are the easiest to remember. Why are parables or stories so popular? Because they’re easy to remember and have a lesson at the end. I’m hoping to inject more humanity into the blog with guest posts about people’s personal stories regarding travel hacking, personal finance, and self-growth.
The 2018 annual review isn’t very long because I truthfully did not set my goals properly. 2019’s will be better!
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