This year I didn’t make any new years resolutions. Who needs them? Every year I pitch resolutions into the air like water balloons — heavy, loaded — and every year they fall splat on the ground within months, sometimes just weeks (I said I’d go to the gym every day? What was I thinking?) The truth is I never resolved to do anything all those years. I wished, maybe, hoped. But true resolution is filled with determination and passion and focus. And when I truly resolve to do something? I do it.
Statistics show that most people break their new years resolutions, but actually — I don’t think so. Most of us live up to what we truly resolve to do because once we honestly resolve to do something we're long past “maybe” and “if only.” The so called statistics measure something else. Resolutions without resolve. Something we throw out into the universe at this time of year and hope against hope that they’ll fly. Balloons without air.
So I'm scrapping new years resolutions. But that doesn't mean there isn't value in dropping back and taking a long hard look at the path. And it turns out that while I’ve made and broken plenty of resolutions in my time, I always make and focus on my goals.
So this year instead of lobbing sodden wishes into the universe, I decided to join the ranks of other goal-oriented makers of things (like blogs and businesses and art) and I conducted a personal Annual Review.
Like I said, it’s something I do anyway. But I like the idea of making myself a bit more accountable by writing down a full assessment and new goals from year to year: Where have I been and where am I headed? And then sharing my Annual Review here: specific goals, specific assessment at year's end, and new goals again.
I’ve adopted elements and processes from others — particularly Karenika and Chris Guillebeau — who adopted elements and processes from others…We each take what works for us, add a little and make it our own. You can too, if you'd like. My process goes like this:
First, I purchased a 5 ½”X8” moleskin notebook with graph paper (a great idea also from Karenika). Love the mobility factor and it’s both text and image friendly. I'll be using this Notebook in 52 week increments to track my use of time and practice a few things according to the priorities I set in my goals (more on that later) Then, reserving page one for my Word and Theme of the year (which comes later after the assessment is complete), I turned to page two and answered Chris's two questions:
What went well?
What didn't go so well?
Next, I reviewed my goals for last year. If I had conducted an Annual Review for 2011, I would have specific goals to refer back to, but this first annual I had to go from memory.
I created a new set of goals for 2012.
Finally I decided what my word for the year would be and wrote that on page one of my Notebook.
And then I entered my theme for 2012 below it.
I think after reading my assessment and goals below, the word and the theme will make sense to you, too.
2011 ANNUAL REVIEW
Last year was the year of transition. My family made the move from the east bay to the north bay with a sense of shifting geography and decades. Lots of reflection on the previous decade in Colorado — ending almost 10 years ago exactly — as a teacher and young mom. Lots of reflection on this past decade — also almost 10 years ago exactly — raising teenagers and creating enterprises. Much to think about in the new decade ahead and the move from one half of my life to the other.
What Went Well
- Found the perfect location for our new home to be
- Sold the previous house at reasonable price in least amount of time given current ugly market conditions
- All three girls where they should be in this time of their lives, V just entering teenage-hood, E just leaving it, and A transitioning to adulthood.
- Efficiently moved belongings (after five homes, we are officially expert movers)
- Addition/remodel designed and on track.
- Successfully transitioned out of Ed Foundation
- Completed planned period of “what’s next” assessment. Studied. Identified core interests to pursue in 2012.
- Learned Wordpress and set up blog.
- On solid road to fitness
- Took three classes
- Read or nearly completed 31 books.
What Didn’t Go Well
- With above list as evidence, didn’t invite enough gratitude
- Haven’t found my voice/stride/consistency on blog
- Lots of angst about time and the struggle to honor what’s most important
- The Lizard Brain is in full control – artist within cowers
- Socially, little headway in new community
- Only read 31 books – and only 10 were fiction!
Results from Last Year – Final Review
Note: Again, going forward the idea is to look back at the prior year’s Annual Review and record progress made for each goal. Since I did not formally create a plan last year, I had to rely on memory.
- Sell house and buy another: move to a home and a community.
- Transition out of the Foundation with a well functioning team to carry on.
- Enter into a fitness program that I could sustain — get back to yoga.
- Start and grow my blog.
- Find the path to my next enterprise. (I think the goal was really to identify a clear path rather than actually do more than blog in this busy year of transition.)
I'm on track and made great progress: We made the move successfully, I left the Ed Foundation in good hands, and I found Oliveyah. No new years “resolution” needed to get fit; I’m doing it! I didn’t fully meet the final two goals. I did start the blog, but not blogging consistently yet and I have yet to grow it. Getting closer to next enterprise — the next business project — but the path is not clear yet. And of course that’s okay (pat on my own back for treating myself fairly). It was good year and a tough year. Change is not easy and I still managed to meet key and significant goals, and I’m on the path to reach the others. I have not abandoned what I set out to do. But as I look to the future, it’s important to ask myself what happened. What obstacles did I encounter? What do I want to do with those goals now? Should I abandon them for others?
I thought about these questions as I set goals for 2012.
One benefit of this Annual Review process is that it made me think both more broadly and deeply. I identified six categories of areas in my life that call me to action in 2012 and 3-5 goals for each category! I look forward to sitting down one year from now to assess what I accomplished — and what else happened along the way.
I’ve been working to create a vibrant digital outpost where I can write and learn and share. My own treehouse. As I noted in my 2011 assessment, I’ve made some progress — Tracking Breakthroughs is up — but much more to do in coming year. Many demons still to face down: procrastination, confidence, vulnerability, TIME!
Goal: Write fluently; reduce second-guessing and over editing
Goal: Write consistently – post 3-4x/week
Goal: Own this work: I blog. And do it.
Goal: Go to a blogging convention as a blogger
Goal: Find community
I’m always learning and each year I set out to learn something different. Several years ago, I was learning about education foundations and public school funding. Other years I learned all I could about running small businesses and business plans. Over the last couple of years, I learned a ton about social media and blogging. This year I want to learn how to draw and paint and take photos. I want to learn how to tap into the power of visual imagery to support my long time reliance on text. I also want to learn more about coaching and group facilitation — a way back to the teacher in me.
Goal: Take art classes to learn how to keep a visual journal
Goal: Determine if image/art making gets me deeper into my authentic self and has place to grow writing
Goal: Learn how to take better pictures and post on blog sometimes
Goal: Learn more about myself as coach and facilitator. Start a learning circle and/or a creativity group
As I dive into writing and art-making, I also want to spend more time enjoying art. I’ve spent several years reading a lot on personal development, the digital world and business. I want to get back to my first love (English major that I am): literature! I also want to spend more time in museums and other places where art is to be found. And most of all, I really want to share what I encounter!
Goal: Read a book a week – 50-75% fiction
Goal: Visit art museums, places and events regularly and often for inspiration and joy
Goal: Share each book and art experience on blog (and record each in Notebook)
Goal: Start or join a book group
This category has to do with all relationships in my life: old friends, family and new friends to be, husband D and children A, E and V. But as a new member of a new community, I’m of course especially focused on meeting new people locally.
Goal: Connect more with those I love.
Goal: Make at least three new friends in new community
Goal: Join a community group
Goal: Make new friends online – make connections via social media, comments, blog
Ahh, my spiritual self needs so much attention. But I especially need to practice gratitude, centering, and self acceptance.
Goal: Practice daily gratitude – record in Notebook
Goal: Practice centering and listening to inner voice through meditation and journal writing
Goal: Stop second guessing myself; accept.
Goal: More authenticity; less hiding
Health and Fitness
I've spent the last 2-3 months in the gym on a regular basis under the guidance of a gifted body specialist. It's been difficult and worthwhile, and barring injury I do not plan to stop! I've been wanting to get back to yoga and now I feel I'm strong enough again to come back to my practice and round out my fitness routine. Nutritionally, I can do better so I must make eating well a goal.
Goal: Maintain the 2-3 days week training with Oliveyah, transitioning to one outdoors and two indoors
Goal: Find yoga again.
Goal: Drink 8oz water regularly – like every 2 hours
Goal: Eat for optimum nutrition and health: reduce calories, eat mostly veggies, fruit, eggs, white meat and fish, reduce dairy, sugar, flour.
So that's my Annual Review for 2011 and Goals for 2012. May I truly COMMIT to them every day, every week throughout the year - and may this year be truly A YEAR OF BUILDING!
And may you reach your goals in the new year, too!
Happy New Year