What does a company do every single year that you use to be wealthier, healthier, happier, and overall have a better and more successful life
I’ve taken the awesome Chris Guillebeau’s process (at The Art of Non-Conformity) of conducting an annual review of your life and expanded it to writing your own annual and quarterly reports. Have you ever read a corporation’s annual report? I have, and I’ll tell you that the concept translates perfectly into your own work/business or life. But don’t worry, you don’t need to write 100+ pages, have it reviewed by lawyers, or file it with the SEC. It can be as basic or as fancy as you want it to be.
Create categories for each part of your life where you want to accomplish something and report on:
- Others (spiritual, creative, artistic, reading, whatever else you want to accomplish
You can create sub-categories too, if you want to set goals or report on those. For example, work can be divided into your 9-5 job, your business, and/or your side hustles. Maybe finances is broken down into charitable giving, saving and investing, debt payoff, and income.
Go through each category and ask yourself (write down):
- If I was to summarize this category for my life in a single paragraph, what would it say?
- What have I accomplished this year?
- What did I want to accomplish this year, but didn’t? Why didn’t I?
- What hard facts or numbers do I have on this category?
- For work, do you have a specific dollar amount you currently earn? A bonus you received? A promotion or big new project?
- For family, is there a number you want to reach on the things you do together-for example, a certain number of books read/activities done? Specific activities you want to do?
- For finances, determine your goals and calculate your net worth to see how close/far you are
- For travel, is there a specific location (or locations) you went, or where you want to go to? A dollar amount you want to save toward travel?
- For the other categories, what specifics can you come up with?
- Then make a list of all your goals for the next year by category
- Don’t be afraid to make them stretch goals. Remember this isn’t going to a boss or to anyone else that will critique you. Dream big and you’ll accomplish more than you thought possible
- Make them specific enough so you can know whether or not you’ve met them
- For example, you wouldn’t want to make “travel more” a goal. Instead you would make it “Travel three times this year, which is more than the twice I traveled last year”. Or “take a day trip with the family at least once per month”
To write your annual report:
- Write details into a section for each category
- Summarize everything into an “executive summary”
- Print it out and keep it in a place where you will re-read it often
What format do you want to do this in? Make it fun and interesting for you. If you’re more of a visual person, try creating a vision board where you print out pictures representing your goals to look at throughout the year. Or you can create a cool infographic like I did, to summarize your year and your goals. Or just write it on a piece of paper, or keep a note in your phone that you can look at regularly.
Sounds easy, right? The nice thing about this process is that it can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. You can take a few minutes to dash off some goals and accomplishments, set aside several hours over a few days at the end of the year specifically to do this exercise. To be effective you’ll need to be honest with yourself, and set realistic goals. Picture yourself and your family at the end of this year, when you’ve met your goals. Think about how those goals will help you get where you want your life to go in the long run.
I’m working through mine now – here’s the executive summary of my year in review:
See, here I’m challenged because I didn’t measure/track all of these throughout the year. And I really sucked on the health front-other than the summer I didn’t accomplish what I wanted. Why? Well work got much busier than it was. Plus I’m terrible about exercising in the winter. And the delicious baked goods just may be conflicting with my healthy living goals … (a delicious conflict, but a conflict none the less). This is an area I want to focus on for next year.
Overall I’m pretty pleased with my accomplishments. Financially, I won’t know where I stand until after the quarter closes and I run my net worth calculation (which, like the financial nerd I am, I’m looking forward to). I’m assuming Q4 was good based on what I’ve seen in the financial media, but my specific numbers are what matters here.
For travel, we all had an awesome time on that spring road trip. The kids still talk about it and all the fun things we did. We did “make your own Hershey bars” in Hershey PA, saw Luray caverns, and had a surprisingly great time in Philadelphia. They’re already talking about the next trip, and they want to go places we’ve never been before. I’m thinking of a roadtrip in a circle around north of where we are (CT) – open to suggestions!
And here are my 2017 goals:
Most of these goals are within my control, although some are not – like the direction of the investment markets, how much college will cost, or what inflation will look like. I’ve tried to make these as specific as possible so I’ll know at the end of the month, quarter, and year whether or not I’ve met them. Also lots of these goals meet serve more than one purpose-for example, the travel goals and hiking in health help with family, work helps with money, etc.
Are you looking forward to 2017-and what do you want to achieve? Did you accomplish what you planned in 2016? Let me know in the comments.