Hello 2015! I guess this proves that I am getting older! Heck I’ll even be older by the time I finish this post!
Because I am largely an optimistic person by nature, I tend to look back at most things as having been successful. However, this process is extremely valuable for me because I want to also be able to identify what did not go well and learn and improve! This process can also be good for folks who are the opposite – you may be surprised at just how much you actually accomplished in the last year!
This post will look at what went well and what did not for 2014 and then specifically go through and break down each 2014 goal in order and I will self-grade my results and progress. My hope for sharing this is to both inspire you to conduct your own annual review, and to give some insight into how I structure the process and reflect upon my year.
This annual review process is inspired by Chris Guillebeau who has been publishing his annual reviews for several years.
What went well in 2014:
I launched the Art of Adventure podcast! This is the first big project I have successfully launched! Thanks to everyone who helped the show hit the top of iTunes New and Noteworthy section for business, education, and self-help!
I learned someÂ new sports: I completed my first skate ski race of over 25 kilometers in West Yellowstone (and thanks to a teammate who helped my get my race wax right, I finished in 49th place, helping me crack the first page of the results). Â I learned to handstand thanks to my soon to be yoga instructor wife Mary. Â I did more yoga than I have ever done, thanks in part from a yoga retreat at Hariharalaya retreat center in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Â I learned an HIIT sprinting based workout for traveling (thanks to my friend Justin O’connor and his Under 20 Workout). And…Â I learned to surf in the legendary breaks off the west coast of Bali
I prioritized friends and family. The biggest upshot of this was traveling home for three weddings, including my cousin and two college roommates. In one week we flew from Cambodia to Korea, Japan, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, New York, and Portland again, and even for experienced travelers, we were quite proud of ourselves for staying alert the whole time.
I learned a lot. Â I did not have a specific reading goal for 2014 but I came close to reading one book per week (which was my secret internal goal). I also listened to probably 200+ hour of podcasts for the purpose of self improvement. I wrote my masters thesis and became deeply knowledgable about the small niche of archaeal viruses. I learned to play Chinese Chess by playing against a local restaurant owner I became friends with in Hoi An, Vietnam
I connected with more people. Â Largely because of the podcast and my membership in the School of Greatness Academy, I met over 100 new entrepreneurs. Â I also have made my list of the top 150 people in my life based on the book How to Be a Power Connector: The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network into Profits, and I have been actively staying in touch with more of these people.
I traveled to new places! Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, and Singapore are my new countries for this year! Â I saw lots of different cultures, natural wonders, ate lots of new food, experienced lots of weather, motorbiked through tropical lands, I have been on lakes, rivers, and the ocean countless times, and saw one of the places I most wanted to see in the world: Angkor Wat! I finally got to see the tree growing on the the temple of the goddess that I saw 20 years ago in National Geographic that inspired me to world travel in the first place.
-Despite defending my thesis and passing my comprehensive exam, the final edits of my thesis are stalled in review. Despite knowing that need to get this wrapped up quickly, I have been dragging my feet to formalize the degree.
-Lack of athletic competition resulted in a drop in fitness. This is the first year in the last 20 that I raced less than 10 racing days in a year.
-I was overwhelmed at times by travel decisions. Navigating long term travel with anyone can be tricky, but for the most part Mary and I travel well together. Sometimes, when I am in charge of the week’s plans or even the restaurant choice, I second guess my decisions making and/or state my decision in a weak manner, rather than taking charge and being a leader when I need to be.
-I found it hard to write consistently. I intended to write every day for the blog and for journaling purposes, but there were several times when my enthusiasm for writing waned and I was not able to follow through
-I missed some relationships with people at “home”. Perhaps it is inevitable when you travel the world that you will sacrifice some connectedness with you friends and family back home. At times this has been a big pain point and challenge for me this year
-The cycling coaching business suffered. Perhaps it is because I was not racing bicycles myself this year and meeting new potential clients in person, but I didn’t grow my coaching business as I had hoped
Now, let’s look specifically at the 2014 goals I published last year:
1.Â Finish Grad School. I am currently 99.99 percent done, I simply need the committee to finish thesis approval, which relies on my academic advisor. Grade: B-
2.Â Sell the Boulder condo and invest the capital.Â We sold the condo finally (from Vietnam no less!) and lost a lot of money due to the absence of rent during flood repairs, decided not to reinvest in real estate because find the right property would have delayed our trip departure by a month. Â Instead, we invested in micro loans through Lending Club instead (9.98% annual return currently). Grande: B
3.Â Grow my cycling coaching business.Â My focus shifted away from growing the coaching business to some extent even though while in in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos I had a big push for the CX season. Largely due to not getting my name out to enough potential new athletes and/or making clear I am available for hire. Grade: D
4.Â Visit at least five new countries.Â Success! Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, and Bali! Â Single best day was probably in Vang Vieng, Laos, where we climbed a mountain, explored a giant cave, swam in a milky blue lagoon, toured the countryside by motorbike, and met cool people. Grade: A
5.Â Connect with people and expand my network. Podcasting has been one of the best networking tools I could give myself, as wells connecting with people in Lewis Howes’ School of Greatness Academy (online mastermind group). Grade: A
6.Â Write 365,000 words.Â I fell well short of this goal in total words, but I am giving myself a little bit of a free pass because I did produce a lot of content: 41 blog posts, my first ebook, a 70 page masters thesis, 25 podcast episodes, several cycling and training related guests posts, and a cyclocross webinar. So while I did not meet my initial goal, I did grow my content creation quality and consistency. Grade: B
7.Â Get a paid modeling gig. I hired a virtual assistant in Vietnam to find me some modeling gigs there and connected with models and photographers there and found agencies that might hire me. Â Turns out there is not a big demand fro western faces or high paying positions in Asia. Â So I shelved this idea for when I am back in the US. Grade: NA
8.Â Be a better husband, friend, and family member. This is a hard to quantify goal but in general I improved on this front. We made it a priority to make the long trek home (36 hours!) to be at the wedding of two of my best friends and cousin in three different states and the trip was totally worthwhile. Â I was able to spend extra time with my family plus host a friend visiting Portland. In addition to the trip to the states, I have been calling and staying in touch with friends better by tracking it on an excel sheet. Also, not that I am telling the truth all the time and being brutally honest I am showing the real me more. Plus we bough scarves for all the christmas crew. Grade: A-
9.Â Increase charitable giving. because we have not been able to increase our income substantial (still below grad school levels, giving has not increased. However, I did mobilize people to give charitably for my birthday which saw us raise over $300 fro charity water, which was more than I would have been able to give on my own! Grade: B
10.Â Get to 6% body fat at 180 lbs. Â This did not happen. Â I was able to get intoÂ relatively decent running shape in Portland during the fall, but have lost some of that here in Bali.Â Traveling makes it hard to stay in shape!Â Some muscle mass rescued by surfing and the Under 20 workout, but it isÂ likely that I am still around 10% body fat and still have abdominal fat. Â Still getting plenty of sleep and doing yoga and mediation helps with overall health. Grade:Â C
I’ll follow this post up with the plan for 2015 – goals, habits, and projects for the next year!
What is your year end review process like? If you leave a comment below sharing your own annual review process or a link to your published annual review blog post, I will promote it for you on Twitter!