It was the end of 2006 and my life was a disaster. I was sleeping on the floor, curled up in the corner of my rented bedroom. I couldn’t afford a bed. I made $15,392.19 in 2006. I had over $10,000 in credit card debt.
I wanted to make a million dollars but I didn’t know how. My water got shut off because I stopped paying the bills. You can go without paying your water bill for months before they actually cut you off. Once it’s off, you still have whatever’s left in the hot water tank before you’re really empty.
I begged God for help, but he couldn’t help me. I needed to become my own Messiah, I needed to save myself.
2006 was the first year that I did an “Annual Review”. I had a crush on a girl. She had a blog and I’d secretly read it. She posted her own a “Yearly Review”. I wrote one too, because I thought it was a great idea. But mostly because I wanted her to like me.
I’ve done an Annual Review every year since 2006. They’re extremely personal so I don’t share them. I don’t think I could be completely honest if I knew that someone else might read them.
Every December, I read through my past reviews. It’s so powerful, so damn motivating, to see myself progress and grow through the years. You get to see how your own priorities shift as you grow and morph into a better version of yourself.
The reviews are simple— I try to answer these six simple questions:
Take time, really set aside an hour or so to answer these and come back to them for a week or month, however long it takes to flush them out completely. You’ll regret not taking it seriously when you look back in a year.
By the way, I also recommend storing these somewhere safe, like Evernote or Dropbox. I lost my review from 2006 in a hard drive crash and I regret it every single year when I look back. It sucks. I’ll never remember exactly what I was thinking or feeling when my life was in the gutter.
I hate resolutions because no one actually does them. They’re meaningless. It’s a kind of guilty pleasure— pretending that this year is going to be the one that you change, that you do something different. But 12 months go by, and you’re still fat/smoking/broke. I know because I’ve been there.
The truth is, making bold resolutions feels good— so good, that making the resolution actually feels better than doing the resolution (the hard part).
Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions (and not doing them), draft a “2015 Master Plan”. This is a fun exercise, but you’re not allowed to do it until after your annual review.
Step 1: Create 6 sections— Travel, Money, Health, Creative, Career/Business, and Learning. Come up with atleast 10 goals for each section. Think big, not just “realistic”. Make them crazy-stupid— hairy, ambitious goals.
Step 2: Break each goal down into 12 monthly goals. If you can’t easily break one down, it’s because you haven’t defined it well enough. This is your 12 month plan. Follow it for the next 365 days.
Step 3: Visualize & read your goals every morning. Humans are awful at remembering. We forget even our most burning desires. The boring parts of life get in the way. I write down my 5 year goals every morning, because otherwise I’d forget what they were.
“Make big plans and live your fucking life.”