Every year since 2009 I’ve taken some time at the end of the year to do a personal review.  This is a rather informal process, in which I basically think about what went well this year, what didn’t go so well, and where I want to focus my energy for the upcoming year.  I typically conclude the process with a list of 25-30 tangible goals which I track and refer to throughout the year.

In the early years I would set several goals around areas of my life – Work, Home, Finances, etc.  These categories differed based on the year (when we bought a house, I had several goals related to the house) and some were fun goals (go to Italy) and others weren’t (buy a new oil tank).In recent years, I’ve focused more on my values and creating goals based on those.  For example, under my value of ‘Curiosity’ I would have goals like go to five plays, visit five museums and take three fun classes.  I have also totally stopped making goals I feel like I SHOULD have, and now only make goals I really want to do.

Some goals that fall under the ‘should’ category were taking language lessons, running a marathon and being vegan for a month.  I mean, they sound good but I don’t really want to take language lessons if I’m being honest.  And I would like to say that I’ve run a marathon without actually having to do it, you know?In 2013 I had 24 goals around five different key values.  Here at the end of the year, I can say that I successfully completed 15 of the goals (63%), made good progress on an additional three goals (13%) and didn’t tackle six of the goals at all.  My highlights this year included reading Infinite Jest, seeing six plays/musicals, completing a large volunteer project and paying off a small leftover amount of debt back in January.

I have found some goals inherently difficult to achieve and these are usually around modifying how I eat.  This year I had on the list to do a month of vegetarianism and to also try out Mark Bittman’s program of Vegan Before 6 (6pm that is).  I think that if I lived alone or had a willing partner this would be much easier, but with Drew around cooking amazing food all the time, my willpower goes out the window.  Maybe more achievable goals in the food arena would be to add in foods to my diet (smoothies?  daily fruit?) rather than take away.

For 2014 I have a much smaller list of goals.  This may be due to the recent move to London, or the focus we have on travelling in exclusion of other things, but so far I have 12 concrete goals, all of which I really want to do.  In addition to visiting 10 new countries, I’d like to join or form a book club, increase my circle of friends and get settled into a new fitness routine (one that is fun, works well in this weather and without quick and easy access to gyms, which are just not as prevalent in the UK).

I’m going to get back to the list and give it a think for the few remaining days in 2013, but 2014 is shaping up to be an amazing and adventurous year – just the way I like it!

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