If your New Year’s resolutions haven’t been panning out the way you’d hoped, it might be time to switch gears. This year, why not try conducting your own annual review?

It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2014. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

Did you accomplish what you’d hoped to this year? Or, a better question: Do you even remember what you’d hoped to accomplish?

If you’re like most of us, probably not. It’s likely you scrawled a few resolutions onto the back of an envelope on January 1st, only to take it — literally and figuratively — out to the recycling a few weeks later.

For those of you who are seeking change and growth in the coming year, you might be thinking: “There’s got to be a better way.”

It’s time to conduct your own annual review

That’s what Chris Guillebeau, the author of “The Happiness of Pursuit,” thought — so each December, he started conducting a personal annual review.

Here’s how he describes it:

“Every year since 2005, I’ve spent the better part of a week in late December planning my life for the next year. Overall, this is probably the best decision I’ve made in terms of working towards multiple goals simultaneously. The idea is to create a road map for the year ahead—not a rigid daily schedule, but an overall outline of what matters to me and what I hope to achieve in the next year.”

Interested? We’ve broken down his process below — so you can decide if it would work for you:

  1. Make a spreadsheet to record everything; he includes a template in the post
  2. Review the past year: what went well, what didn’t go well, and what goals you achieved
  3. Divide your life into categories, then create 3-5 measurable goals for each. Some of Guillebeau’s categories include business, friends & family, travel, health, and financial
  4. Determine the actions needed to achieve each goal. He gives this example: If your goal is to run a marathon, you’ll need to start running three miles, three times a week
  5. Add reminders to your calendar to review your goals each quarter
  6. Lastly, set an overarching theme for the upcoming year

Because a personal annual review encompasses what went wrong, what went right, and what you want to happen in the future, Guillebeau says it can help you feel “excited about future goals and resolved to move on from any failures.”

Face it: Your New Year’s resolutions haven’t been cutting it. (Don’t worry; neither have anybody else’s.) Personal annual reviews sound like a smart alternative — and we’re excited to try them out. Just think of everything you could accomplish in 2015!

Do you create resolutions or goals? Would a personal annual review work for you?

Susan Shain (@TravlJunkette) is a travel blogger who loves helping people discover adventure through international travel or alternative careers.


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