2011 Annual Review: Looking Back


Greetings, everyone. I’m finishing up my latest trip to Africa, and I hope you’re well wherever you are.

Below is the first part of the 2011 Annual Review. Two notes on this year’s series: first, at the end of each post over the next few weeks, you’re invited to leave your own response.

Second, we’re compiling a list of other people who are doing their own Annual Reviews at the same time. If you’d like to share yours, include a link to one of this year’s AONC posts. Our system will automagically pick it up, and we’ll share a few highlights from several blogs at the end of the series.

Have fun!


As explained in previous posts, the review focuses on looking ahead to the next year, but I first spend at least a day looking back on the year that’s ending. I start with two simple questions:

What went well in 2011?

What did not go well in 2011?

Answering these questions is an easy way to begin the process of being intentional about your choices in the forthcoming year. In case you’re curious, some of my answers are below.

What Went Well in 2011

I wrapped up the 63-city Unconventional Book Tour by visiting every province in Canada. (A brief, simultaneous attempt at visiting every Tim Horton’s in Canada was sadly unsuccessful, though not for lack of trying.)

I finished writing THE $100 STARTUP, my second book. The project involved interviewing hundreds of people and distilling their lessons into a giant research project that eventually became a 70,000+ word book. Naturally, it was a ton of work, but I’m excited to get it out to the world in May 2012.

Business work was great. Despite having only one major product launch this year, the Unconventional Guides business still grew more than 40% from 2010. (I’ll share some specific business lessons in the next post.)

I made it to more than twenty new countries, bringing me closer to the goal of going everywhere. (I’ll do a whole travel roundup with specific notes next Thursday.)

Together with a strong Portland team, I hosted the inaugural World Domination Summit (WDS). Even though we expected good things, it’s safe to say that WDS exceeded all high expectations. With 70% of year one attendees paying in advance to return—when we didn’t even know the date, the speakers, or the program—we felt confident that we were building good things. Several attendees said it didn’t feel like a conference as much as a gathering of friends, and that was our intention from the beginning.

To be clear, I’m not taking credit for almost any of this. The attendees, speakers, and team were the ones who made our inaugural event extra-awesome. I’m extremely thrilled to be a small part of it, and looking forward to the bigger-and-better sequel next year.

Earlier in the year, Jolie and I moved to a new home in Portland. We’re still in the same part of the city and remain carless by choice. Our furry companion, the Liberator, is still responsible for comment moderation on the blog, and has recently taken on new duties of attacking Christmas trees, causing them to crash on the living room floor and frighten the neighbors.

Traveling 200,000+ miles a year takes its toll, but I remained in relatively good health for most of the year. All told, it was a great year, and I’m grateful for all the adventures.

What Did Not Go Well in 2011

Thinking about what did not go well is the more important part of the review. Overall, the year was fantastic, but how can I improve? Where are the cracks in the wall?

Here is a partial list from that department.

LIMITED SCALING. 2010 was the year of scale and reach, but it seems I can only scale so far. I’ve encountered this a few times in my work over the years—I can easily build a business or project to a certain level, but have difficulty going further.

I suspect part of the problem relates to a deliberate choice of preferring to do a lot of things instead of focusing on one specific thing. I do see this choice mostly in positive terms, but perhaps a negative is that I’ll remain limited in the degree of growth I can achieve. I’m still thinking about this, and haven’t figured it out yet.

TRAVEL FATIGUE. Overall, another epic year of travel was great, but I also began to long for a time when I can travel more freely, and perhaps less intensely. During October’s trip, I flew 11 segments in 14 days, mostly through Africa on random airlines. Then for last week’s trip, I did it again: 10 segments in 12 days, all in Economy class, mostly in Africa with multiple flights at unfortunate departure times such as 3am. I have fairly good travel stamina, but over time, such a schedule does wear me out.

When I got stuck in Australia, I was initially disappointed about not going to Nauru, but then I found myself with three days to spare in Sydney and I had one of the best travel experiences of the whole year. I don’t want to do only “easy” travel, even after I complete my quest, but if I could limit all the intra-Africa flights and 3am departures, I’d be happy. I’m looking forward to that in another year or so.

LIMITED TEAM-BUILDING. With the exception of WDS, I don’t have much of a team in my business work. Reese is a wonder designer who devotes much of her time to all things AONC, and I often leave her waiting on things. Sean does a good job working with our affiliates, but I don’t give him much to work on—which is entirely my fault.

This relates to my earlier problem … the question of scale. What am I trying to build here? In some areas of my work, like book publishing, travel, and WDS, I feel it’s fairly clear. In other areas, though, I find myself hindered by my own poor delegation or decision-making skills.

SMALL THINGS. A few small things fell through the cracks. I hand-wrote 500 cards to each WDS attendee earlier in the year, but I didn’t send holiday cards to all 8,000 Unconventional Guides customers like I did last year. The profile series on AONC is badly in need of updating. Our charity project in Ethiopia continues to raise funds, but I haven’t done much to promote it or completed the site visit yet. (I know that Charity: Water continues to do great work there, so I’m not worried—but I also know that the project could be more substantial if I invested more time with it.)


Something That Matters

When I think about what’s happened thus far and what I want to do next, the simple answer is that I want to do something that matters. I want to make a positive contribution to the world. These are fairly basic motivations, perhaps, but I find them highly motivating.

Overall, my biggest concern is that I remain motivated. As I wrote in The Tower, I want to wake up every day feeling excited about what lies ahead. When I end the day and go to bed in South Sudan, where I’ve been recently, or wherever I am in the world, I want to look back and remember something I made or contributed to.

This sums up what I’m feeling in the final days of 2011: on track, doing well, still motivated to continue, but wanting to make sure I’m doing the right things.

With that in mind, I’m planning to make a few adjustments in how I write for AONC. Next year I’ll actually be writing more, not less, but in a slightly revised format than the one I’ve used since 2008. Of course, I’ll still keep on track with my commitment (3 years and 10 months without missing a scheduled post so far), but I want to make sure it remains an engaging experience.

I’ll share more about that and other plans as we go through this series.

Your Turn: How Was 2011?

Those are my initial thoughts on 2011. Now it’s your turn. What’s one thing that went well in 2011, and one thing that didn’t go well?

Feel free to share some responses in the comments if you’d like, but more importantly, answer the questions for yourself.


Image: Foxy

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  • Amber J. Gardner says:

    I’m currently working on my own Annual Review along with yours.

    I’m happy to say that more things went well in 2011 than I realized, but probably because the things that didn’t do well, were kind of major.

    I gave up on college, failed all my writing and art goals, and basically didn’t follow through on any of my promises/commitments.

    But I did achieve a lot without planning to. I’ve gotten more organized, ended a bad friendship, started my own website, made an important decision regarding my writing, and reunited with lost relatives.

    This will be the first time I plan on making official goals that I’ll keep track of all year instead of just making them and forgetting about them (mostly cause I don’t set deadlines or track them at all) using your method as a guide.

    Thanks for sharing this tool! I’m looking forward to the next posts 🙂

  • Adam Dudley says:

    One thing that went well in 2011:

    I made the smartest business decision of my life in deciding to do a Vision Day with an amazing business adviser and life coach, Rob Berkley, prior to starting our new venture.

    One thing that didn’t go well:

    Tough one…everything went so damn well this year. The only that comes to mind is a horrific customer service experience perpetrated by an incredibly viscous Continental employee.

    It occurred in Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on our way back from a 3-month stay in Berlin. Worst customer service experience of my life by a long-shot. My wife actually cried because we were abused so badly…and she is NOT a crier.

  • rebecca says:

    As always you are like a spark in my brain! I have been thinking about these things, and am excited to work more on them in the year to come…

    First the bad news: clearly not enough $$ came in last year. Ideas had to be postponed because of it. This must change. Got it. Message received.

    The good news: I took the leap, followed my heart and my head and went for it in a totally new way. This new direction is already fueling me onward, and I love it. No doubt the bad news above is going to be swiftly turned on it’s head.

  • Kurt says:

    When you talk about scalability it sounds to me like you’re having some limiting beliefs in that area that you need to tackle. I suggest you hire a coach for that.

    That is the best thing I did this year as I got stuck on a plateau. Unbelievable how a coach can help you break through to a whole new level.

  • Brasilicana says:

    GOOD: I managed to get married in a country that is known for its horrendous bureaucracy. With approximately 20 official documents needed, 40 trips to various offices and about a hundred hours spent in line at the aforementioned offices, this was no small feat!

    BAD: I worked too much and didn’t have enough “margin” time for writing and other creative pursuits. This was largely due to the marriage-and-visa headache, so it’s over and done… and I’m launching a new product in January! 😀

  • BeckyIO says:

    There were several things that I had planned on doing in 2011 that came to pass. Perhaps most noteworthy then was something unexpected that popped up this past year and ended up going well: taking up jogging.

    In August my roommate and I heard about this thing called the Couch to 5k running program and decided to give it a try on a whim. We made it through the 9 week course, ran a 4 mile race at the end of October, and are still jogging now long after the program’s completion. I’m pretty proud about that considering I’ve never tried jogging or running before in my life.

    On the flip side, I’ve not managed to make any money via entrepreneurial activities. I launched my blog just over a month ago finally but it’ll be a while before I build that up to the point of creating monetary returns on it. But I’m having a blast at least. 🙂

  • Tanner says:

    Because this will be our first year conducting our Annual Review, I can briefly touch on what went well and not so well last year in a general sense without specific reference to stated goals. 2010 was a year of adventure, growth, and deep self-discovery. From spending a couple months in Africa volunteering, to quitting a good job on a whim to pursue my dreams, to formulating a new path that I hope leads to a more fulfilling life, last year was pretty good. The most significant result from last year would have to be the decision to stop “putting off making decisions about my life” (thanks Chris) and start focusing on what it is I really want out of life.

    What didn’t go so good… well finances are always a challenge and continue to be as such. This is more a product of poor management on my part. I can’t remember what post I read it in but I think Chris, you said something like through our actions we choose what is a priority and what isn’t even if it is unconsciously. I can see that we need a shift in priority to make our dreams come true.

    Thanks again for letting us peek into your process and adapt it as our own. Keep up the amazing work Chris, take care.

  • Linda G. says:

    Good: bid at a bankruptcy auction and acquired several lots of cool and potentially valuable items to sell on ebay as a side business.

    Bad: have been paying to keep said lots in storage to the tune of $200/month, and haven’t been motivated to get on eBay and do the nitty gritty yet.

    Beware bulky inventory and public storage. it can be a black hole!

  • Ken says:

    What went well? My wife and I sold everything and left Richmond, Va to move to Mt. Shasta, CA. Our blogs have been building traffic, and we landed some new writing clients. Started a subscription service and it has been going quite well (should have done it a year ago) Oh, and we discovered your blog. 🙂

    What didn’t go so well? The move to Mt. Shasta. Should of planned it just a bit better. Got here in October and by November some of our clients decided to scale back until after the first of the year. But at the same time, we are enjoying ourselves.

  • iktomi says:

    2011 was another good year to be retired. The worry about what the governments do with budgets and the economy, the end of a long war, and the heat up of politics frenzy made for interesting reading and speculation. Technology continues to keep us entertained. Some new things were speculated about the universe, new archeological diggings changed thoughts about ancient history, book tv reviews were interesting. Personally I am glad for the health breakthroughs, availability of medications, and online educational pursuits I can enjoy. Travel is out of the question for long journeys but short forays are still possible. I enjoy reading of the journeys other people make. I like the phone options available, the internet search engines, and of course your site..Have a great 2012 Chris and much success wishes to all your loyal readers. Happy holidays.

  • KC says:

    Good: Cashed out of one big investment and have a lot of money to invest.

    Bad: One of my businesses is on the decline.

  • Raj says:

    Good: Started my own site where I share my hotel industry knowledge. Learn’t a lot about online marketing, entrepreneurship and that is something I want to do. Going to start a second site soon. This will be where I share my thoughts, visions and it will give me an opportunity to connect with other like minded individuals.
    Bad: Haven’t had the financial success I was hoping for.

  • Jessica says:

    Thank you so much for helping me start this process. Good: I have a better understanding of my strength’s at work and at home. Opportunity: Believe in my abilities and never stop dreaming of a better more inspiring future.

  • Ali Handal says:

    Thanks so much for your inspiration and your blog, Chris! I’m doing my own in-depth review and planning for 2012. Here’s a lil summary of 2011:

    Good: I wrote a “How To Play Guitar” book that will be released by a major music publisher (Hal Leonard) in 2012. I sold out of my first 1,000 copies of my 3rd CD, “Make Your Move.” I developed a series of autoresponders that enables my fans to get to know me and helps me sell more CDs. My band performed for a festival crowd full of rock radio program directors and killed it.

    Bad: I didn’t perform as often as I’d like to with my band (or without my band). I didn’t dedicate the time and practice necessary to meet one of my long-term vocal goals. I didn’t get any new film or TV placements for my music in 2011.

    I’m very much looking forward to keeping in touch in 2012 — thanks for doing what you do, Chris!!

  • brooklynchick says:

    I ran my first 5K! Ending the year on that high note.

  • moom says:

    Good: Got a permanent job as full professor (I once had a tenured position in the US and quit to move to Australia – making a comeback like this is not so easy), got my biggest research grant to date, got three papers published, continue to get a good rate of references to my research in academic and popular media, did four international trips, including my first visit to India, got good teaching evaluations at my first attempts to teach in Australia.


    1.I think my time management could be improved a lot. With increased teaching responsibilities etc. I don’t think I am getting as much new research done. But if I managed time better I think I could.

    2. Investment performance was bad. Markets continue to be bad and I’m positioned incorrectly for them. We saved a lot of money though…

    3. Gained weight and I need to lose it.

  • Duane Brown says:

    It has been a crazy & rocky year of mostly positives and a few negatives. I’ve to say getting dumped by a guy I was dating started on me on this crazy good journey.

    * Paying off my student debt & becoming debt free at 29.
    * Moving to Australia in September to live for 7 months after finding a job and a place to live in 30 days.
    * Launching my own business conference for my industry in Toronto (start planning for next 2012 soon).

    * Not making as much money as I’d like and hopped for in Australia.
    * Losing focus & becoming slightly depressed in May over something that wasn’t important

    When I look back on 2011. I achieved more then I could have hopped for by following my heart & passion. I also trusted AND invested in myself one idea at a time. Above all I planned through a few back up plans for each idea and didn’t waste any time… outside of my rocky May and being depressed. A good kick in the bum, which I gave myself, got me back on track. To 2012 and all our hopes & dream.

    This video inspired my year: Conan O’Brien’s 2011 Dartmouth College Commencement Address –

  • Franisz Ginting says:

    I just want to comment about: the goal of going everywhere. I know that you have visited Indonesia — as you ever said that you’ve been to Batam and Bali or also Jakarta — but still there are many parts/cities/islands in Indonesia that perhaps you are interested to visit if by chance you go to Indonesia again.

    See you in Indonesia. : )

  • Matthew says:

    Thanks for sharing your annual review process, Chris. I’m a new(-ish) reader and will be doing an annual review for this first time in 2011. I’m excited to do the review and start making positive changes for 2012.

    All-told, 2011 was a great year for me. More things went well than poorly. The first things that come to mind:

    What went well in 2011?
    I left my debilitating, 70-hour-per-week office job at a software company. I earned my TEFL Certificate in Peru, taught ESL there, and now I’m teaching ESL in Costa Rica. Plus, I visited Machu Picchu! I created a list of 25 things I wanted to try and did a lot of them.

    What didn’t go well in 2011?
    I’ve let my personal health and fitness suffer a little. I didn’t eat as healthfully as I have in years past, and I didn’t challenge myself often or reach my fitness goals.

    Thanks again for sharing. Good luck on the start of a successful 2012.

  • GutsyLiving says:

    Great news for me: I started a “My Gutsy Story” contest for writers to share something that either changed their life, changed the way they think about things, or made their life take a different direction.
    Bad: I didn’t get my travel memoir: “Freeways to Flip-Flops: Our year of Living Like the Swiss Family Robinson” published yet due to a heavy focus on social media and blogging.

  • Lilly says:

    Thank you for getting me thinking about this:

    I want to end on a positive note so– what did not go so good: very busy, over worked, fatigued- NOT ENOUGH FUN.

    What went well: I am succeeding in grad school and in the process of transformation. Time with family. I FINALLY get what self-care means and am taking care of me. I am more open and growing spiritually. I’m settled into my place & ABUNDANCE– I’ve gotten everything I wanted and more.

  • Carol says:

    Thanks for this opportunity.
    I’m just back from India, which had the helpful effect of reminding me of what a spec I am on this planet. And also how comfortable and healthful my home is.

    Looking back on the past 12 months, I see I’ve been fortunate that my books and products and the people they bring into my life continue to make life interesting and lively. The downside continues to be that I don’t quantify and plan my micro-businesses so I can be clear on where I make money and where I don’t. In 2012, I’ll do that (with help) and also seek new revenue streams, including perhaps via a “real job” which I do periodically. All good. I also need to find a place in the U.S. to create my escape hatch, ideally with others on board. This will require research.

  • Christina says:

    A great year for accomplishment of career goals. Not a great year for relationships.

  • Kate says:

    Thanks Chris for the reminder – this is such a great exercise.

    Good : moved house 2 days ago on the start of a new phase of adventure, having spent the year growing key new skills, gaining some great new contacts, dealing with long standing health issues and making the most of seeing friends and family.

    Bad : frustration of not moving business things forward fast enough, maybe some procrastination on my part from a fear of rejection and failure.

    Poised for a great 2012 – roll on!!!!!

  • Cynthia Morris says:

    I always love reading your annual review, Chris. It’s very useful to see how other businesses operate and to learn from both successes and failures.

    I used a different structure, but here’s part one of my annual review.

    You were a big part of what made this year great, so thank you very much.

  • Dani Riekwel says:

    What went well: I got married and got a job in an area of work I really enjoyed… for five months. Then I left it and now trying to work on my own.

    What didn’t go well: I failed my chinese exams, but that’s my own fault. poor time management. And this winter has hit me hard with SAD but I’m working on it.

    I love your Annual Review, Chris. It is very inspiring that you are so honest with your readers about your business.

  • Neil Lloyd says:

    One thing that went well: launching my new digital products, after countless hours of work (well, fun) to develop them.

    One thing that did not go well: staying too long working in a contract I wasn’t really enjoying. In hindsight I should have let that contract go at the start of the year to focus more on what matters to me.

  • Doug says:

    2011 had it’s share of things that didn’t go well, but some were silver lined clouds.

    The biggest negative event was getting laid off from my job. Despite the devastating loss of income, in hindsight it was a gift. In fact, I knew it the instant it happened. Though I love the field I work in, my job was a great source of stress and separation from my family, both of which were fixed when I lost my job. This also gave me some space to devote some time for some personal investigation and introspection which led me to the AONC, among other things. It also made me confront myself on how much of my work misery was of my own making, because my choices didn’t do nearly enough to accommodate enough of my higher needs or were the result of habits in need of improvement (time management, etc.). Sometimes the best lessons are the hardest learned.

    One of the other silver linings was an opportunity to be part of a project in India, an amazing opportunity working with incredible people. It is the type of project that I’ve always wanted to work on, but never got the opportunity until now. I was in India last month and it was amazing. My experience was like Carol’s—I don’t expect I will ever look at life, work or people the same way. My next challenge is to get enough independent work going to keep us afloat until the project in India kicks off in 2012. We are very excited to be relocating to India in 2012. The adventure is just beginning!

    Chris, thanks so much for all your work, it’s helped me so much in learning new ways to think about life and work!

    Onward and upward

  • David Stokley says:

    I have to say that overall 2011 was a great success for me. I started my first real job (ok that was at the very end of 2010, and this is both good and bad i suppose), graduated from law school, got married, and started a blog about my passion, craft beer (CLICK THE LINK :)), which has already started to grow into more than I thought it would be. I’m very excited to see what happens with it in the future.

    As for what didn’t go well: I didn’t get to travel nearly as much as I would have liked, making the excuse that it was a busy and expensive year (it was, but every year will be, so I need to figure out how to make it work). I also wasn’t as social as I should have been – I need to make an effort to get out and make new friends, as well as work harder at maintaining existing relationships.

    Overall a very successful year that has paved the way for 2012 to be even better.

  • Stephenie Zamora says:

    I love the annual review and I’m working through my own right now. An answer for both…

    What went well: I worked through a year-long mastermind program with my mentor and experienced HUGE growth personally and in my business. I also learned and gained amazing tools.

    What didn’t go well: I didn’t trust my intuition on some major things this year causing a lot of stress, back and forth and wasted time.

  • Mikhala says:

    What went well?
    I tried some crazy things, like stripping, moving states with no accommodation plans, tattooed three times..
    I started a blog, reignited my artistic passion and most importantly, I spontaneously met my fiance.. we got engaged three months in 🙂

    It’s been a daring, exciting year, 2012 will certainly top it though!

    What went wrong?
    Well.. I got into debt for the first time in my life (travel) and I failed two uni subjects due to meeting my future husband, not so bad really.

    Love the annual review!!! I linked to your website in my annual review post.

    Thanks again, Mikhala.

  • Kai says:

    I echo everyone else in appreciating you letting us in on this process.

    What went well: I started implementing the second phase of my plan for my website whoischick and web show CHICK. This involved taking the steps to start transitioning it from a passion project into a business and adding a new layer to the foundation I had established. I also managed to make it through a rather rough time personally, having lost three loved ones in a span of ten months. This had a negative effect on my work as an actress but that has turned around.

    What didn’t go so well: I worked ridiculous hours on CHICK and threw my life completely out of balance. I did not create enough support for myself and although I’m really good at pushing through almost anything, I can tell it had a negative effect on my productivity and my outlook on life in general.

    I’m learning lots as I push past my comfort zone to realize my goals of having a positive impact on the world and that makes looking forward to 2012 exciting..

  • Christopher says:

    GOOD: I’m fixing 50 people a week, which was my goal in January 2011.

    BAD: I work too much.

    Life is balance, apparently?

    Appreciate you Chris.

  • Nate's Mom says:

    An epic year being the mom of Nate Damm ( who walked across the country from Feb. 26 to an unbelievable ending in San Francisco on October 15. So proud I could bust. Thanks to you, Chris, for your support of Nate’s journey, and also thanks to all his great friends along the way. America!!

  • Noah Bonn says:

    Chris, your concepts of annual review tie in well with those of the tower. The two provided synergistic inspiration for me to write this article.

    I suspect that my words would resonate strongly with you as well.

    Keep up the inspirational work, man. Looking forward to meeting you at the end of the month.

  • Beth Cregan says:

    I came across your blog and purchased your book almost a year ago to the day. I was launching my business and used your annual review process and format to underpin my business plan. This week, I am looking forward to starting my next annual review process. 2011 has been a wild ride. I expected to learn alot about running a business but I didn’t expect to learn quite so much about myself. I have met the best and the worse of me this year and I have learnt to respect and work with them both. What is it they say? Jump and the net will appear. And if it doesn’t, at least your annual review will break the fall! Thanks for an inspiring year.

  • Jenny says:

    2011 was a big year.
    I spent most of it living and teaching in Bangkok.
    I flew to Malaysia by myself.
    This is the first year I’ve traveled solo.
    I was defrauded by a travel agent.
    I rented my first car.
    I went mountain biking for the first time.
    I drove a motorbike for the first time.
    I put my heart on the line, and got an answer I should have sought four years ago.
    I let go of some of my childhood possessions a little more, physically and emotionally.
    I recycled that Incubus poster (not because of the band).
    I took my first graduate credits, online, from halfway around the world of the actual University.
    My best friend visited me in Bangkok and we weathered some Bangkok flooding.
    I am marking one of the first full calendar years that I’ve been single the entire time.
    I’ve been a bookworm again.
    There are other things; both good and bad that I’m not sharing publicly, but what I do know is this: 2012 has so much more in store for me.

  • Rinkoo Wadhera says:

    great post as usual Chris..

    I am still working on a project, so the AFTERMATH will come later.

    On the plus side: My poetry was published by major literary magazines in India(thats my beloved and native country) and other writing jobs also got good feedbacks(if not bread on the table!!). I do a lot of self -analysis-as a matter of routine and find that I have laid many ghosts of the past to rest. What freedom!! I think that the more we free others from the shackles of our demands , expectations OR EVEN PERCEPTIONS, the freer WE get.This has been a major learning for me this year and feels amazingly liberating!!:))

    On the minus(but motivated) side: I still need to manage time better to do all things with love and grace!!

    A very happy new year to you and yours….

  • Jessica Moran says:

    Excited to be working on my second Annual Review. 🙂

    What went well? I worked my arse off and saved enough money to spend the next three months in Australia. (!!!!!!!!)

    What didn’t go so well? I sacrificed a whole lot of relationships to do so.

    I know “balanced” feels like a dirty word sometimes…but I’m hoping to learn to be more of it in the coming year. Adventures AND friends, please?

    Thanks for writing.

  • Carl Araneta says:

    Thank you, Chris, you’ve inspired me… I’ve left a stable career and taken a few risks to embark on my own journeys to be self-employed and follow my own passions. I miss having a steady paycheck with benefits, but learned the true value of time this year and wouldn’t trade it for any paycheck. I plan to start the next 2-3 months of 2012 traveling in the Philippines and Thailand (and hopefully Vietnam and Cambodia). Thanks again for your words.

    Full Annual Review Here.

  • Darlene says:

    What went well: a couple things.

    1 – I sort of fell into teaching photography classes and doing tutoring and discovered I really liked it. I have now written 5 classes that I teach regularly and plan on writing about 4 more and starting my own workshop company in 2012.

    2 – started actually making some affiliate money from my site. Working on more reviews of books and products, and my own ebook right now.

    What didn’t work:

    1 – too much time working too often, not enough play and into burn out and exhaustion and overwhelm a lot. Need to take more time for myself in 2012. Started that with a 5 day retreat to the Rockies by myself last weekend to write (my ebook) and got it 75% down on paper.

    2 – health/fitness: pretty much non-existant this year. With a Hawaiin cruise looming in March am motivated to get back in shape, lose that extra 20 lbs and get into a bikini again and not look like a stuffed sausage.

  • Ed Moran says:

    I’m a new follower of this blog thanks to an article I read in Islands magazine where I spend time day dreaming.

    The good news in my 2011 review (which is still in draft form) is that I met all of my artistic goals this year (I am an opera singer). I managed again to expand what I thought were my limits, and do so Ina quality manner. I also jumped on board with a new opera company in my town as an administrator (because I see the advantage to my artistic cateer). We are now an official non-profit/charitable organization with what we feel is an insight into a new business model not utilized by other arts organizations. Oh that the wife and I are now officially landed immigrants of Canada ( we can help you with that Tim Hortons quest Chris).

    The bad: I am in the same dire financial situation I was at the beginning of the year. My finances suffered because of my art. It can not continue. The second goal I set this year was to lose 60lbs. It started well and I lost about 15lbs but gained it all back. Again I feel like this happened because of my artistic goals. Not sure how to meet my artistic goals (which are #1) and still meet life’s other goals.

  • Nick Holmes says:

    I had a couple things go well this year:
    1. I found GOD! Still exploring exactly what he/she/it means to me, but I now know there is one through my own questioning and answering sessions.
    2. I had an epiphany that serving and trying to pursue acting was not the recipe for success in my world. All I was doing was getting bitter. It didn’t serve (pun intended) my artistic nature within me and I needed a new avenue to nurture that side.
    3. I really honed in on how valuable time is and started to really show some gratitude for each and every day I am alive.

    What didn’t go well:

    1. Money got in the way of doing a lot of things I needed to do to move forward in my life. I couldn’t provide for my most basic needs and that was a very big disappointment. A new and not so fun situation to be in.
    2. My lack of a clear business blueprint on where I was going really hurt me.

    Thanks for the inspiration and the great template for the end of the year review. Keep following your passions, I appreciate the hard work you put in.

  • Khaled says:

    Went well: met the girl of my dreams and moved with her to South Korea to teach English for a year. This was a goal I set in 2010, based on the advice from a former boss who wanted to help me grow and become more employable, so I’m glad that finally came to fruition. Learned a lot of gymnastics and got my brown belt in American Kenpo.

    I started a business, selling bamboo t-shirts, and while everyone loves the design, I’m not selling any and am totally stuck. In a way, that’s good, since it’s getting me to study about business. I’ve starting meeting all sorts of interesting people and teachers too.

    Not so well: Despite working at a great job all year, didn’t manage to save any money. Didn’t get much past outlining my book, despite constant determinations to write it. Lost faith in my own blogging until the very end, when some readers asked why I hadn’t been writing.

    That got me to plan out a more concrete schedule, which has made writing clearer and more creative, so in the end, it’s a good thing too.

    I like this process of an annual review. I goes along well with the reading I’ve been doing on goal setting and planning (GTD, Zen Habits). Will do a more thorough one later.

  • Winnie says:

    Thanks for sharing, and giving me the inspiration (and the format) for my own annual review!

  • Jessica Byrnes says:

    ALL GOOD: After spending 3 years going through South East Africa by road, we came back to the States (with two Rhodesian Ridgebacks) – gave up everything near Tampa Fla and started in a TENT on the Colorado Plateau! And we’re old!! Going great – completely self-sufficient – water, shelter, solar power, home grown food, organic beef…… you have a great blog. Jessica

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