Every December for the past fifteen years, I've completed an exercise I call the Annual Review.This year is different in some ways, but then again, so is every year for one reason or another. In fact, that's one of the things that's so beneficial about the Review: in the midst of whatever craziness is happening, it helps to ground your attention and give you something to work on over the next year. This post contains an overview of the process, along with links that might be helpful for your own review. If you'd like to go waaaaay back to the original post from 2008, you can do that too. Enjoy! Read More
Resolutions can be powerful, and they don’t have to begin on any given day.If you want to form a new habit, just start doing it. The important thing is sticking with it, not when you start. Just imagine: if you began an important new habit on January 6, and then managed to stick with it the rest of the year—wouldn’t that be much better than one you began on January 1, only to drop off within a few weeks? Read More
Over the past
eight nine ten! years, nothing has helped me to accomplish big goals and stay on track more than a single exercise I complete each December: the Annual Review.
A moonshot, according to the ubiquitous WikiPedia, is a "is an ambitious, exploratory and ground-breaking project undertaken without any expectation of near-term profitability or benefit and also, perhaps, without a full investigation of potential risks and benefits.”For a long time my moonshot was going to every country in the world. Then I accomplished that goal (without ever getting to the actual moon—it's not a country, after all) and had to figure out what came next... Read More
I’m starting a daily podcast called Side Hustle School. It’s for everyone who wants to create a new source of income without quitting their day job. It will be published, well, every single day in 2017.
I’ve been working on this for a long time and it will be my #1 project in 2017. I’d love for you to be part of it—and if you’re not interested yourself, I’d be grateful if you’d tell your friends who need a side hustle.Read More
In this (very abbreviated) Annual Review series…
- Decide Now How You'll Evaluate Yourself Next Year
- Why I've Resisted My Annual Review for the First Time in 10 Years
I’ve never really had writer’s block. I think it was Seth Godin who said something about how writing is the only profession where it’s acceptable to stop working because you can’t be “creative.” There’s no such thing as nurse's block.
But … for much longer than usual, I didn’t know what to say about my review! I really didn’t.
One thing I know is that it’s important to pay attention to how things make you feel. If you look forward to something, that tells you something. If you dread something, or even if you just don’t feel that excited about it, that gives you other information.Read More
Cassie de Pecol is on a quest to become the fastest woman to visit every country in the world. We sometimes exchange notes about visa issues, long flights, and drinking a bottle of wine while stuck in no-man’s-land transit zone for eight hours or more.
There aren’t many people who’ve gone to every country. Cassie is pursuing a Guinness World Record (I like those too!) but for me, I wasn’t trying to be the youngest, fastest, or any other adjective. In my case, I did it for myself.
She said something to me recently that I really liked, and I’m sharing it here with her permission. For context, we were talking about the dreaded “What do you do after completing a big quest?” question.Read More
Link: The Get to Work BookHere's a fun project that a wish I’d made it myself. But even though I didn’t, some very good friends of mine did. It's like a journal or a planner, but better—and here's how the creator describes it:
GET TO WORK BOOK® is a daily planner + goal setting workbook designed to help you make progress on your big goals by taking things one day at a time. While (sadly) it can't do your work for you, every inch of it was thoughtfully designed to help you get to work.Read More
The other day I was cleaning out my home office, and I found some old notes. The notes were from more than eight years ago before starting this blog. At the time I was planning to undergo some big changes and attempt a new career as a writer.As I looked through the notes, I smiled in recognition of many of the items I’d listed so long ago. I’d been to about 70 countries then, and was officially beginning the quest to go to all of them (193/193). I achieved that goal almost three years ago. Read More
It’s a brand new year, and that means it’s time for change—both in life (because why not?) and in travel.Every year I earn more than one million miles and points, which I then use for free travel all over the world. For a long time, travel hacking was my primary tool for going everywhere. These days, I don’t jet off to Kinshasa or Katmandu very often, but I’m still in the game. Even without paying attention all the time or doing crazy things like making a hair-loss appointment to earn miles, I’m still able to get more than enough miles and points to have experiences that would otherwise be inaccessible. Read More
I recently went to see Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, a curious film in the sense that it focuses much more on the subject’s love life than it does her love of art. Still, it was good overall and I’m glad I went.The film showcases the development of several abstract and other non-traditional artists, including Jackson Pollack. I've always liked Pollack’s work, but I don’t think I understood the audacity of it until seeing this new film. I often feel inspired when I hear about larger-than-life figures who pursued big ambitions. People like Pollack, and Peggy Guggenheim, did big things. Then I went home and I thought: “What big thing am I doing?” Read More
OK, it’s kind of like a bucket list. But it’s a really big one! From Laura Vanderkam:
In 168 Hours, I recommended creating something called a “List of 100 Dreams.” This exercise, which was shared with me by career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine, is a completely unedited list of anything you might want to do or have more of in life. It’s like a bucket list, but most people don’t get all the way to 100 when creating a bucket list. The point is to really think about what you might like.
I also wrote about these lists a lot in The Happiness of Pursuit. I call them "life lists," on the theory that the lists should be well-rounded and not only consist of adventure travel kinds of goals.But hey, whatever you call it, make a list! I love the challenge of trying to get to 100 items. Read More
While looking for people who have their "Dream Job" or career to to profile as case studies for my upcoming book, I came across a great quote from Kaitlin on one of the initial survey forms:
"I've accepted that it's okay to schedule 'call parents' in my calendar so long as it helps me actually do it. It doesn't make me a bad person for scheduling real life into my calendar.”
I completely agree with this. You shouldn’t feel bad about “scheduling real life.” If you thrive on business goals and struggle with relational ones (that was me all last year), try being intentional about the relational goals.
One of my relational goals this year is to write or call one friend every day. So far I’m well on track—and having it written down as a stated goal is what makes it happen.Read More
As regular readers know, I’m all about setting goals and working toward big projects over time. When you have a big goal, especially one with a clear end point, it’s easy to know when you’ve achieved it. But most big goals take time, and—as I’ve been learning—our lives consist of more than just a series of work-oriented projects that occupy our time.No, to truly define success, we need to think of both these long-term goals and the actions we take every day. We also need to ensure our lives are in proper order. The challenge lies in the middle: how do we accomplish all of this? Therefore, it may be more helpful to create an alternative method of evaluating ourselves as we go along. Here are seven different ideas to consider. 1. At the end of the day, ask yourself, “Did today matter?” Sure, you could spend a long time thinking back on your to-do list and reviewing your calendar. And what were all those emails about? But when you ask yourself this question, chances are you’ll know the answer intuitively. Did today matter? If so, great. Do more things like it tomorrow. Can't remember anything in particular that made a difference? Well, better change it up. Before you hit the ground running, take a few moments in meditation or thoughtfulness to decide what you’d like to see happen by the end of the day. Again, be sure to prioritize: it would be great to make a ton of progress on everything, but you probably won’t. What's most important? What is realistic to achieve? Read More