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Annual Goal Setting Template + Ideas


I love goals. Perhaps it started by running around with a miniature notebook and a stockpile of colored pencils instead of going to preschool, either way I’ve loved goals and challenges, and lists of epic proportions ever since I can remember. So as my annual “end of the year musing and scheming” arrives this week, I’m excited to take a day or two and reflect on 2014 before I get carried away with planning for 2015.

Since I’ve been asked for a bit of the process behind my personal planning, I’ve shared an example of my Yearly Planning spreadsheet – freshly updated for 2015!

Download the Goal Setting Template:

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Yearly goals template

After opening this Google Spreadsheet you can select File>Make a copy to use the template for your own goals. Or download it as an Excel spreadsheet to use in Excel or Open Office).

Tips for doing an Annual Personal Review:

1. Make it an event!
For the last few years, I’ve combined my annual goal setting time with a last minute close-to-home post-Christmas getaway. However you decide to do it, set aside a few hours, get out of your usual space and routine and get thinking.

2. Recap the year
To start, I like to ask myself a few questions. 1. What went great this year?  Look at last year’s goals to remind yourself, your calendar, Facebook – whatever is going to jog your memory. My list includes all kinds of things – like big goals (started freelancing!), some stats (ran 320+ miles), more vague things (got healthier). 2. What didn’t I accomplish this year, that I had wanted to? The point of this step isn’t to be hard on yourself. Consider what didn’t happen, think about why it didn’t happen (because you didn’t focus on it? because you tried and failed? because you changed your mind about wanting it?), and then move on. (Example: my list included – I didn’t blog as frequently as I wanted to, and I didn’t start a book club etc) 3. What do I want to happen 2015? What do you want to be celebrating next year at this time?

3. Accountability
I like the idea of posting all of my goals for the world to see for accountability, but some are also personal, so while I’ll mention a few here on my blog, I keep a Google Doc with all my goals. Whatever your system is, share it with someone (start with your BFF!)

4. The BIG picture
Some of my yearly goals tie into other lists (like in the past, my 30 Before 30 list, some were new goals, bigger goals, smaller goals, BHAGs (big hairy audacious goal, etc.

After reading The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte, I’ve added in thinking about how I want to feel (she calls them core desired feelings). And not just how you want to feel, but what you can do in specific areas of your life to get those 3-5 “core” feelings that drive you. It sounds a little hokey, but adding this in definitely gets you thinking up more ideas of what you really want for the year, versus just writing down ambitious goals that seem like what you should do.

5. Pick a theme
I’ve seen some people have a theme for their year or a one word description, which I’ve done some years. Other years, I’ve selected a quote. 2011 was “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do” — Rumi. This quote really covered the different areas of my life from work to personal to fitness, and I added it to my chalkboard inspiration stripe in my home to remind myself all year.

6. Categorize!
I like to break out my goals into broad categories. In previous years, I’ve done really specific categories (eg. job, fitness, learning, money, family, blog etc). Then, the last few years I went a little wider with the general themes of: Health (Fitness/Service/Spiritual), Wealth (Job/Income/Blog/Financial), Happiness (Travel/Local/Home/Relationships/Learning). This year, I’ve expanded on “Health, Wealth, and Happiness”, by including a few more memory jogging categories to inspire ideas.

Wealth: Livelihood & Lifestyle – career, fashion, home, influence, money, possessions, resources, style etc.
Health: Body, Wellness, & Spirituality – fitness, food, mental health, relaxation, self-care, sensuality, soul, spirituality etc.
Happiness: Creativity, Home, Learning, Local, Relationships, Service, & Travel – art, causes, community, education, family, friendship, gifts, hobbies, home life, music, romance, travel, volunteering etc.

7. What by when?
Just like typical goals, I try to follow the GTD method to my year-end personal planning. I will… {do what?} {by when} and the {next action step} is. With a  {monthly/quarterly review area} and {final review}.

Example: I will put $5,500 in my IRA for 2015 contribution by April 15 (tax time). Next step: Transfer money from my savings account to my IRA account.

A more fun example: I will list my condo on HomeAway or AirBnB by June 1. Next step: Look at current studio listings in Portland for ideas.

An even more fun example: I will take a cooking class in 2015. Next step: Look at class options and schedule at Sur la Table.

While I used to only do a quarterly review of where I’m at on my goals, I found that it was way too easy to have three months go by and forget about my “priorities”. So now I jump into Google Calendar (my calendar app of choice), and set a recurring calendar appointment for the last Sunday of every month. This way, I actually look at my goals on a monthly basis and can gauge where I’m at or if my goal needs readjusting.

Happy planning and I wish you a marvelous new year!

Part 1 – Yearly Goal Setting Template
Part 2 – 2014 in Review: Pictures & Goals
Part 3 – My 2015 Goals

This post was originally a three part series back in 2011, and has been updated for 2015.

Do you do an “annual review” of your personal life?

My 2014 Goals


Happy new year from the sunshine state!


Now that I’ve reviewed 2013, here’s what’s cooking for 2014…

My 2014 Goals:

  • Live / work remotely for at least a month – internationally this year
  • Blog twice a month here on Powered by Tofu and weekly on my business blog
  • Max out my IRA
  • Go to a conference again
  • Run another half marathon and another shorter race (8k or 10k)
  • Pick a monthly fitness challenge (this month I’m doing the new Nike+ Coach 5k Intermediate program)
  • See my niece 3-4x (I better get going on this one!)
  • Visit a new North American city (San Francisco was last year, thinking Boston or the other Portland)
  • Pick a new “thing” every month (Duolingo, Codecademy etc) to do for 30 days
  • the rest of my goals are a secret

Did you do a year-end review and a 2014 plan? Download my free goals template here.

What’s on your list for this new year?

2013 in Pictures & Goals


Another year in the books!

2013 was a big year for me. Some years seem to sneak by, but 2013 was not one of those years. My life was all about health and freedom this year. While everything didn’t go exactly as planned, I did two big things this year: #1 I quit my job to start freelancing. #2. I ran a half marathon.

The half marathon was a big change in my life because I spent months training for it. And for the first time in my life actually started to enjoy running (not something I thought would ever happen). Quitting my job was also a positive life change to end my year on.

As I’ve said before, doing an annual review is my favorite way to acknowledge the closing year before ushering in a new one. I don’t want to pretend that nothing bad or disappointing ever happens, but by reflecting on the good points of the year (and briefly touching on the not so great), it creates more positive momentum in my life. Sometimes when I’m feeling down, and only looking at the negative, it’s also nice to reflect on all the good that has happened.

So when I look back at my goals from the beginning of the year, I’m pretty proud…..

Some of my 2013 Things:

  • Worked remotely for 1-3 months in 2013: about 2 1/2 months total this year in Hawaii and Florida
  • Visited my bff and new baby niece in Hawaii 2x
  • Attended 12 new Portland/Oregon things
  • Ran 101x for a total of 333 miles (and counting)
  • Ran a half marathon
  • Got my health back in order
  • Made my place feel more like home
  • Hosted a cocktail party (French 75 party) and a baby shower for my sister
  • Applied for a few more mileage/points cards for travel (Chase Sapphire, and a business AA card)
  • Visited a new North American city: San Francisco
  • Launched my freelance business working for myself – and blog Early Bird Strategy
  • traditions: planned camping trip with family & made an advent calendar
  • focused on cultivating more friendships
  • put $4,500 in my IRA
  • did my first yoga headstand!!!
  • completed another 30 day yoga challenge
  • took 4 “mini break” trips! (meaning: local or west coast – Astoria, Bend, Vancouver, SFO)
  • days traveling: 79 and 17,355 miles, new countries: 0, countries: 1 (Canada)
  • read 6,445 pages (or so Goodreads tells me)

Some things I didn’t do:

  • Get a road bike
  • make an iPhone app
  • grow savings to X
  • Take a new class
  • Visit a new country :(
  • Take another 2-3 week trip (but one is planned for early 2014 instead)
  • lots more things

So in all, including personal items that I haven’t shared here on the blog, this year I completed 68% of my goals, which leaves me with not completing 32%. In all, a pretty fantastic year!

2013 in Pictures

JANUARY: Home life + Portland outings + kitty snuggles
FEBRUARY: Portland winter life + making our place feel like home

MARCH: Spring + hosted a cocktail party + hiking

APRIL: Florida + beach time + yoga + working remotely

MAY: Back to Portland + hosted baby shower + Bend, Oregon

JUNE: summer + family and Oregon coast + 1st 5k + Astoria, Oregon

JULY: baby niece arrived + running + running + running

AUGUST: 1st half marathon + nonstop Oregon visitors

SEPTEMBER: meeting my niece for the first time + Hawaii

OCTOBER: Fall colors + I quit my job + San Francisco

NOVEMBER: more fall + back to Hawaii for Thanksgiving

DECEMBER: Portland + Advent calendar fun + Florida again

What great things happened in your life this year?

SeaWheeze Half Marathon – Vancouver, Here I Come!

2013 is the year I will run my first half marathon!

Back in January, I spontaneously signed up for the Lululemon SeaWheeze Half in Vancouver, BC. I heard about it last year and thought it sounded fun, and this year when I found out it was open for registration, I just signed up, almost without really thinking about it. And then I tried recruiting people to go with me, which was an epic failure and then a week or so later it sold out. So while I was a little disappointed that I won’t be running with a friend, and it would be super fun to have a training buddy, if I waited around for someone to say “yes!” to things, there’s a lot of cool adventures I would have missed thus far in my life. So to hell with you people (I kid, I kid) – I’m running a half alone (well not alone, I’m trying to think of it like travel – you might be solo, but you’re never alone)!

Also, instead of a finisher’s shirt, you get training shorts. Plaid + the Lululemon Speed Shorts? It doesn’t get better than this, people! ;)


Although I’ve been ramping back up to running for the past three months (previous IT band issues so I decided to do the Couch to 5k program first this time), the first “official” week of training started this week. And I’m loving the revamped SeaWheeze training app.

SeaWheeze training

10 weeks to go – this summer is going to fly by!

Have you done a half or a marathon? Any training tips?

My 2013 Goals


My annual end of the year goal [review/planning] time snuck up on me this year. Last year was the first time we combined goals with an overnight getaway — and I really like this as a new tradition. It’s really helpful to get out of my daily routine/distractions to take some time and reflect and plan for the coming year. So on Saturday night, realizing 2013 was steadily approaching, I started thinking Astoria would be a closer and cheaper option than back to Pacific City (like last year). And turns out there’s a cool, budget hotel in Astoria now that didn’t exist when I lived there for half a minute. The Commodore Hotel is right downtown, with “European-style” bathrooms and rooms from $75. Think McMenamins meets The Ace Hotel. The perfect quick trip from Portland.Astoria, Oregon

Astoria is the oldest settlement west of the Rockies (which feels positively ancient in the States). I’ve always loved Astoria for it’s old soul and big, small town vibe. One of the many places I say “I could live here” about, which usually receives a response of “you say that about everywhere.” Not about everywhere, but quite often. :) After a quick trip up to the Astoria Column and watching the sunset, we headed back to the waterfront for a beer at [the also relatively new] Fort George Brewery, and then settled down to goal time with my trusty, annual goal setting template. On to the goals!

Some of my 2013 Goals:

  • Work remotely for 1-3 months in 2013 again
  • Plan to work remotely internationally (end of 2013 or early 2014) – Vietnam is on my mind at the moment
  • Get a road bike (shhh… don’t tell the mixte)
  • Visit another (new to me) North American city
  • Take another 2-3 week trip
  • Visit my bff in Hawaii
  • Attend 12 new Portland/Oregon things
  • Take a new class
  • Get my immune system back to normal
  • Make my new place feel like home
  • Apply for 2 new credit cards to get airline miles or hotel points
  • Host 1 dinner party & 1 cocktail party

I feel like a lot of my goals are pretty similar to last year (travel! local adventures! Save!), but I do have fewer goals this year. I’ll get back to you in 365 days on if that was a wise idea or not. :)

What’s on your list for 2013?

Olivia Raymer
Things I ♥: travel, food (I'm a pescatarian), the Pacific Northwest, bikes (I ride an orange mixte), beer (IPAs), summer, coffee, lists, and kitties. Travel enthusiast, former product manager, dabbler, and currently helping small businesses with digital strategy at Early Bird Strategy.

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