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Annual Goal Setting Template + Ideas

12.26.13

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” has arrived this week, I’ve been excited to take a day or two and reflect on 2013 before I get carried away with planning for 2014.

Since I’ve been asked for a bit of the process behind my personal planning, I decided to share an example of my Yearly Planning spreadsheet this year. (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).

Download the Goal Setting Template:

Yearly Goals Template

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 2014? 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 Grand 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.

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), but a few years ago I decided to go a little wider with the general themes of: Health, Wealth, Happiness. They all go together, yes, but then I could stick the usual sub-categories under each, like “Health” has Fitness & Learning, and Service & Spiritual 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 $5,000 in my IRA for 2014 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 2014. 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 too easy to have 3 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 – 2013 in Review: Pictures & Goals
Part 3 – My 2014 Goals
This post was originally in a three part series back in 2011.

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

My 2013 Goals

01.02.13

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?

Life Is Either A Daring Adventure Or Nothing

08.14.12

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” –Helen Keller

This has been one of my favorite quotes for a while. I asked myself ‘Why?’… I love that adventure is a unique perspective – that everyone’s definition of an adventure is slightly different. Daring is also a loaded word. It’s a bold statement, and very absolute. It’s personal. It reminds me that life is extremely short, and to try new things.

I have the next two weeks off work, so I have decided to create or learn something new every day. I will blog about some days’ creations.

This design is something I’ve had sitting on my desktop, half-finished, since March. The photo was taken at Shark’s Cove, Oahu. Although this photo was taken in March of 2012, this is actually the first spot I ever went snorkeling back in 2007. I remember feeling a little terrified and excited, and since I’m not the world’s best snorkeler I still feel a little bit like that every time I go. It’s an adventure.

What was your last adventure?

Are You a Serial Hobbyist?

04.21.12

“ideas are important. Creators need an immediate connection to what they create. [...] You need to see effect immediately. [...] So much of creation is discovery and you can’t discover anything if you can’t see what you’re doing.” –Bret Victor

As I mentioned in last week’s Weekly Love, I recently watched Bret Victor‘s Inventing on Principle talk. It’s 54 minutes — but worth it. I wrote down a bunch of stuff while watching. Often times my take away from watching something is “that’s brilliant.” Why? “Because I thought it was brilliant. Watch it.” So marinate your brain on some of these quotes (some are a little out of context if you haven’t watched the video).

Ideas: Inventing on Principle

  • It’s important to the creative process — being able to try ideas as you think of them.
  • Ideas start small. Ideas need an environment where the creator can nurture them.
  • “Why do we have these squiggly symbols in the first place?”
  • I think about the millions of pieces that are locked in millions of heads — all kinds of ideas.
  • Why, what’s the motivation? I don’t think of an opportunity for a product. I’m not excited by problem solving or the joy of making things. Ideas are precious to me, when I see an idea die it hurts, I feel it’s morally wrong. I have a responsibility to ideas.
  • Fight by inventing.
  • Larry Tesler had a reaction to a problem in a cultural context. The problem only existed in his own head. He recognized a wrong that had been unacknowledged in the culture. The same motivation as Elizabeth Cady Stanton with gender discrimination in voting.
  • Some dedicate their lives to fighting for a particular idea with a very clear sense of right and wrong, often really fighting against a mainstream that didn’t recognize their wrong as ‘wrong’.  Like a principle/vision/goal: “Software must be free” etc Do you have a principle?
  • The world will make you define yourself by a skill. “You are a software engineer” The path of a craftsman is pursuing excellence and practicing a skill. The only path you hear about much is the problem solver. He didn’t define himself by his craft, but by his cause.
  • It can take time to find a principle -it’s essentially a form of self discovery. I would get little glimmers of what mattered to me, but no big picture. What I had to do was just do a lot of things, make many things, make many types of things, study many things, experience many many things and use all these experiences as a way of analyzing myself. ‘Does this resonate with me? Does this repel me? Do I not care? Why? What’s the secret ingredient that I react to so strongly?’
  • Confining yourself to practicing a single skill can make it difficult to get that broad range of experience that seems to be valuable for this kind of work…
  • Everyone wants to make things simple. Too vague to be directly actionable. Tesler: “No person should be trapped in a mode.” I believe creators need powerful tools. That’s nice, but… >> Creators need an immediate creation.
  • There are many ways to live your life. Every aspect of your life is a choice. [...] You can choose to accept the world as it is, but you don’t have to.
  • What matters to you? What do you believe in? What might you fight for?

Are you a Serial Hobbyist?

While different things motivate me (eg. problem solving, the joy of making things, and ideas all motivate me at different points), what really resonated with me was the love of ideas and experiencing many different things.

I’m not one of those people who knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up (well actually, I wanted to be a cat lady or a teacher). I still don’t. I’m a dabbler. A Jill-of-all-trades. A Swiss Army knife of {insert my job title}. A tinker-er. A serial hobbyist. An explorer of sorts. Owner of random domain names. Sometimes I’m tempted to start a new blog or Tumblr everytime I uncover another interest. Sometimes I worry that I’m 30 and I’ve been too much of a scattered experiencer thus far, but that’s often what excites me — new ideas, improving things, figuring things out. It’s kept me working for small companies, where job descriptions overlap, and you can pretty much decide what you want to do more of, instead of being relegated to a specific task in a chain of bureaucracy (oh hush, I know there are good bits of working for a behemoth too). And with that, I will leave you to watching the video. Enjoy!

What matters to you?

PS. I also enjoyed taking a look at what he worked on at Apple, in his “portfolio” section of his site. Very clever.

My 2012 Goals

12.31.11

I finished up my 2012 goal setting in Pacific City (home of the other Haystack Rock on the Oregon coast) yesterday. A perfect one-night getaway from Portland — ocean view from our inn, beers at Pelican Pub & Brewery, walking on the beach, morning mimosas, and a rainy, but stunning afternoon hike out to Cape Lookout. Exceptional way to end 2011!


So as Part 3 of my End-of-the-Year wrap-up, here are a few of the things on my list for 2012…

2012 Goooooals:

  • Grow savings to $X
  • Sublet condo for 1-2 months
  • Apply to at least one new credit card for airline miles (only did 1 in 2011, but for 80,000 miles)
  • Make more money
  • Plan an iPhone app
  • Work remotely (not in Portland) for 1-3 months
  • Roll over 401k
  • Run a 5k
  • Continue 3-5x week fitness plan
  • No alcohol for 1 month
  • Volunteer again
  • Travel to South America or Portugal
  • Visit NYC, San Francisco, Boston or Savannah (essentially: another US city).
  • Attend 12 new Portland things (this one gets more difficult every year!)
  • Go on a quarterly getaway trip with boyfriend (Oregon/Northwest etc)
  • Find a mentor
  • Sew/craft something again (it’s been way too long since I’ve used my sewing machine!)
  • Find more girlfriends (with my best friend moving to Hawaii, I’m recognizing that I’m going to have to be a bit more proactive about getting closer with current friends and making more friends in 2012).

And to kick things off, January is going to be some kind of hybrid “be healthier and cook at home” goal + no alcohol. And with that, Happy New Year!

Part 1 – Yearly Goal Setting Template
Part 2 – 2011 Year-End-Review: So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu…
Part 3 – My 2012 Goals

What’s on your 2012 goal list?

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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