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Annual Goal Setting Template + Ideas

12.14.14

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?

49 Things to Do Before Summer Ends

08.22.14

With 31 days of summer left, I’m starting to feel like I’m running out of time to experience all the summer stuff I love. But I feel like this every year. Summer in Oregon is pretty much the best thing ever.

My summer list is a little Portland-centric, so feel free to replace things with your local, summer fun time places and things.

Summer in Oregon

45 Things to Do Before Summer Ends:

I’m bolding the stuff I still want to check off!

  1. Go berry picking – (does the yard count?)
  2. Go to Sauvie Island
  3. Camp in the backyard
  4. Do a backyard fire – s’mores
  5. Invite people over for BBQ/picnic – (informal house warming)
  6. Picnic at the park – done, a fancy picnic would also be fun
  7. Go tubing / river float
  8. Go to the coast – Oswald West!
  9. Go to the river – swam at the Clackamas River
  10. Go kayaking – kayak camped on the Willamette River and kayaked on 4th of July
  11. Have a big day of biking – birthday bike ride surprise!
  12. Mani/pedis – post-half marathon!
  13. Wear all my summer dresses and clothes
  14. Go out to breakfast on a weekday – I finally tried Sweedeedee
  15. Stay out late and have cocktails
  16. Wear heels 1x week – this can happen after my half marathon!
  17. Buy new sunnies
  18. Road trip! – to Seattle (ferry to Victoria), and to Vancouver for SeaWheeze
  19. Make morning mimosas
  20. Go on a boat – on the Columbia River in Kennewick
  21. Drink rose – reminds me of southern France
  22. Go to Last Thursday
  23. Go to a Beer Fest – how have I not checked this off yet this summer?
  24. Visit every ice cream shop in Portland – my favorite is Fifty Licks (no, not Salt & Straw, but they’re delicious too). Still need to visit: What’s the Scoop? Cool Moon, and Cloud City.
  25. Go to patios/rooftops in PDX that I haven’t visited yet – Departure, Salty’s on the Columbia
  26. Day trip to Hood River – did the valley fruit loop, I’d still like to do another summer Hood River visit
  27. play in the ocean – Kailua, Hawaii! and Oregon coast
  28. Declare my own summer song – Capital Cities – Safe and Sound has been on repeat, and Milk
  29. Make tasty water like the hotel in Victoria, just because – mint water! blueberry mint water!
  30. Smoothie making – try/invent a few new recipes
  31. Go standup paddle boarding
  32. Wear a sundress more often
  33. Bike everywhere for one+ week - post race
  34. Go camping – went kayak camping, not car tent camping yet
  35. Go backpacking -kayak camping is similar
  36. Buy a new swimsuit
  37. Go to movies in the park – Back to the Future at Arbor Lodge
  38. Go to a summer music festival or concert – SeaWheeze Sunset Festival – Capital Cities & The Colourists!
  39. Buy a new hat – got a birthday hat!
  40. Pretend I’m 15 and buy a new summer fragrance
  41. New sunscreen – I need more California Baby
  42. Try a new cocktail – Multnomah Whiskey Library is still on my list
  43. Read a new book (for fun not “work”!)
  44. Find my favorite summer seasonal beer – still testing…
  45. Go to Edgefield or Kennedy School – soaking pool! or golf?
  46. Roast corn – can’t wait to roast more from the garden
  47. Harvest from the garden – make a meal with mostly home-grown (tomatoes and basil pasta!) blueberries for dessert.
  48. Watch the stars – saw shooting stars at Oswald West
  49. Savor sunsets – in progress

What’s left on your summer list?

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?

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?

30 Before 30 List: Year in Review

I have entered a new decade of life!


This also means that my 30 Before 30 List is over. And once again, I didn’t complete my entire list. I finished about 50.5% of the things on my list this year. A few favorites include: visiting Iceland, buying my first house, trying standup paddleboarding, biking the San Juan Islands, buying a mixte bike, doing yoga for a month, and going to 200ish new restaurants.

So of course the next logic step is to create a 31 New Things Before 31 list. And then I need to try harder this year! :)

What should I put on my 31 Before 31 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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