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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?

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?

2011: So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu…

12.29.11

Farewell, 2011. Every year towards December I start feeling like I didn’t accomplish as much as I’d hoped and planned, but then when I complete my end of the year personal review, and see things all on one page, I feel proud of all that I accomplished and excited to plan for the coming year. Yay! Goals!

Yesterday, I shared my yearly goal setting template. For me, setting yearly goals is slightly similar to the dreaded New Year’s resolutions, in that they’re things I plan to do in the coming year, but way different in that my expectations are different. It’s not about guilt or “omg, I didn’t finish this” at the end of the year. Unlike resolution type goals like “lose weight” or “stop drinking”, these goals are more about specific accomplishments and at the end of the year, even if you only finish 70% (or 30%!) of your items, reviewing them is fun and yeah there might be a couple in there that make you think “well, I could have tried harder for that one”,  it’s generally a time to sip a latte or a glass of wine and clap your hands about all the cool stuff you did this year.

So as a follow-up to that, here are a few things I’m proud of starting and/or finishing in 2011!

2011 Goals Completed:

    1. Reviewed my car vs no-car plan to see if it makes more sense to purchase an old car or continue my Zipcar/public transit/biking in summer plan. Decided to buy a new bike!
    2. A new job title: Product Manager
    3. Started a tumblr, and then abandoned it for Pinterest
    4. Added $X to my savings (no big international trips this year, but hey, look, I saved money!)
    5. Successfully listed/rented my condo on Airbnb
    6. Tried Crossfit
    7. Donated $572 with my Forkover Friday project
    8. Traveled to Maui, New Orleans, and Florida for play and Vancouver, BC twice for work.
    9. Northwest trips to Oregon wine country, biking the San Juans, camping at the coast, Seattle for Bumbershoot
    10. Took a cooking class at Sur La Table
    11. Hosted a dinner party (2 actually!)
    12. Made an effort to go dancing with boyfriend
    13. Went to about 250 new restaurants, coffee shops, bars. (maybe a 2012 goal should be to eat at home 250 days/year)
    14. Did 12 new Oregon or Portland things: McMenamins Grand Lodge, OMSI After Dark, Willamette Valley wine visit, tubing on the Clackamas River, joined a Pedalpalooza group ride, musical at Keller Auditorium, Backfence PDX, 80s dancing at Crystal Ballroom, box seats at a Blazers game, rollerskating at Oak’s Park (Thermals show), Waterfront Park on July 4, Movies in the Park, soap box derby on Mt Tabor.

And a few things I didn’t accomplish….

2011 goals that kicked my arse:

  1. Running a half marathon
  2. Getting paid more moolah
  3. Volunteering
  4. Traveling to South America
  5. Finding a mentor
  6. Starting a book club

Next up, setting 2012 goals!

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

What are you proud of this year?

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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