Never Normal Newsletter

New Year’s Resolutions and Annual Reviews

Happy New Year! 🎉

Last week I shared 21 Super Interesting Things I Learned in 2021.

Thanks for all of the feedback, shares, and replies. It looks like I’m going to have to do another list like that again soon, but not just yet…

For the past week I’ve been busy reflecting on the last year and thinking a lot about goals and plans for the year ahead.

My New Year’s Resolution

I don’t normally make New Year’s Resolutions. It’s too hard to pick just one thing for a whole year.

But this past weekend, I was taking a break from all the thinking and planning. I was in the park, being silly and climbing trees, playing with my daughter, and dancing with my wife.

Suddenly, it hit me. This is it!

Stop waiting for things to be perfect and just, “enjoy every day”

That’s my resolution for 2022.

Annual Review

Every year I do a personal annual review. It includes questions like:

  • What accomplishments am I most proud of?
  • What were my favorite books, podcasts, articles, etc.?
  • What energized me the most?
  • What am I most grateful for?
  • In which areas do I feel like I’m struggling or suffering?

As someone who tends to be relentlessly forward-looking, I have to force myself to stop and reflect on the past every now and then, and to give myself a pat on the back for all that I have already accomplished, instead of only focusing on the things I haven’t done yet.

The other reason I do an annual review, aside from forcing myself to pause and reflect, is because it helps me to set goals and priorities for the year ahead.

If you want to try something similar, here’s a Google Docs template you can use.

I should warn you, this template is ten pages long and full of lots and lots of questions. And they’re not easy questions either — you really have to be in the right mindset and take time to reflect on them.

An alternative / complementary approach is to sign up for Quality Questions (shameless plug).

Instead of you trying to figure it all out at once, which can be quite overwhelming, we pick the very best and most impactful questions and send one per week.

The Best Part of Social Media

I wrote a while back about finding the mentors you can model. In other words, learning from people who are already doing what you want to do.

You don’t have to know these people personally, but you do need to be able get inside their heads and understand their thinking and decisions.

So, over the past week, in addition to working on my own annual review, I’ve been enjoying reading and learning from annual reviews written and shared by people I look up to, like: David Perell, Tiago Forte, and Justin Mares.

All three of these guys have built multi-million dollar online businesses over the past few years. Reading their reviews gives me a window into the type of mindset that makes that possible.

Perhaps even more important — it’s a reminder that, even if you achieve success, all your problems don’t just automatically disappear.

David had a banner year in his business, but he still fell short of the goals he set for himself in 2021. Meanwhile, Tiago writes about his struggles adjusting to the new rhythms of life as a dad.

It’s easy to be cynical about social media and make fun of people sharing everything they do online, but at it’s best, social media gives us a taste of what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. And that’s a good thing.

That’s all for this week. More soon…

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I write occasional emails to share what I’m thinking, learning, and doing. It’s all related to the idea of breaking free from the “default plan” in life.

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