Last week, I shared a worksheet to help you do an annual review. Thank you for spreading the word about it. I’m happy to hear many of you are filling it out!
Now it’s my turn to do my annual review. I’ve decided to share all my answers from the same worksheet I gave you. It might encourage you to fill it out, if you’re still on the fence.
It’s helpful for me to celebrate accomplishments, learn why I came up short, reinforce good habits, minimize bad habits, and begin to focus on 2012.
I hope my experiences and lessons will help you.
I’ve written my answers and added some notes to elaborate on some.
10 greatest things that happened in the past year:
- Started and finished my iPhone app, Photo 365.
- Photo 365 got featured as New & Noteworthy, App of the Week, and What’s Hot. Made it to App of the Week in 45+ countries!
- Started Get Busy Living and have grown it to 5,000+ visitors a month.
- Formed my own business, Get Busy Living LLC.
- Got engaged and married in the same year! Elvis was in the building!
- Got to take epic wedding photos like this. I think I had more fun doing it than Eleanor. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
- Created my first free ebook, Get a Life That Doesn’t Suck.
- Designed and sold my first ever Get Busy Living t-shirt. Still looking for a present for you or someone else?
- Traveled to Bail and stayed at the best resort I’ve ever stayed at thus far.
- Ran my second half marathon in February and finished right under my goal of 2 hours.
Writing things down made me realize how much I got done this year. I know I could have done more, but it’s a great start.
This is by far the most progress I’ve made since went from crawling to walking.
- My first goal for this year was to start a blog. I started brainstorming on a topic last year, even though I’ve had this domain for two years. I didn’t know the direction I wanted to take this blog. When I finally decided that I love to write about personal development, that’s when I got started. I started with no one reading it, but have built it up to the way it is now. I’m thankful for having a great community, getting to know many of you, and learning from you.
- Because of the income I was earning the first 30 days from my app, my family’s accountant suggested it’s best if I formed an LLC. I decided to name it Get Busy Living LLC. It’s pretty broad so I can do different types of businesses under the name. Forming an LLC was a goal of mine this year, so I’m excited that became a reality.
-The wedding photos were fun. We did them in Taipei. We were blown away by all the comments we got about them. I told Eleanor we should do them every year, but she’s not so sure about that. Like I said, I thought it was pretty fun.
- Eleanor loves Bali. I had never been. So when I went to Taipei in February, we planned to go to Bali. We stayed in Ubud. I was in charge of finding a hotel, which I love doing. I can spend hours researching.
I found a chain called Komaneka. Highly rated on Trip Advisor. They have three properties in Ubud. After debating which one would be the best one, I picked Komaneka at Monkey Forest.
We took a taxi to hotel. We checked in and found out they didn’t have my name!! Oh crap! Did I really book the wrong property??
They called another property to see if I had booked there. I did. My mistake. I booked the Komaneka at Tanggayuda (try saying that last word a few times fast). I was bummed because the reviews for this one were so good.
They had a shuttle that would take us to the other hotel, which was about 20 minutes away.
My mistake turned out to be a great one. This property was perfect. Even better I think than the one at Monkey Forest. It was secluded and so quiet. We had a private villa with a pool overlooking rice fields (pic). The other one was right in the city center. We really got to know the small staff there in just four days and was sad to leave. Eleanor is dying to go back, and when we do, we’ll stay there again.
-I proposed to Eleanor in Bali, so it make the trip more memorable. She wanted an Elvis wedding and I gave her what she wanted. If you’re ever looking for a quick fun wedding, Las Vegas is the way to go.
-I’m happy about the T-shirt because I have wanted to create a T-shirt line for about four years. Next year, I plan on adding more designs. Stay tuned!
I’m most proud of these three accomplishments from last year:
- Started this blog, Get Busy Living, and still going strong!
- Started work on my iPhone app and released it for sale eight months later.
- Forming my own LLC.
Tough to just choose three, but these three I’m most proud of. If at the beginning of the year, you told me I’d have all three by now, I would have started doing fist pumps.
Three best lessons I’ve learned from last year are:
- Consistency is the key. Instead of starting and stopping, doing something consistently will lead to greater results.
- Planning, doing, and reviewing my goals really works. This was the first year I’ve done it and no doubt in my mind it’s a huge reason for the changes in my life.
- Take 100% responsibility for my life.
- The reason the tortoise always beats the hare is because of slow and steady consistency. If you ran a 5 mile race, would you start by running as fast you can? No way because you’d be passed out on the ground real soon! Yet that’s what we often do when we get excited about a goal.
Slow and steady will get you to the finish line first. Life is a marathon and not a sprint.
- Writing and reviewing my goals really helped. Some I didn’t achieve, but that’s my fault. I did achieve many rewarding ones though.
- I used to blame everything around me for my lack of success. I was a miserable person inside. Then I learned to take responsibility for all the choices I make. If I didn’t like something, I had a choice. If I didn’t do anything, that was my choice. No finger pointing. No blaming. The only person to blame is the person we see in the mirror every day.
Three personal developments I’ve made in the past year are:
- Goal setting
- Feeding my mind with inspirational or educational books.
- Changing my attitude about what is possible.
- I fed my mind with more clean water. I went to the library often this year. I loved learning new things. I noticed I read a lot of book on entrepreneurship and personal development. I’m getting a free Kindle Fire soon, so that should get me to read much more next year.
- I realized I had to believe in myself first. I learned success is possible with enough time, consistency, and hard work. I’ve seen other bloggers and see their success so I know what I want to do isn’t far fetched. We all have access to the same information and resources. It’s just a matter what we do with it and how much we believe in ourselves.
If I could do things again, I would do these three things differently last year:
- Have a better morning routine.
- Take more notes when reading.
- Exercised more consistently.
- Before this year, my morning routine was to wake up, have breakfast and get on the computer or start watching TV. Multiply that for nearly my whole adult life.
This year I learned our habits over time helps us or brings us down. One habit I wanted to improve was my morning routine.
I was doing well for awhile where I’d wake up, have breakfast, and reading something educational or inspirational before turning on my computer. It was a way to start the day on a positive note instead of checking email and Facebook first thing.
I’ve slipped and know I need to do a better job next year. Old habits are hard to break, but I will break this one.
- I’ve gotten most books from the library, so I couldn’t highlight in it. I took some notes, but should have done it with every book. Next year when I read, I’ll take notes or if I’m reading on my iPad or Kindle, highlight the important points.
- I ran my last half marathon in February. I was in the best shape of my life. Two days later, I left for Taipei. My plan was to give myself a week off and then regularly go to the local gym. That didn’t happen.
I went sometimes. After a month, I was too lazy to go.
After I came back, it was really hard to get back into running. I lost all my fitness, motivation, and momentum from before. Before, I’d run for an hour and feel great. When I tried to run for ten minutes I was tired.
So instead of completely stopping, I should have done some sort of physical activity no less than three times a week.
I’ve been working out regularly the last five weeks doing Crossfit (I’m typing this with four blisters on my hands), and I feel much more productive every day.
Three things I need to do less of in the next year are:
- Eat sweets
- Pointless web surfing and know nothing about the Kardashians.
- If I eliminated sweets from my diet completely, I would have lost 20 pounds probably. However, I would have also been banging my head against the wall most of the time. I eat too much and know I need to cut back. It’s hard to say no to sugar. It’s so good! If I have an addiction, it’s sugar for sure. It tastes good, but it makes me feel more sluggish later. More sluggish means less productive.
- Pointless web surfing distracts me and takes away from valuable working time. I need to do better separating the two.
- I’ve done so much better about complaining, but I still catch myself doing it. I’ll complain about being tired or being too full. I’ll complain about being sore. Still complain about the job I don’t particularly like. I complain after I eat two big pieces of cake. It’s too much and I need to do way less of it.
Three things I need to do more of in the next year are:
- Be a productivity Jedi. Focus on work in blocks of time. Similar to the Pomdoro technique
- Act and think more like an entrepreneur
- Create more
- I know I need to do a better of working when it’s work time. No distractions. No stopping. When it’s time my free time, I can spend more time on Youtube watching videos like this.
I know about the Pomodoro technique, but just knowing about it is not enough. I will make a strong effort to utilize it.
- If I’m going to have make my dream of quitting my job and being self employed, I’m going to have to make more money. That means learning more about entrepreneurship and creating something valuable.
- I get energized when I’m creating. That’s why I can spend hours on designing my t-shirt, customizing my blog, writing and editing a blog post, and other things. I want to do more of that.
Three things I need to stop completely doing in the next year are:
- Driving while texting or checking my iPhone (seriously need to eliminate that for safety reasons)
- Work at my current job
This was tough because I know some things I should do less of, but I know I won’t completely eliminate. These three things I need to completely stop.
- Trying to multitask makes me less productive actually. I know it’s bad and it needs to stop.
- I used to be really bad about texting and checking my iPhone while driving. Now Eleanor yells at me, as a reminder to not. Nothing is that important to take my eyes off the road. I’ve read the tragic stories of people texting while driving. It needs to stop completely.
- After my app success, people asked me when I was quitting my job. Though I was bringing in over $1k a day for one week, I was hesitant to quit right away. First I wanted to see how sales would be when I wasn’t featured. I knew realistically I wasn’t going to be earning that much money a day for a year.
Since then, sales dropped and now have been sitting at a consistent level the last couple months. I expected that. It’s not enough money to quit my job. Plus I’m putting back money into it adding new features.
(I’ll write a whole post on a Photo 365 update.)
Though it’s frustrating, I feel like I’m close. I didn’t make it a goal this year to quit my job. I didn’t think it was realistic. It would have been so sweet though.
I know other bloggers, who I’ve become friends with, are working to be fully self employed as well, so I’m hoping we can all make it happen in 2012.
Three reasons I didn’t achieve some goals from this past year are:
- Lost some momentum starting in August
- Didn’t focus on projects that would contribute to achieving my goals when I had the free time
- I underestimated myself
- Before August, I lived like a bachelor since I was still in a long distance relationship. My sink was full of plates and pots. Clothes all over the floor. My house would be lucky if it got cleaned once a week.
That also meant I could do whatever I wanted in my free time, and this year that was blogging and creating income on the side.
Eleanor came over in August for good, so I couldn’t spend ALL day long on the computer. If I did, I’d be sleeping on the couch. Therefore, I needed to be more focused, when I did have the time. I didn’t do a great job of adjusting.
- One goal was to do more guest posting to get more readers and traffic. I should have done more. I promised some friends guests posts, but I didn’t get around to them. I write slow. I edit slow. So it takes more time to create one post. I know it’ll take more practice to improve.
- Because I didn’t know I could do so much in a year, I held back some. Next year, the training wheels are coming off!
Three goals I want to achieve in the next year:
- Travel more
- Create more income streams
- Attend a conference like WDS or Blog World
- The first order of travel is to go on a honeymoon. I know it’s hard to believe, but we haven’t been on a honeymoon yet. We didn’t know where to go and didn’t have time right after the wedding. There’s no deadline, right?
I know somewhere where the water is crystal clear is on the wish list.
Lately, I’ve been learning about travel hacking, so I hope I can put to use what I learn in 2012.
- I need to earn more income to be self employed. Will do that by creating valuable products that will benefit others. I want to expand my T-shirt design as well. Of course I want to have another iPhone app done before the end of 2012.
- I’ve heard nothing but great things about both of these conferences. Being social with lots of people is not my element, so it would be something completely out of my comfort zone. I know the experience will be worth it though.
Smartest decision I made last year:
Taking 100% responsibility for the choices in my life. Deciding to start taking action instead of using hope as a strategy. Putting my head down and really working hard to get to this point.
Biggest risk I took this past year:
Spending $1900 on an iPhone app. Had no idea if I would even make any money from it. Spending that much money was a huge gamble, but one I was willing to take a risk on.
One sentence that sums up this past year:
A year of positive change, but it’s just the beginning of bigger things.
One year from right now, I want to describe my year like this:
It’s been another phenomenal year of growth personally and professionally. I’m excited to be fully self employed with a thriving business. I’m in great shape at my ideal weight of 180 lbs, and my marriage has only gotten better this year. I have traveled to many wonderful places, met many great people, and gained valuable memories I will remember forever.
Now it’s Your Turn
If you’re doing an annual review post and want to add it to the list, please leave a comment with a link to your post.
Chris Guillebeau at The Art of Non-conformity
Annie Andre at Practical Adventure-ology
(They ones below used the worksheet as a guideline. All fantastic. A must read.)
Caroline Leon at Life is Limitless
Noch at Noch Noch
Alex at Milk the Pigeon
Carrie Smith at Careful Cents
Caleb Wojack at Pocket Changed
Lauren Kimball at Lamiki
Marv and Jo at Intrepid Motion
Tia Sparkles at Your Life Your Way
Amanda Abella at Grad Meets World
Mei at Mei Ying
Thanks to all of you for a great 2011 and hope yours was as great as mine was.