Annual Planning for 2021

Happy New Year's Eve!

As I was re-organizing my files, I came across a planning exercise my wife and I did in 2019 but failed to do in 2020. Looking over the notes, I realized that we accomplished a lot of the goals that we had set out in 2019 and the 2018 year-in-review part was helpful in learning from our successes and failures. The process of answering the questions is a little bit more work than the traditional New Year's resolutions but way more effective because it helps keep things in perspective.

Amanda and I plan on re-doing that annual review for 2021 and I wanted to share the framework that I used and found to be ultra helpful. You can read the original blog post from Asian Efficiency here.

Twelve Questions for your Annual Review

The simplest way to get this annual review done is to grab a pen and a notebook and start writing down the answers to the questions below. Amanda and I did our first review together over the course of a few days in January. I found it to be very helpful having her perspective for each of the questions. The questions are two kinds: year-in-review for 2020 and forward goal planning for 2021.

Year-in-Review Questions

  • What went well?
  • What didn't go so well?
  • Why did this happen?
  • Why didn't I achieve my goal(s)?
  • What can I do to prevent the bad things from happening again?
  • Of all the things that went well, what did I Iearn from them?
  • What's one word to summarize this year?

Forward Goal Planning

  • How can I continue to be more successful?
  • What should I start doing?
  • What should I stop doing?
  • What should I keep doing?
  • What can I do to make next year better?

What I found most useful was the learning that both Amanda and I did as we looked back at the previous year. The year-in-review set the stage for the goals and plans we made for the upcoming year. Looking back, we accomplished a lot in 2019. We got super busy in January 2020 and never got around to the goal planning for the year because, of course, 2020 got going and it seemed that we were just in reaction mode for the entire year.

Give it a Try

Amanda and I have a couple of evenings set aside in January to get through the questions. You don't have to answer all of the questions, because it can get time consuming. But the time spent reflecting and planning the year's engagements will be well-worth the effort towards a great 2021!

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