Each year, I write an annual review as a way to reflect on the year that’s passed, review my successes and failures and keep myself publicly accountable.
- What went well?
- What needs work?
- What did I learn?
- What am I working towards?
- What is my theme for the new year?
If you don’t already do so, I highly recommend writing your own annual review. It helps you celebrate your forgotten wins, identify where to improve and know what to double down on in the upcoming year. Feel free to use this format. Now let’s get into it.
WHAT WENT WELL?
These were some of my big wins in 2018.
Systems. If you read my annual review from last year, this was an area where I’d wanted to focus more of my energy. I certainly did so in 2018 as part of my leveling up and exploring my own personal reinvention. I feel confident that the systems I set up this year can remain as is for 2019 and achieve their desired result. If you’re interested, these systems include my morning routine; weekly-, monthly- and quarterly reviews; managing my personal finances and investments; managing my business finances/structure; and simplifying a lot of workflows that I use regularly in my business.
Business. Speaking of my business, this was actually a pretty strange year for me. While I took a large part of the year off from creating content and social media, I still doubled my revenue from last year, making this my best year ever. This is largely due, I believe, to saying no to a lot more things. And while I’m stoked about doing so, I did struggle a lot with feelings of losing momentum and a lack of clarity (funny how that happens, right?). However, all that aside, I feel like I’ve matured a lot from a business perspective this year and was able to zoom out and identify strategy from a higher level rather than simply wanting to do whatever seemed cool in the moment. All in all, I am super grateful for the fact that my business continues to grow each year and has gotten to a point where it is able to support not just me anymore, but also my little family 🙂 And, I’m excited to continue building and growing things in the new year with a new strategy and clearer focus.
Personal Life. My wife and I have joked on several ocassions this year about the fact that not many couples have to (or get to!) go through what we’ve gone through in our first year of marriage! Fortunately, we’ve come out the other side stronger and closer. We’re in a better position financially than ever before, started fun traditions like Friday family movie & pizza nights, and are currently buying our first home together. Lots to be grateful for!
Personal Growth. This year saw me reading more books than in any previous year, and while my tally of 20-something isn’t a lot to write home about, I managed to successfully develop a reading habit by carving out intentional reading time early in my day. This total would have been a lot more but for the fact that I focused for at least 3-6 months on two intensive courses that I took. I also managed to make journaling a regular practice this year by developing a technique that worked well for me. This has been tremendously valuable by allowing my ideas to escape my brain and saving them for future reference.
Travel. Finally, I was fortunate enough to be able to go on two more overseas trips this year; both of them to different parts of the US for work and pleasure. I was stoked to be able to add Colorado, Chicago, Michigan, San Diego, and LA to my list 🙂 I’ll be back soon!
Highlights of 2018:
- Read 20+ books
- Published the 100th (and final) episode of The Quarter Life Comeback podcast
- Wrote a daily article and email (for 100 days)
- Surpassed 1000 email subscribers for the first time in my business
- Launched The Ultimate Daily Planner
- Smashed my record month and year of revenue in my business
- Doubled my revenue from 2017 (which was double 2016’s revenue!)
- Invested more into my business than ever before! (probably the reason for the two wins before this)
- Participated and/or invested in 10+ coaching programs/courses
- Traveled to several new parts of the US (Colorado, Chicago, California, what’s up?!)
- Attended my first live event/conference in my industry
- Formalized + legalized my business structure + implemented WAY better systems for everything
- Became obsessed with the concept of personal reinvention (more to come!)
- Got my personal finances super dialed in and organized
WHAT NEEDS WORK?
There were also
some a lot of things that didn’t go as planned.
Self-doubt. Yup, you read that right. The guy who’s always super positive and optimistic admitting he struggled (more than he’d like to admit) with negative voices of doubt, comparison, and worrying what other people think. I come up with more ideas than anyone I know, but my shortfall is overthinking those ideas and ruling them out because of what other people might think. Success loves speed, and I want to focus on dialing in my speed of implementation in 2019. The biggest takeaway from the event I attended in San Diego came from Bedros Keuilian when asked his #1 tip for new entrepreneurs: “Make faster decisions.”
Sleep. Despite sleeping in a sexy mask, being known for prioritizing bedtime and wearing funky orange goggles during family movie nights, my sleep was still not where I’d like it to be. If you think this isn’t a big deal, you have some catching up to do. Sleep is 100% the most neglected and important aspect of performing at a high level (LeBron James sleeps for up to 10 hours some nights). I went through periods where things were solid, but I want to be more consistent with this in 2019. The truth is, nothing is as important for my health or business than getting a good night’s rest.
Workouts. Another area I neglected this year was moving my body more regularly. I suffered a frustrating lower-back injury late in the year which kept me out of exercise for over 2 months (at one point, I couldn’t even walk properly). I am convinced this occurred as a result of sitting for prolonged periods before going to the gym and trying to deadlift the heaviest thing I can find. More optimization and daily movement coming soon.
Social life. Finally, possibly the biggest area for improvement is in my social life. Between business stuff, my back injury, and personal/family challenges, I feel like I neglected a lot of relationships and didn’t spend much time with other human beings. This bothered me a lot because I know how powerful relationships are in achieving our goals (plus they’re just more fun than isolating yourself!). To be honest, I went through a period where if it didn’t grow my business or involve my family, it didn’t matter to me. Now it does. Looking forward to cleaning this up in the new year!
WHAT DID I LEARN?
Based on my experiences and personal learning this year, these are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned:
- Your relationships and skills are STILL your two biggest assets. Period.
- Money loves speed.
- Insight without action counts for nothing.
- Investing in yourself and/or your business is only temporarily an expense, before it becomes a long-term income/asset.
- When things feel overwhelming, take the smallest action you can think of and let momentum do the rest.
- In order to do great things, you need to do fewer things.
- Instead of asking “Who am I?”, ask “Who am I becoming?”.
- Excellence cannot happen in isolation.
WHAT AM I WORKING TOWARDS?
This is always my favorite part of the annual review: a chance to dream big and get inspired! If 2018 was a bit of a sabbatical and reinvention, 2019 is a year for rebirth and new beginnings. As I mentioned earlier, I have a better idea of my business strategy and more importantly, what I’m saying no to. It’s about focusing more of my energy on fewer things, and putting myself out there again after some time off. I feel like I have all the right pieces to play with, and 2019 is the time to put them all together. Exciting times!
THEME FOR 2019
In 2018, my theme for the year was PRO. If I’m honest, I don’t really feel like I fully lived up to that. However, I realize now that there are going to be some periods throughout this journey that aren’t as glamorous or sexy as others. This is totally normal, just as there are different seasons in nature. However, despite that fact, I still managed to grow my business and am happy with where things are right now.
In 2019, my theme for the year is BREAKTHROUGH.
I have watched enough of my peers building the kind of business that I want to create, and I realize they are no smarter, better or more hard-working than I am. It’s just a matter of focusing on what’s truly important. And if I can do that, I truly believe 2019 will be a breakthrough year for me.
What’s your theme for the new year?
If you’ve listened, downloaded, shared, played, liked, or otherwise consumed any of my work this year, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your support means more than you will ever know. 2018 was a roller-coaster year, but I wouldn’t want to be doing it with anyone else. See you next year!
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