The end of the year is presumably a good time for reflection and review. I don’t have any strict structure for annual reviews. I did them many times before, but I haven’t found any process that I stick to. I used to set goals and check if I accomplished them. However, this year I tried something different.

Past Year Review

Although I set goals for 2019, I don’t think they’re something that drove me throughout the year. Moreover, I didn’t think too much about them. For 2020, I decided to conduct a Past Year Review by Tim Ferris.

The whole Past Year Review process fits in these 5 steps (from Tim’s blog):

  1. Grab a notepad and create two columns: POSITIVE and NEGATIVE.
  2. Go through your calendar from the last year, looking at every week.
  3. For each week, jot down on the pad any people or activities or commitments that triggered peak positive or negative emotions for that month. Put them in their respective columns.
  4. Once you’ve gone through the past year, look at your notepad list and ask, “What 20% of each column produced the most reliable or powerful peaks?”
  5. Based on the answers, take your “positive” leaders and schedule more of them in the new year. Get them on the calendar now! Book things with friends and prepay for activities/events/commitments that you know work. It’s not real until it’s in the calendar. That’s step one. Step two is to take your “negative” leaders, put “NOT-TO-DO LIST” at the top, and put them somewhere you can see them each morning for the first few weeks of 2019 (2020). These are the people and things you know make you miserable, so don’t put them on your calendar out of obligation, guilt, FOMO, or other nonsense.

I changed this process making it more suitable for me. Instead of using notepad, I wrote down everything in a text file. Instead of working with the calendar, I went through my journal.

At the end of this step, I create two lists. Let’s call them positive and negative.

Analyse positive and negative lists

I had a lot of points on my positive list, but most of them repeated over time. They were related to other people, trips, sport, learning, creating, reading, or doing something for others.

It was hard for me to fill the negative list, so I ended up having a few specific points. In general, I pointed out things like implicit expectations, arguments, misunderstandings, excuses, as well as traffic jams, eating junk food, and checking blog stats or social media.

What is interesting, all these points are not related to income, profits or any other material benefits. They are about positive and negative emotions and feelings.

The next step I’ve done was transforming the lists to the form of do more and try to eliminate. Here they’re:

Do more

  • Take care of important relationships in your life, spend more time with friends and put real value in their life.
  • Write more articles and essays on the blog and be worried less about the form (like in this article).
  • Do good things and support other people.
  • Learn new things, read books and develop new skills.
  • Take care of yourself – sleep more, exercise, and check your health regularly.

Try to eliminate

  • Excuses.
  • Pretending that everything is OK instead of talking to solve problems.
  • Checking social media and blog statistics after a new publication.
  • Browsing the Internet aimlessly.
  • Wasting time in traffic jams.

Next steps

I should schedule some activities or events, but I don’t think I have to do it right now. I can’t plan everything I want to do at this moment. Instead, I’m going to collect some ideas related to the do more list that I can use in the next months. I want to also be more aware of my try to eliminate list, so I put them in a visible place.

What about the goals?

Before 2017, I was defining goals somehow.

For 2017 and 2018, I defined goals according to the S.M.A.R.T. rule.

In the meantime, In 2018, I defined my values.

For 2019, I defined goals based on my values and my “whys”.

In the meantime, In 2019, I defined my own mission and my vision.

For 2020, I try “Past Year Review”. At this point, I define no annual goals. Maybe I would set them when I’ve needed them.

Goals appear and disappear, become important and less important – depends on the situation. It doesn’t mean I don’t have personal goals. I have, but they are no results of annual review but rather my direction through life.


In 2019, I accomplished most of my goals. On the whole, lots of good things happened to me this year. I had many opportunities to learn, challenge and to broaden my mind. I appreciate that.

On the other hand, I know, that I’ve could do many things better. There’re always fields to improvement. The point is to see them and be aware of them.

Thank you for reading. I wish you a Happy New Year!

Featured photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash.