For no logical reason, I have completed an Annual Review every October for the past 3 years. Not December, like the average person. I think I thought it was cool, but I can't remember my exact reasons. Either way, I appreciate the process immensely but have always completed it solo until now. This year is different in one primary way, I have a fancy new blog to post my inner contemplations, so I mise well use it!
Before I begin, you should check out this Annual Reflection Guidebook I created. Several people have used it to process 2020 and use that info to capitalize on specific areas in 2021, including myself. This post will be based on my answers to the questions within it. Wouldn't it be awesome if there was a community of people completing one every year, and 20 years from now, you had a binder full of reflective material to remind you of the years past? If so, after you read this, grab your own and start!
Today's the best day to plant a seed, or however that saying goes… Begin now.
Here is my Annual Reflection. Let's start by looking back at 2020, and then I'll make some commitments to you for 2021.
Describe The Theme of 2020
A year of great discovery, maturity, and change. An exploration into what works and what definitely does not—the beginning of mature decisions that realize huge returns.
Peak Accomplishments & Habits in 2020
- Starting this blog: This endeavor has sparked a flame of inspiration within me. In the past, I only wrote through the narrow lens of GoStrive Co., which is a difficult way to learn for a beginning writer. Having to pigeonhole the type of content one writes. On this, I took advice from Naval on reading:
"Read what you love until you love to read."
So I separated it from GoStrive Co. and started this blog, where I write whatever interests me.
- Placing products on GoStrive.Co: Part of the above change was converting GoStrive from a blog into a pure e-commerce retail site. It's a change for the better, I think. Currently, there are only 2 products, but that's changing in 2021.
- Finishing Musashi: At just under 1,000 pages, this book is a tomb, and it's my first foray into Japanese literature, so it was intimidating, to say the least. However, it was one of the smoothest reads I've ever read from an older text. The translation is fantastic. It's a historical epic about the life and journey of a legendary Samurai warrior, Miyamoto Musashi, which culminates into the most life-changing last page of a book out there. It has to be read entirely to take impact, but it's well worth it if you choose to take on the challenge.
- Slip Box Note Taking Method: In August, I started taking notes of everything I read based on this system. It's a game-changer for retaining the knowledge and insights gained from reading books.
- Sobriety: I can't remember one lousy hangover in 2020… which speaks for itself. I've cut the weekend drinking habit I picked up in my late teens and saw the tremendous value of early weekend mornings. This is not me saying I quit drinking, but I have more clarity on its costs, which helps me proceed cautiously.
- Waking up 2 hours earlier: My productivity has skyrocketed from this adjustment. It's been written about a million times, and I finally heeded the advice. Quiet, uninterrupted mornings have been one of my favorite new habits, and I fully expect to hold onto them in the future.
- Removed social media from my phone (& IG altogether): I'm not sure what your relationship to social media is but to me, it's like junk food. The more you can eliminate from your daily attention diet, the better off you will be. I quickly learned that social media's value can be obtained entirely using a desktop to post and reach out, reducing nearly all the downsides. Similarly to #6, I don't plan to ever put a social media app back onto my phone. Do it yourself for 30 days; once you see the benefits, it'll be difficult to imagine going back.
Some Areas I've Spotted To Improve On…
- Distraction: Shiny object syndrome is expected in a world full of shiny objects. In hindsight, this has been the primary obstacle to my own success. There are so many exciting opportunities and potential pathways in life that it's challenging to commit to seeking depth in one. It's critical, though. You won't get anywhere by trying to do everything, but you give yourself a fighting chance to do it all if you pick (and start) with ONE thing. If you're struggling with committing to one thing, read Musashi. Its life-changing insights are on that topic exactly.
- Overthinking: It's not just analysis paralysis; it's allowing yourself to obsess over every absolute worst-case scenario in which the world ends, and everybody hates everything you do. It serves nothing but my obstacles. I curbed this well in 2020. However, there's a ton of space for improvement in 2021. For now, it's a continuous reminder that massive action and time invested trumps all.
- Spending time effectively: Money is not the ultimate resource. Time is. Past programming has placed such a strong emphasis on frugality and saving it makes holding money easy, but spending it hard, like paying $1,500 on a coaching program that can return 10x more. I'm not saying you shouldn't save anything, but investing in oneself intelligently, early and often, is a power move.
- Delegation: Originally, this was combined with #3, but now it'll be a continuation of it. Time is integral. I spend too much of it solving problems and doing work on this business that I don't have the expertise or interest in. Just to save a few dollars. Of course, when you're starting out (like I am), you have to weigh the cost and make judgments within your financial capabilities, but we're all owners of our time, and as owners, we have to get good at delegation. Gotta spend money to make it.
2 Themes I Want to Represent in 2021
- The year I moved out of employment and into self-employment full time.
- Year of continued leaps in growth & discovery.
Habits to Start & Skills to Develop in 2021
- Writing: This blog is one vehicle for this; journaling is another important one. Writing is thinking - I can see how it improves my thoughts and my communication of those thoughts. It's a valuable skill. I not only want to develop the craft; I want it to be apart of my career. I've set the following goals for 2021 that align with this:
I) Publish at least 24 articles here.
II) Write at least 10 book summaries.
III) Tweet 365 times this year.
IV) Write 52 weekly Strive Journals (sign up here).
V) Complete a 1-month writing challenge.
VI) Hire an editor.
VII) Write letters to my nephews and nieces.
- Grow my audience: A long-term goal I have for my life, and this website is to deliver valuable content to as many people as possible. Half of that includes an engaged audience. My goals that align with this:
I) The above writing objectives.
II) Invest in advertising & growth.
III) Hire a business coach or take a course specializing in business growth.
- Jiu-Jitsu: 2020 has not been that bad to my privileged ass, BUT it did take away Jitsu. Which was challenging and made me realize just how much I cherish it and care for the people I train with. I love the gentle art and cannot wait to dive back in with my teammates at Titan. An objective I have when it returns is:
I) Attend a class every single day for 1 month.
- Breathing: I read a book named Deep by James Nestor, which led to another named Breath. These revealed the significance of breathing correctly and the epidemic of bad breathing habits by people today. Not only does it alleviate many potential health consequences, but proper breathing also leads to numerous advantages in performance. This is a small adjustment but a critical one. The goals I have around this is:
I) Take a breathing course.
II) Complete a 1-month breathing exercise challenge.
- Networking: I have a fantastic group of friends that care for each other tremendously; however, the other side of that coin is not having an incentive to create time for new relationships. Ones that align with my current professional goals; therefore, in 2021, I am on the market! I'm not the type to trade business cards at the local networking event, but the goal is to make 3 new connections organically in 2021.
Well, that's it. Another year come and gone, seemingly at light speed. Here's to your continued growth in yours and a healthy year for those we love.
PS. If you wrote annual goals and want an accountability partner or just want to connect, message me here on Twitter or sign up to my newsletter, The Strive Journal.