Each year, at this time of the year, many people take time out to review what they’ve achieved this past year and look at setting goals for the following year.

The point of setting goals though, is that they should not be about creating a rigid work plan for yourself.

Nor should they be about creating resolutions (which are usually broken by the end of the first week of January anyway)

Or about setting aspirational objectives such as “make more money” or “exercise more”

Neither are they about  doing the things that you should do.

Setting goals  is about creating a road map of what you intend to achieve during the year. It’s also about doing the things you want to do. If you want to do something, then there’s a greater chance of it happening than if you  do something  others want you to do.

Getting Started

Therefore, the annual review process which I am covering here, is split into three posts. This first post will take a  look back on 2009, as a Year in Review, before I look to a separate post outlining the planning processes I go through, before finally detailing my objectives for the year.

To quote Chris Guillebeau:

we tend to overestimate what we can do in an average day but underestimate what can be done over the course of a year. Looking at a whole year in review, you may be surprised at everything you’ve accomplished.

So, starting with the Year In Review:

2009 Year in Review

My review starts by reviewing what went well and what didn’t go quite as well – with the objective of doing more of what worked well and less of what didn’t go so well.

If you didn’t have any specific goals this year or you want to take a more structured approach, I suggest asking yourself the following questions as a starting point:

1. What disappointed me?

2. What surprised me?

3. What did I do really well?

4. Where did I fall short?

For me, I’m starting with what went well:

So, What went well?

With the formation of The Big Red Tomato Company in May 2008 I had a static website and an existing blog . In the summer I took the decision to combine these two sites into the one site you see here which went live on 14 August.

Being such a new site/blog I was delighted that we were given the opportunity to undertake an online interview with new authors: Josh Leibner, Gershon Mader and Alan Weiss to discuss their new book The Power of Strategic Commitment

Despite the economy, we managed to secure a new client contract quickly in a sector we had no previous dealings with.

Popular Posts

Looking specifically at the blog / site we have over 65 posts over 33 categories. Ranging from Managing your email more effectively to making peanut butter cookies .

However, the Top 5 posts of the year were:

  1. How to Get Rich
  2. How to Get a Job In a Downturn
  3. How to Think and Grow Rich
  4. How to speak like a pro
  5. Top 5 Mistakes In Setting Up a Business

The economic situation probably had a lot to do with these posts being so popular and I hope that those in most need of the advice in these articles have found benefit from them.

Interestingly enough, those starting a business in a recession tend to fare much better than ones starting in a better economic  climate.  Given that one of the most popular posts of the year is also one of the most recent, perhaps we could be looking forward to a number of new businesses starting in the next few months, as those affected by the economic climate look to control their own destiny by starting their own business.

What went not so well?

When the new site was created we had no clear expectations as to what we expected from the site other than to replace the two sites with a more professional site, which would promote the brand of The Big Red Tomato Company as well as attract more client work.  In retrospect more thought could have gone into identifying how the site would promote the brand and how the site would generate an independent income stream.

The one area that I’ve been most disappointed with is exercise. My dislocated knee injury from the middle of 2008 has continued to cause niggling problems but overall it’s the amount of time I’ve been able to devote to rehab / exercise.

I’ll be working on finalising my 2010 plan over the next couple of weeks.  But why don’t you start your Annual Review by reviewing your 2009?

Don’t just read this post!

You are more likely to succeed in your goals if you write them down or publicly share them with others. Why not start by sharing your achievements  here in the comments section below. If you have a blog  and you want to share your goals or your progress with others, put your website URL in the post.

Good Luck!

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