I just spent a few days reflecting on the past year and goal planning for 2021. For past New Years’, I would simply just plan out my goals, which is a different process than doing an annual review. An annual review also does plan out goals, but first it reflects and projects. We first want to know what we want more of, what we want less of, what we need to watch out for. Then we want to know what is a potential heaven and what is a potential hell. Then from that a system of goals emerges. The purpose of an annual review is to define your highest (and lowest) self and then to put that into a system that you can refer to throughout the year.

Goal setting can be hard by itself can be difficult. But when you’re trying to goal set with your highest (and lowest) self in mind, it can be damn near impossible. Everyone has their own system which they think is best. You should know your purpose, some say. Others stress defining your habits that make up the goal. Most agree that goals should be SMART goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely. And on and on.

What I found is best for me is first simply writing out the goal, and writing it from emotion.

I will send out a BOOK PROPOSAL to someone in the industry, and I will cheer and laugh and celebrate for trying.

That excites me. That’s a grand achievement to chase in one year’s time. Next, I will break that up into packets of information (as Tiago Forte labels them). This will often be 3-5 packets (logical goals) that make up that event.

  1. Draft the first 25% of the novel
  2. Draft a synopsis of my book
  3. Draft a book proposal
  4. Find and contact an agent and/or publisher

If I complete these four packets, each ending with a shareable document, then I’ll achieve my overarching emotional goal.

Each of these packets of information will take 2-4 months, so still I have some planning to do. I need to define the projects that make up each of these. Nevertheless this is the ending point of the annual review. I have defined my emotional and logical goals for the year. I have a snapshot of my year and where to direct my attention. So now I can move into the monthly review.

* * *

This is very similar to google’s goal-setting system, OKR goals. ‘O’ stands for objectives. I want to _____. Objectives are memorable and emotional. (I love the word memorable here. It helps me visualize something that I could appreciate for years to come.) ‘KR’ stands for key results. These are SMART goals, defined and measurable. For each Objective, you should have a set of 2 to 5 Key Results.

In years past, I mixed these two types of goals into one goals table. But now the lines are clear in my head, and this has given me a lot of clarity over what goals should stay and what should go.