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Meta Annual Planning

I’ve looked back through the past year of notes in this mind garden and collated all the advice and ideas from the books I’ve read and articles I’ve saved in three posts:

There are so many tools that are intended to help plan for the year ahead that it feels a bit overwhelming. A friend sent me the Year Compass and someone I follow made Find Your Word and a few years ago I made my own Craft Your Life Planner which I liked when I made it, but now have seen so many other ideas I somewhat suspect it needs to be updated… But that thought leads me to…

If what really works in goal-setting and habit change is being unambitious and changing one small thing at a time… maybe doing a full-life assessment and planning is not super useful? Maybe we should start with a pain point, or one little thing we’re able to do now? Frankly, don’t most of us already know what would make our lives better? (More exercise and more sleep for pretty much all of us 😎 More time with friends is probably the next step.)

Do people come up with dramatic lifestyle changes (that work) out of a long, in-depth self-assessment process? Picking one or two questions to ponder at a time could be a better approach. Maybe this is what I should work through with my health coach 🤔 I liked the question she asked when we met on Monday, how would I like to feel different at the end of the year compared to now, and what one thing could I focus on to help me move that way?

I find it funny that I’m feeling this since I have (Exhibit A) made myself a planner and (Exhibit B) do multiple reviews (albeit with less reflection) and a broad range of goal setting most years.

But, maybe we all do the big burst annual planning because that’s when we have the energy and inspiration for it 😉 And, maybe it’s useful to let ourselves dream? I can also see that the process of introspection can be challenging and emotional, so having a guide or a tool (and limiting it to once a year) can make the process more doable.

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Personal Growth Reflection Self Care

Questions for Reflection from 2021

Time / Priorities

  • ‘As I look back on today, what did I do that was actually worth my time?’Susan David quoted in The Art of Showing Up
  • What can I be OK with being bad at, and delegate, stop doing, or do to a kind of crappy level?
  • How can I optimize for my main goal, and let go of others? – Hell Yeah or No by Derek Sivers
  • To accomplish this goal, how can I really commit to it? – Hell Yeah or No by Derek Sivers

Life

Daily Life

  • What rituals can I add to my life?
  • How can I incorporate play into more activities?
  • Start with your values to design your schedule. How much time should you spend on yourself, relationships, and work to match your values? – Indistractable by Nir Eyal
  • What stressors can I relieve?
  • How can I work more pleasurable activities into my daily life?

Big Picture

Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman:

  • Where in your life are you pursuing comfort, when what’s called for is a little discomfort?
  • In what ways have you yet to accept that you are who you are, not who you think you should be?
  • Where are you still holding back until you feel like you know what you’re doing?
  • What are the causes I want to champion? (Narrow it down.)
  • What actions–what acts of generosity or care for the world, what ambitious schemes or investments in the distant future–might it be meaningful to undertake today, if you could come to terms with never seeing the results?

Creative Work

  • What’s my definition of success? – Never Say You Can’t Survive by Charlie Jane Anders
  • How can I make writing more fun? – Never Say You Can’t Survive by Charlie Jane Anders
  • Am I judging yourself by standards of productivity that are impossible to meet? – Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman
  • What’s an intriguing way to describe my work? – Your Music and People by Derek Sivers

Relationships

Frientimacy by Shasta Nelson:

  • How can I be more vulnerable with my friends? (sharing my needs, do new things together, talk about relationship, sharing my successes, sharing my insecurities)
  • How can I commit more to my friendships?
  • What new things can I do or talk about with my friends?

Meta

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Featured Music

Music of 2021

Top played albums of 2021: (Artists top row l-to-r: Tame Impala, Caroline Rose, Miike Snow, Dent May; Second row l-to-r: OK Go, Washed Out, Islands, Ladytron; Third row l-to-r: Ladytron, Hot Chip, Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein, Sebastian; Bottom row l-to-r: Todd Terje, Broken Bells, OK Go, Chairlift)

Data: I’m relying solely on last.fm data since I learned that Spotify Wrapped only uses data through the end of October, which cuts off two whole months of listening. The numbers differ between Spotify and last.fm, which makes me wonder if one of them is being dumb, or some scrobbles aren’t making it to last.fm. The Musicorum project turns your last.fm stats into a Wrapped-style report.

What I Listened To

  • 4100 unique tracks
  • 1650 artists
  • 2700 albums
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Featured Reflection

2021 Year-End Reading Review

What I Read

I read 175 books in 2021, compared with 146 in 2020.

2021 Reads by Type

  • 86 novels
  • 21 novellas
  • 30 non-fiction books
  • 38 graphic novels and art books

2021 Reads by Genre

Of the 107 novellas and novels I read, here’s the breakdown by genre:

  • 86 romance
    • 20 contemporary romance
    • 22 sci-fi romance
    • 7 fantasy romance
    • 14 paranormal romance
    • 29 historical romance
  • 8 sci-fi
  • 9 fantasy
  • 4 general fiction