Annual Review – Part 1

One of my favorite things to do to start the new year off is to do an annual review (inspired by this post).  I know this happens at the workplace often, but it’s also very useful on a smaller scale of a personal annual review :) (and even smaller, as an obsessive list maker, I also do small weekly reviews… :) My life works best when I get information out of my memory and onto paper).  Last year, some of the goals that actually came to be included:

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1. Running a marathon

I put ‘dream’ in parenthesis after this goal on last year’s list, knowing that this was not realistic (prior to 2012, I had never run more than a mile and a half in my life).  Turns out I was wrong!  Not only did I run a marathon, I also ran a half marathon and a 15k.

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2.  Incorporating art into my regular schedule

This was another one that seemed quite difficult.  At the time I was working a full time office job and had at least an hour commute each way.  Finding time and energy to do anything but eat dinner and go to sleep after work did not seem realistic.  Now I have figured out a schedule that allows me to work on my art about 2-3 days a week.  Not to mention I now have a space to work in, which makes all the difference.  This was also made simpler by the fact that I received my first grant this past year and had no choice but to pour in many, many hours into my art!  On the art end, I also started this blog which allows me to write, something I’ve always loved, and got my art shown on both coasts, as well as locally, and in a publication.

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3. Take three trips on my own terms (meaning not school related, not family related and not work related)

Whenever I met fellow travelers in Europe and told them I was from the US, they would ask me where I had been after they listed off a long list of cities they had been.  I was always slightly ashamed to admit that I had visited approximately three cities in the US.  And while I had a long list of European cities I could ramble off, I also realized that perhaps I can also be a tourist much closer to home.  So I made a decision to stay local this year and ended up visiting New York City, Nashville and San Francisco.  Loved all three!

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4. Developing my photography further

This was more of a vague goal and one that was completed more by accident than intention.  My goal for 2012 was to get a photography website up and learn something new about my camera regularly.  Neither of those really happened, but something even better happened.  While I don’t have a website up, I have been including photos on this website, and while I didn’t learn anything regularly, I did start a photography program, something that takes my goal above and beyond what I originally planned :)

I had a few more goals that were met, but they are boring financial and practical goals, so I’ll skip those.  There are also other goals that were not met, including the photo website, volunteering more, keeping up my marathon training, reading more and figuring out a way to make my art more financially sustainable.  But looking back, I feel like I accomplished much more than what I didn’t.  What I really like about this annual review process is not the planning necessarily, nor the list making (although I do love that), it’s sitting down and thinking about all I’d like to do with my upcoming year.  Making the seemingly impossible goal of, for example, running a marathon, seem more realistic by writing it down and taking the time to consider how I’m going to reach it.  Committing to the idea that art will become a part of my schedule and figuring out how to make it happen.  Focusing in on what is important and what isn’t.  It helps me get focused on larger goals instead if getting lost in the routines of the everyday while constantly putting off the larger dreams because they are simply overwhelming.  It helps me get excited and challenges me to figure out how to get to where I want to be.  Next week I will share some of my goals for 2013 and how I plan to accomplish them :)

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