2013 Annual Review

This year I’m writing my first Annual Review, which will give me a chance to take stock of what went well and what could have gone better, while also giving me a moment to enjoy the progress I’ve made over the past 12 months.

But it’s not just about looking back. A good Annual Review is also about looking toward the future and thinking about how the life I’m living now is building toward a bigger mission. Basically, my Annual Review forces me to look at my actions over the past 12 months and ask, “Are my choices helping me live the life I want to live?”

And most importantly, the annual review is a personal process. It’s not about comparing how much or how little you did to someone else. It’s about your life, your actions, and what you want to do for yourself. In other words, keep your eyes on your own paper.

There are 3 questions that I’m going to answer in my Annual Review (feel free to use these for your own annual review if you want).

  1. What went well this year?
  2. What didn’t go so well this year?
  3. What am I working toward?

Alright, let’s get this party started…

1. What went well this year?

Writing. After writing inconsistently for years, this was the year when I finally turned it around. I wrote a new article every Monday and Thursday in 2013. (I only missed one day all year, which happened when I was sick with food poisoning while traveling through Italy). My first article was published on November 12, 2012. I’m proud to say that since that time I have published 114 articles on JamesClear.com and received 686,937 unique visitors. Best of all, 40,637 people have joined my free weekly newsletter. (Thank You!)

Travel. I visited 5 countries and 10 states this year. Internationally, I traveled to Austria, Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and the United States. Within the USA, I visited California, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia. Overall, I’m happy with the amount of travel in my life, but next year I plan to schedule more trips specifically for photography.

Lifting. I’m slowly getting into better shape. In the beginning of the year, I was still relatively weak and out of shape, so I spent the first five months focusing on bodyweight exercises to build a foundation. Starting in late May, I went back to the gym and I haven’t missed a workout since. Again, I started with easy weights and slowly worked my way up each week. Rather than worrying about specific numbers, I was much better this year about committing to the process of training and getting better each week. I’m planning to share more details about my workouts during 2014.

My best lifts of the year were…

  • Clean and Jerk — 255 lbs. (115.5 kg)
  • Snatch — 165 lbs. (75 kg)
  • Back Squat — 295 lbs. for 10 reps
  • Front Squat — 240 lbs. for 10 reps
  • Deadlift — 405 lbs. for 2 reps
  • Bench Press — 200 lbs. for 11 reps

Mindset. I have been very achievement focused my entire life. This year, I made big strides toward becoming more process-oriented and focusing on the system rather than the goal. This was a major shift for me and the wonderful thing is that I’m enjoying the process more than ever and the results are still there.

2. What didn’t go so well this year?

Creating products. Basically, I didn’t do it. I have readers emailing me each week asking when my book is coming out. I have friends telling me every month that I need to launch a product. Maybe it’s my own fears or mental barriers holding me back, but I haven’t done it yet. I want to do it. I plan to do it. I just haven’t executed. My writing every Monday and Thursday will always be free, but you can also expect multiple books and products in 2014.

Delegation and management. Again, I know I should delegate more tasks in my business, but I have delayed doing this for a long time. Last week, I finally stepped up and hired someone to handle a few tasks. Hopefully that will go well and I’ll grow as a manager and leader over the next year. Building a team of people who believe in the mission is something I want to become better at in 2014.

Staying in touch with friends and family from afar. Thankfully, I see most of my family and friends in-person multiple times each year. But when we are far apart, my friends do a much better job of staying in touch with me than I do of staying in touch with them. I rarely call people first and often wait too long before calling them back. I’m thinking of how I can schedule calls with friends and family into my calendar on a weekly basis in 2014. (My main worry is that my family and friends will think that it’s too “business-like” to schedule calls with the people you are close to personally.)

Photography. I’m not sure that I got better as a photographer this year. Mostly, it comes down to this: I didn’t take enough photos. The only way to get better at the craft is to do the craft, and I spent too much time doing other things. I’d like to fix this in 2014 by scheduling a handful of photography trips, which will be 4 to 10 days in length and specifically dedicated to taking photos. You can be sure that some photo essays will be coming your way.

Sprinting. I didn’t make sprinting a priority in my workouts this year, so I wouldn’t consider this a failure. However, I do want to include more sprinting in my training next year. I made it to the track 3 or 4 times this year. Next year, I’d like to sprint once per week for a few months and see how my body responds.

Making people wait on me. I know I do it too often, especially with family and friends.

3. What am I working toward?

So where is all of this going? What direction am I heading in? What am I hoping to build, to create, and to share with the world?

After much thought, I think there are 5 central themes that drive my work, my relationships, and my life.

  1. Rituals and habits. I believe in process. I believe that it’s more important to become the type of person that you want to become than it is to achieve a particular result. The system is more important than the goal. Furthermore, the science of habits is probably the central theme that ties all of my work together.
  2. Adventure and exploration. There is very little in life that is better than a good adventure. The world is meant to be experienced, not read about.
  3. Creativity and craftsmanship. There is a magic that comes from making things. I believe that it’s important to be a creator, not merely a consumer. I want to make sure that I not only share great ideas through my writing, but that I actually put them into practice as well. It’s better to live in the arena than to judge from the crowd.
  4. Strength and confidence. I believe in living a physical life. It is through sport, competition, and physical pursuit that I have developed confidence in myself and I think that it is important to pursue those areas on a consistent basis. Pushing yourself physically reveals what you are made of mentally.
  5. Service and teamwork. I believe that we should be relentlessly helpful, teach everything we know, and serve whomever we can reach. Regardless of what projects I work on in the future, I hope they will serve others and focus on a cause that is bigger than myself. After working up the courage to write publicly, I now believe that writing is among the most important things I do because it allows me to help people on a larger scale.

The Bottom Line

I’ve said many times this year that I’m not an expert. I have plenty that I need to improve upon and with most of the areas above (even the good ones), I don’t have it all figured out. I’m just sharing what I learn along the way.

Of course, I am happy with the progress I made in 2013 and I’m excited to make 2014 a year of slow gains, little habits, and unwavering consistency.

As always, thanks for reading. And feel free to use my annual review as a template for your own.

 

Note: Thanks to Chris Guillebeau for inspiring me to write this Annual Review.

76 Comments

  1. James –

    I really appreciate you sharing this. Dude, you have done some amazing stuff in 2013 – Congratulations.

    Creating products and delegating tasks in business is something I have struggled with also, though I have run across some really intriguing psychology resources lately while working with UC Berkeley Psychology centers that have given me some new insights that have really re-framed those tasks for me. I am still sorting through my thoughts and would be really curious to see what you thought of them / what your personal psychology is like. Maybe when you have space on your reading list you can check them out and potentially let us readers in on if you think psychology plays a role in habit change/business at all.

    Anyways, 2014 is going to be awesome for you, dude! And the cool thing is, you bring all of your readers up with you! Thanks. Here’s to a new year.

  2. SJ Scott says:

    James,

    Love the idea for an annual post you cribbed from Guillebeau. A great idea.

    I specifically like the results you have gotten. Pretty awesome if you ask me. Since I am into writing and traveling myself, seeing your success made me a bit envious, but I love to see the (well deserved) success you have been having.

    It is also great to see that you haven’t reached ALL your goals. In some ways that is good, since it gives us more to strive for in the future.

    Looking forward to seeing you exceed these goals for 2014. Have a great year, bro!

    Steve

  3. Franz says:

    James, you should include in your accomplishments that you have helped so many people with your powerful insights and inspired us to make small but meaningful changes. I’m a new member of this community. I make a habit of reading through the comments. There isn’t enough space in your blog for all the Thank You’s… and here’s another one: thank you. You make your readers feel like they have a friend who truly gets what they are going through. You advice is clear, do-able and makes a lot of sense! As one reader said after reading oe of your articles, now didn’t I think of that? Brilliant work. Not all of us have access to the books and studies you read patiently. Thanks for doing the research and synthesizing it for the rest of us. I feel safe in this community, no worries about being judged harshly or ridiculed for being flawed. Keep it up.

  4. Nicholas says:

    James,

    Thanks for this and it inspired me to do the same for my first blog post! http://newsalesblog.com/annual-review-2013/

  5. Janet says:

    I’m also working on creating my 1st product. But I don’t have a 40k following like you. :) Mine is still under 500! Still, I think it’s about time to start. Or start somewhere!

  6. Toni says:

    James,

    Thank you very much for your inspirations. They help me on my way. The scheme of the annual review I will propose on the meeting of my group.

  7. Thanks for sharing James. I thought of this post when I was reading “Business is Beautiful” a few moments ago. There was a story in there about the dramatic turnaround of Nissan from 2000 – 2001 from records losses to record gains. One of the major contributing factors to this shift was sharing the goal of this intended turnaround outwardly and publicly. By fostering a commitment culture and sharing these goals, I believe you are setting yourself up for guaranteed success. You will still have missteps and failures along the way, but I bet my bottom dollar the deficiencies you stated above will become proficiencies. And you took the first step by sharing this post. Kudos and best of luck in 2014!

    John

  8. George DeTellis says:

    Thank You, you are the only blogging email that I have enjoyed in 2013.

  9. AP says:

    Good stuff! One year I had it down on my list to have a weekly call with all of my immediate family and close friends, and like you worried they would find it too business-like. What ended up happening was that it wasn’t always a call. Sometimes it was an email with a joke, or a text to say I was thinking of them, or a present from somewhere I traveled, or a photo that i took for them. (It was never just a Facebook like or comment though — that felt too lazy.) It was once a weekish, but since it was varied in the format, it never felt too business-like nor was it received that way. You might think about other things you could do to reach out to people than just a call.

  10. Jerry Friedman says:

    Your year end review totally pumped me and gave me perspective with an actual ” How to plan”, that so many other writer’s fail to do.

    Thank you.

    Jerry Friedman

  11. Bharat Bhushan says:

    First of all I must thank you for your wonderful work James. I am very new to the world of James Clear, but already feel that I have found a friend I never had. You inspire with your simplicity in approach and I know you are going to make a huge impact on this generation over the coming years. Your annual review is a superb idea and I shall definitely review myself this year before entering into 2014. Actually I have never reviewed myself before, so I know its gonna be an interesting task.

    Keep up the great work and have fantastic two zero one four. ;-)

    Regards,

    Bharat

  12. Gaurish Mishra says:

    It is always good to read you. I followed some of your advices and now I feel the change. I do the things which I can do better. I can focus better on my work and ignore what people talk behind me. I hope you will publish the book soon. So, thank you for the articles and all the best for the future.

  13. Joy Beer says:

    I want you to know that your writing has had a neat impact. I shared your article, “You’re Not Good Enough to be Disappointed” with my manager, as it really reached me during a hard year when I was new at my new position and really stressed out about not being “good enough” yet. Your article helped me, and she thought it was great, too. We had a terrific discussion about the whole idea. Your “process” focus is also helping me clarify how to embed quality into all my moments of life. You have shared fabulous gems, and I really appreciate your “relentless” helpfulness. So, I hope you nail your new challenges and continue to enjoy what you’ve built on. Now, to use those three questions on my own situation!

  14. A great article – I think I am going to do the same. How long did the process take?

  15. Ayomide says:

    Thanks James, for your honesty and wisdom. About scheduling your calls to friends and family, go ahead! I’ve used Google calendar to stay on top of birthdays for over 5 years now, and I’ve developed a reputation as the guy who doesn’t forget birthdays. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that people don’t care how you keep in touch as much as they care that you do. (Plus, they needn’t know how anyway. But even when they do, most appreciate that you care enough to.) I extended it this year, with todo list items like, “Call grandparents” (monthly), “Call family member” and “Call old friend” (both weekly, and whoever comes to mind) and I’m already being told I’m getting better at staying in touch. :-)

  16. Sahil says:

    James, you are really great. I read a lot of inspirational writers but you have something different don’t know what, but MAY your will to find solution.

  17. Tim Fong says:

    This is great list we’re trying to put together our family’s yearly planning and this is a very focused example. Just dropped you a note about your thread on systems — I’ve been writing about that (for myself, not publicly) lately and thinking it’s the key. That Dilbert guy catalyzed the idea, but you confirmed it!

    Yeah to more courses: I enjoyed both of your courses!

  18. Melissa T. says:

    Welcome back from your break! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year. Excellent post – as always. Acknowledging our strengths and weaknesses is so important. I have always been a systems person. When life issues turned and my life took a nose-dive, I watched my systematic processes fall apart. I was shaken. It became clear that I had to reestablish systems, let go of goals in order to look ahead, without being so overwhelmed. It was hard. But sitting around paralyzed by issues wasn’t an option. Here’s to productivity and focus for 2014.

  19. Angela says:

    Thank you for your email/post. I surely will right now take the time to think about my 2013 year. As I am focusing on 2014, doing my real estate business plan for next year, it is as important to jot down the year that just passed. This post got me to see where I was, to now where I’m headed in all areas in my life, not just business. I appreciate it and this template and 3 questions I will do. thanks again.. Keep your post coming and good luck in 2014 with reaching your goals. :)

  20. Karen R says:

    Thank you for insightful perspective. Changing to focusing on the system rather than the goal is a subtle difference that I am excited to put into action. You are an inspiration. I am now going to go work on my annual review! Looking forward to reading more from you in 2014. Your work is greatly appreciated.

  21. I’ve just tuned in, so I look forward to following in 2014 as I re create my own life! Thanks for being here!

  22. Linda G. says:

    I doubt that your friends and family will mind the scheduled calls. It means that you care enough to prioritize them onto a calendar so that you DON’T miss /postpone/procrastinate communicating with them. A very good friend of mine called her mom every Sunday evening around 6:30 – which her mom looked forward to. And friends knew not to call my friend then. It was all good.

  23. Omar S. says:

    Thanks for sharing your achievements. Yes, you have to be courageous to write publicly, but the best are the facts or the actions behind these words. Great effort.

    The concept of helping other people on a larger scale, it’s just wonderful.

    All the best for 2014!

    Saludos from Madrid. :)

  24. Kate Edgar says:

    Well done! Congratulations on your achievements. Reading your review is great inspiration for writing my own; a new experience. Glad to have found your blog – thank you!

  25. John Rogers says:

    Congratulations James on having lots of real growth in 2013. You have inspired me all year and now to do my own annual review.

  26. Luis says:

    Reading and sharing! thanks! Feliz Año!

  27. Tunji says:

    Hi James,

    Thanks for all the nuggets in 2013.

    Wishing you and the community a truly remarkable 2014.

  28. Alberto says:

    Hi James,

    This annual review is indeed a good idea, I’ll do it too.

    Regarding your concern on staying in touch with friends and family I would like to suggest you Contactually (contactually.com), I have just started using it but looks quite good, it creates automatic reminders for following up.

    Regards,
    Alberto

  29. Kristina says:

    James, thanks for the reminder to focus on the system rather than the goal. I’m a new subscriber and look forward to your sage advice over the coming year. I’ll use your questions to do my own annual review. I’m excited to get started instead of dreading the process, thanks to you!

  30. AJ says:

    Mr. Clear,

    This is gold. I want to personally thank you for writing your blog posts. The consistency and content have been inspiring and extremely helpful. I find myself citing your work and ideas in conversation and my own writing on a daily basis. I have done things I would not have otherwise done because of your writing. Thank you so much, and I will see you in the blog space with my own work very soon.

    Thank you,

    AJ

  31. Jason E. Rice says:

    James,

    While you may not have met every goal this year, you have most definitely accomplished a great deal. I have enjoyed reading, and in some ways participating in, the articles/topics you’ve shared since I signed up earlier in the year. I was able to write daily for 6 straight weeks thanks to your article on using a calendar to mark your days (and create the “chains”). I’m taking a look at the year to come and planning for my 2014 journey, instead of focusing on just the goals, again thanks to another of your recent articles.

    Keep doing what you do, man … it’s a joy to read your articles, view your photos, see your progress and connect to those experiences. Thank you for sharing it all along the way … we’re all better for it!

    Happy New Year, and looking forward to a great 2014!

    -jason

  32. Valentina says:

    I share a lot of your philosophy. I loved your Annual Review; it’s a great idea for me to follow! 2013 was my Annus Horribilis; however, I accomplished much. It’ll be very helpful to take stock and weigh the positives along with the negatives. Thanks for sharing. Much luck in accomplishing your endeavors!

    Valentina

  33. Sue says:

    Hi James,

    Thank you for your articles, I read them all and find myself often waiting in anticipation of the next one. I have found them interesting thought provoking and so much on my wave length.

    Thank you for taking the time to do them each week and being so inspiring, we can all achieve we just need to put our mind to it.

  34. Ron A says:

    Thanks for sharing the post. I am just beginning my journey as an internet entrepreneur and your posts will help me clarify my thinking.

    I am married to a wonderful wife who supports my ventures completely but life can be challenging for us because she is disabled but we are going forward together and we look forward to a great future in 2014 even if progress is painfully slow.

    I’ll be sure to read your posts and the book Transforming Your Habits as a start to a great New Year.

    Ron A

  35. I appreciate your openness and value your writing! Thanks for all the great work you do – you inspire me, keep it up!

  36. Market Girl says:

    Re: making appointments for phone calls with family. Wouldn’t you rather have someone ask you to talk with them Thursday at 7:00pm rather than never hearing from them? You may be pleasantly surprised by their reactions, especially if you approach them with the fact that you are trying to be a better communicator/brother/friend. They may even be flattered to have an appointment with you!

  37. Joan Nemeth says:

    Happy New One and All!

    James you are right on in intention and execution is as perfect as you can make it, so that’s enough! I too read all the comments as they are enlightening and encouraging!

    May 2014 be a year of extraordinary caring and the realization that we are truly one. There is more to suggest we are similar than dissimilar, so let’s take advantage of it.

    Joan Belle

  38. Dave Hewitt says:

    I hate to say it, but you might want to send out a newsletter once a week and devote the extra time to creating a marketable product.

    I started reading your column late in 2013 and am trying to catch up on some of your old newsletters. Thanks for the inspiration and great ideas.

    Have a happy New Year,

    Dave

  39. Dave says:

    “There is very little in life that is better than a good adventure. The world is meant to be experienced, not read about.”

    So true! This line sucker punched me. I need to get travelling again ASAP!

    Thanks for reminder!

  40. Richard Lane says:

    Congratulations on a break-out year with an expanding blog. Thanks for all of the posts, and this amazing self-reflection piece – very, very inspiring.

    Happy New Year … Richard

  41. Thank you! I especially love the “What I am working toward” section.

    Happy New Year to you and many blessings ahead.

    Paulette

  42. Angie Arnold says:

    James — I am so blessed that a simple Google search brought me to your blog! Your emails inspire me and I appreciate you taking the time to write them. A lot of your topics I have read elsewhere, but you have a powerful way of making these concepts so attainable. Powerful stuff! Thanks again and I look forward to your words of wisdom and motivation in 2014!

  43. Nice wrap up James! You already inspired me to focus on system/habit and not the goal. I’m working towards that although there’s some hiccups along the way about my own discipline. But that completely changed me into the better way, to be more of what I’m able push my effort to it, leverage the limitation and boundary. I hope you will be doing great in 2014 and the years to come. Thank you for inspiration and great alignment you’ve set up as a foundation for all of us. Cheers!

  44. Hi James … Allow me to thank you for inspiring me to get back to writing. I have written to you earlier. I take pride in saying that I have returned to the habit of writing after a long time and all credit goes to you. Not only did I create a blog for myself, I managed to write my 10th post in the year last night. I eagerly await your blogs in the week. Thanks once again.

  45. Angela says:

    Thank you for an amazing year of articles James! You have not only inspired me to design the kind of life I want, but helped enormously with the practical “how to” which has enabled me to take a number of huge and small steps toward achieving my goals!

    About the scheduling calls with family and friends who are not near, I had the same problem as you. But I’ve done it and I can tell you that it works! Especially if on the calendar invite you call it a “Skype Date” or “Online Meet Up” or “Online Hangout with X” or some such euphemism that makes it sound way less formal and business-y. Usually the people who are close to you won’t mind – the worst that has happened to me is mild teasing for being so geeky, which is totally offset by the increased closeness and connectivity with my loved ones. Let me know if you try it and how it goes?

  46. Divya Katara says:

    Hi James,

    I joined your site recently and have been enjoying reading to your articles! Just a question if you can answer with regards to annual review. Some things happen which you cannot help or control but they land up disturbing almost every aspect of your life. There is nothing you can do about it but just wait until the clouds pass by. What to do in such situation? Where will you classify this in the review?

    • James Clear says:

      Great question, Divya. The annual review focuses on things you can control (or at least influence). There will always be circumstances you can’t predict (some good, some bad), but I think it’s better to direct your energy and effort toward the things you can control and release the worry about everything else.

    • Todd says:

      “What went well …” might also include those events and circumstances you were able to navigate or overcome.

  47. Stuart says:

    Thank you James for your leadership. Through your knowing, doing and sharing I have learned so much.

    Again, thank you for your on-going commitment. Looking forward to an awesome 2014!

  48. Steve Giles says:

    Great email James. Thanks for your time and continued inspiration. Let’s go smash 2014!

  49. Jim Whiting says:

    Really enjoy your posts and find them very useful. Sharing your personal growth and failures keeps it real for all of us. 40,000+ !!!

  50. Sam Cornell says:

    James,

    I always enjoy reading your posts and always gain something from them, whether it’s a little nugget of wisdom, or something that inspires me to do something.

    I look forward to your work in 2014.

    In 2014 I will be starting a blog on a passion of my own: Helping skinny guy’s attain great physiques and optimum health!

  51. Rhonda Page says:

    Hi James,

    I came across your website a few months ago, and have really enjoyed each article I’ve read since signing up for your weekly newsletter. I am using your article about the process vs. goals as a template for creating my “2014 Plans”. The thoughts you expressed in that particular article resonated with me. I also like your template for the Annual Review, and I think I might do the same. This is a bit random – but have you ever tried/heard of CrossFit? I just have a feeling it would be something you would enjoy with your weight lifting background. I have been participating in and coaching CrossFit for almost 2 years now, and it’s helped me grow and improve in many areas of my life other than physical fitness.

    I look forward to more articles in 2014, and hearing about your weight lifting progress!

  52. Katherine says:

    James, what do you do when people call you lazy? Today I got extremely upset when someone said “lazy kat” as if that is synonymous to who I am, as if all of my efforts and hard work just are completely disregarded. How do you respond to this?

  53. Yohann says:

    James, thank you for sharing.

    Question: you’ve shared your overall driving themes but do you also make a list of specific and measurable goals to achieve?

    Or do you prescribe more to what you said in your post that “the system is more important than the goal”?

    I’m torn between themes and goals; whether the absence of clear goals will hinder my progress for the year ahead. Thanking you and anyone’s else here in advance.

    Good year ahead everyone!

  54. You are great, James!

    Thank you for all the hard work and dedication! Everything you want to achieve is just a matter of some patience and hard work- and you are already doing it! :)

    Everything comes just on time, even when it feels as if it is late!

    Have an even better year!

    Ines

  55. Leslie says:

    The process is what struck me the most. I’m not consistent in my physical activity but I set goals reach them then then chill until I get the next urge. I believe the process will keep me going. Thanks for your vulnerability.

  56. Anand Jain says:

    James,

    I’m a trainee journalist, and we produce a newspaper every week. It’s hard for me to find a new story every week; I run short of creativity and ideas.

    How do you find a topic to write about every single week? You send e-mails on Monday, by when is your idea ready with you? I’m sure there must be times when you were blank on what to write about this week, how did you deal with it?

    In short, I want to know how you constantly come up with ideas twice a week.

  57. Todd says:

    I like the approach you took with this. Thank you for providing some New Year inspiration!

  58. Meg says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for your posts. I’m a new reader and have really enjoyed and been inspired by them.

    Looking forward to your thoughts, musings and updates in 2014.

    -meg

  59. Mems says:

    What a New Year gift! I found you today thru listening to Trisha Blackwell’s podcast and have spent all day looking at your website and reading your inspiring work. I can’t wait to tell all my friends and family about you as I’m sure they will be as grateful as I am. You are an absolute inspiration James and a very special person to give freely of yourself. I can’t wait to receive my first newsletter. Very best wishes for 2014 and many thanks.

  60. Steve says:

    James, I love the concept of your annual review. Looking back combined with looking forward. I look forward to your articles every week, and they have been very helpful. Your annual review is another gift. Thank you, and blessing for the new year.

  61. Great post James, I’m very inspired by your work and how you opened up. So much so that I took your formula and used it for the first post on my own website. Best of luck with all your gains in 2014 and yes, we focus on the process! Thank you!

  62. Cassandra Brown says:

    Hi James – I have only been following you for a few months, and have found your postings inspiring, down to earth and very human, you share things at such a friendship level that your ideas are really accessible – thank you! Thank you, likewise for sharing your annual review and also your thoughts on ‘earning the right to quit’ and ‘the process more than the goal’ these have really engendered a shift in my own thinking which I am going to make good use of in 2014.

    On a personal note, I wanted to reply that your concern about ‘scheduling time to talk to your family and friends’ is not too business-like. It is instead a really posiitive personal commitment to protect time for those relationships. One of my biggest reflections of this year, is that I achieve more if I have protected time in my diary – I am a natrually very spontaneous person and hate stricture and regimes, but I view my diary as my aide and secret weapon, items booked in are protected time, which can, of course, still be flexed if ultimately necessary, my diary is a compass, roadmap, declaration of intent and direction – this is how I will use it in 2014, it is my shield to keep the arrows of timewasting and other people’s chaff from hijacking my priorities – especially if that means time to share even a few minutes on the phone with those important to me – so I think your thoughts are right on track.

    All the best for 2014 and thank you for your great ideas which I am looking forward to putting into full effect this great new year :-)

    Cheers, Cass

  63. Yimy says:

    James, Happy New Year to you and to all your readers! I just started following your work and so far I enjoy it very much. Thank you for writing and sharing this post. I’m also into writing and photography, therefore I can relate to what you do. My word for 2014 is INITIATIVE! I need to take more initiative in order to accomplish my goals for this year. Some of my goals are: Loose 10 pounds (175lbs goal), continue paying off debts, read at least 25 books this year, set up my home photography/art studio in my garage, and make at least $15,000 more than last year.

    Based on this post, I was able to analyze myself and some of the things I need to work on are: become an early bird to get more done, like exercise in the morning, have a balanced breakfast and read. BTW, I like the idea of building processes because it’s less stressful and you focus on getting things done at the moment rather than stressing over the end result. I also need to focus on writing, taking pictures, and painting more. Hopefully, I get to finish my home studio soon so I can take my passions to the next level.

    Again, thank you for sharing this and Have a wonderful and successful 2014. I’m not sure if you’ll have the time, but if you’d like to check out some of the things that I’m doing, check out my website at http://www.yimy.com. Thanks again and I look forward to continuing to get more familiar with your work.

    • James Clear says:

      Welcome to the community, Yimy! It’s great to have you reading and I’ll do my best to keep useful ideas coming your way. Good luck with your goals!

  64. Renee Barry says:

    James I appreciated your Annual Review. I used yours as a template and created my own on my blog. Check it out! I look forward to continuing to read all your updates this year.

    Thanks again.

    • James Clear says:

      Great job, Renee! I’m glad you found the Annual Review useful and I’ll do my best to keep sending great ideas your way. Thanks for reading!

  65. JP says:

    James,

    You mentioned you are working toward Service and teamwork. Believe me, you have already achieved a lot. 2013 was a rough year for me — I went thru depression, still am on medication — and struggled for months to find a way out of it. I tried lots of websites, articles, books, and nothing was working, I wasn’t seeing any progress, if anything, I was seeing regress. Thanks to your articles, I was able to stick to habits and develop a process that is helping me a lot and, on my MDs words, “the worst is behind us.” I am not sure where I would be without your articles, probably still trying quick fixes and failing to see any progress. You are truly a Godsend.

    God bless you and keep the good writing.

  66. Olga Pritula says:

    Thank You!

    I can’t say that i am already where you are, but I am heading that way!

    Photography, exercise, writing! Setting Goals, reading your updates, and loving life!

    Have fun storming the castles of life! ^-)

  67. Samantha says:

    Thanks James, appreciate all of your insights. They are a pleasure to read and are an inspiration. Looking forward to what life has in store for us this year. :)

  68. Thank you for all your hard work James. I have found lots of your advice helpful both for myself and to share with others. I am also totally going to steal your annual review format!

  69. It takes humility to be a student of life, and you definitely are humble about your accomplishment. You have shared so much with everyone. Life’s lessons are to be shared and not kept to one’s self. For if we do not share, the purpose of learning is diminished. We need others to grow and others benefit from our growth. Each one of us is a catalyst with those we interact with, as we permeate each and everyone’s life with lessons learned that eventually reflects our actions. We now see things differently from our experiencing the process be it bad or good.
    Kudos to you my friend!

  70. Anita Lo Iacono says:

    You say you’re not an expert… but that’s your strong point. The expert’s are (boringly, I might add) full of theories but you’re one of us. Just a regular person trying new things and that’s one of the reasons I read and enjoy your writing.

  71. Mohammed Adnan says:

    Hi James. Thanks for sharing such wonderful thoughts with us and the best thing about your newsletter is that you write after experiencing personally and are very encouraging.

    I will definitely read all your newsletters and try to learn all your messages.

  72. Carolyn Coffin says:

    Hi James, this isn’t the first time you’ve inspired me to write a similar blog to yours. Here it is: http://www.livingprimal.ca/3/post/2014/01/carolyns-2013-annual-review.html

    Thanks for the quality work that you do!
    Carolyn

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