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My 2020 goals and how I set them

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

In this post I’ll share a bit about my reflection approach, how I used it and what it brought me looking ahead to 2020.

As you might have read I was quite satisfied reflecting on my 2019 goals. But even before I published that article, de.foundation’s Charles shared a list of life areas he tends to use for his yearly reflections. After some research, I unveiled that list to be part of a whole method, developed by Alex Vermeer and before I knew it I was totally caught up in mind mapping 15 life areas.

Broadened reflection through life areas

In 2019 I had chosen three themes and added more concrete quarterly, monthly or weekly goals and actions. It worked for me, but reflecting and building upon it was a bit hard.

The cover image of Vermeer's 8760 hours

In came Alex Vermeer with his ‘8760 Hours’. He calls it a method to plan your next year. Guess how much hours go into a year…

Exactly. 🤷‍♂️

I immediately liked Charles’s suggestion of reflecting on the life areas that are included in the 8760 Hours method. That is why I read the whole book (you can find a link below) and started following the reflection part.

In short, these are the steps Vermeer follows:

  1. Do a general review of last year;
  2. Do an in-depth review of last year, by creating a mind map per life area;
  3. Set general goals for the next year;
  4. Plan your goals throughout the next year.

Life areas

These are a list of themes to regularly review. Per theme Vermeer has added questions to ask oneself. There is a career & work life area, with questions like:

  • Is what you do your calling?
  • Are you engaged?
  • Have you optimized your job?

Like Vermeer suggests I created mind maps per life area, which looks like this:

Bram's mind map of his Career & Work life area, main points: front-end, design, team player, stress and 'people come to me'

I went a bit further than this, but don’t want to over share. Drop me a message (see bottom of this page) if you want to know more.

Don’t plan too much, let it happen

I think setting goals every year works great. It creates a finishing line to strive for. To me though there are way too many factors that will mess with my planning. Planning a project is nice, but I like to let my life happen.

In the end the only thing that really stuck with me were the life areas and how to use them to broaden reflecting on my own life. Be sure to take a look at his 8760 hours. Who knows the whole planning part does suit you.

I want to be more conscious of my life.

That’s what the life areas helped me with. Applying those 12-15 themes on your life and specifically last year is such a simple way to get a broad perspective. It pulled my head out of my comfort zone and made me look at all (or most) aspects of life. Let me give you a few examples.

Zooming in on areas results in a bigger picture

It took me at least a day to work through all the life areas. But it took me places I would’ve gone. Like taking a look at my social life & relationships, my values & purpose or simply what I though was good fun!

On my own I would’ve mainly focussed on the parts I’m unsatisfied with and think I should improve upon, like work, reading, running, etc.

A bad experience can be good

I had felt bad about a few experiences. But in hindsight I concluded I was happy to have gone through some conflicts and to realize I did not pay much attention to some people. I was proud of how I handled a specific conflict and happy to approach those people I might have neglected last year and ask them how they felt about it.

Everything matters

It made me see the good and neutral things as much as the bad. While I mostly tend to focus on the bad and what I think needs improvement.

For example, at the end of the year I felt tired and done with work because of one project. Looking at themes like ‘Career & work’ and ‘Knowledge & education’ I realized I’m quite proud of how much I achieved, learned and put into practice.

Okay, enough talk. I’ll show you the money!

2020 themes

Because of my broadened reflection, I I’ve set quite a diverse range of themes and goals. And there are more than I had in 2019.

I forced myself to come up with a holy 2020 trinity:

A drawing of a purple yin-yang-ish circle labeld Heart & Mind, a blue triangle labeled Focus and a green rectangle labeled Body.
  1. Heart & mind
  2. Focus
  3. Body

But I’d say this is more of a holy life trinity to me, than only for 2020. It might actually be quite a discovery. But I think my 2020 themes, extracted from my 2019 reflection, will tell you a bit more about my upcoming year.

  1. Look ahead
  2. Focus & action
  3. Work
  4. My mind
  5. Healthy running
  6. Social life & relationships
  7. Diet

You want examples? Read on.

2020 goals

Written notes of my themes and goals. You can read them below.

1. Look ahead

I will build my home, dabble my feet in investing small amounts of my money in green & tech and I will create a 10+ year vision for what I want to achieve in my working career.

2. Focus & action

I will reduce clutter, delay less and take quicker action. I will explore ways to find deep work and try and find more value in the jobs I take on.

3. Work

I will spread my ideas, share my experience, pay more attention to design, take more freedom in when and where I work and will find an office space for myself.

4. My mind

I will meditate, find guides and experiment.

5. Healthy running

I will build from my feet up, get ripped and run my first ultra marathon.

6. Social life & relationships

I will invest in my inner circle, explore my relationships to new people and … some personal stuff [feel free to ask 😉].

7. Diet

I will develop a healthier diet, become a vegetarian and try plant based recipes.

Okay, there is some planning

I created a rough timeline and plotted my themes and goals on it. Besides that I added those goals to my todo app Things and roughly planned them per quarter. It will prompt me at the end of every quarter to evaluate them.

A matrix of time on the y-axis versus themes on the x-axis, with my goals plotted on them.

So that’s it! At last (it’s February already…) I finished this post and gave you insight into my approach of the next year. I’m happy with what I learned and I’m curious where I’ll stand next winter. I’ll be happy to share it with you!

What do you think about these yearly goals? I’m curious. Do let me know! Look at the bottom of the page to see how you can most easily reach me.

Cheers! Bram

One more thing

At the start of the year a random longing to draw a wolf popped up and I immediately decided to make it a weekly habit. To improve my drawing skills and to explore my fascination with wolves and wolfy dogs. 🐺

I’m planning to create a space on this website to show all of them off. So stay tuned!

Here’s a cute wolf pup to start with. Okbye!

A drawing I made of a super cute, big eyed wolf pup hiding in the bushes.

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