2020 Annual Review and 2021 Goals

It’s become somewhat fashionable lately to poo poo goals, say they’re stupid.

Well, I think that’s stupid. When done right, goals are tools to make decisions and narrow down options. Today, most of my friends suffer from too many options, not too few. And for most of them, all those options are paralyzing.

I’ve been doing an annual review exercise every year since 2012 and found it tremendously helpful (I use a modified version of this one). Going through my goal-setting exercise allows me to really hone in on the 1-2 major things I want to achieve in a given year. Most importantly, it helps me think through tradeoffs.

In 2015, my main goal that year was to start a business that would make me financially independent. Every. Other. Goal that was not this goal was less of a priority. Sure I wanted to get stronger that year, but that goal was secondary to my main goal of launching a business. On days where I had to work but hadn’t hit the gym yet, my high-level goal made it simple to figure out what to do.

2020 review

Though challenging in many ways, 2020 was a surprisingly productive and fun year for me. I’ve often been known to pack my schedule (and life) quite full, so a year of no travel, no meetings and a lot less going on meant that I suddenly had a lot more time on my hands.

It meant I could pick up some hobbies for practically the first time in my life (biking and cooking were the 2 big ones), experimented with communal living over the summer, launched a non-profit (well, technically two of them), got engaged (!!), and my businesses did well.

Each year I set specific goals in 4 areas (based partially on Naval’s tweet that’s always resonated with me):

  1. Fit body
  2. Calm mind
  3. House full of love
  4. Business

Under those high-level categories, I add a few specific goals for each. In 2020, this looked like:

  1. Fit body
    1. Lift weights at least 3x/ week
    2. Stretch and/or do a ROMWOD session 300 days of the year
    3. Fast 2x/month, 3 days 1x / quarter
    4. Learn to swim well enough to swim the length of Barton Springs (in Austin)

After a year of getting a personal coach (thanks to Central Athlete, which I highly recommend) I’m easily the strongest I’ve ever been. I also barely hit my “stretch” goal (heh) and did 301 sessions in 2020.

I did manage to do two separate 3 day fasts, but after the pandemic started fasting (and learning to swim) just totally fell off my priority list. I instead got into biking and cooking!

  1. Calm mind
    1. Meditate 300 days
    2. Read 2 books on meditation
    3. Go on 1 meditation trip
    4. Do 2 therapeutic psychedelic trips
    5. Find a meditation or spiritual coach to deepen my practice

This was probably the hardest area for me in 2020. I didn’t go on a meditation retreat, find a coach or do 2 therapeutic trips (only managed 1). I also only meditated 250 days instead of 300.

My approach is going to change here for 2021. Rather than try to force myself to meditate, I’m going to experiment with a bunch of different kinds of meditation to find one that resonates with me and is something I look forward to. Otherwise, I suspect this will be a struggle for another year, and I’m not a big fan of struggle.

  1. House full of love
    1. Be mindful of defensiveness in my relationship and poor communication habits – work on as main areas (with partners and close friends)
    2. Call family and 3 friends each week in 2020
    3. Host monthly second degree dinners

This was probably the area I’m most thrilled about. Yes I failed to host monthly dinners, but instead spent 5 months living with 15+ friends in beautiful mountain towns all over the country, and doing 10+ person dinners every night. I’ll take it.

I also made major strides in my communication habits and defensiveness, which culminated in proposing to my girlfriend in December. Yay!

I also found it was an easy year to stay in touch via phone. With everyone’s social lives ramping down, people had a lot more time for phone chats and longer catch-ups, which were fun.

  1. Business
    1. Get Kettle & Fire to $Xmm in revenue
    2. Get Perfect Keto to $Xmm in revenue

Though really up and down, both my main businesses did well in 2020. Overall I’m grateful that we weren’t wiped out during the pandemic and actually managed to grow!

2021 goals

2021 is shaping up to be another good year. My high-level goal this year is to “graduate”: to take what I’ve spent the last few years doing to the next level. This applies to my relationship (getting engaged), businesses (continuing to scale them and take some swings at new innovations), the newsletter, and taking some things off my plate that made sense years ago but no longer do.

Specifically, my goals for 2021 include:

  1. Fit body
    1. Stick to lifts 3x/week, 300+ workouts
    2. Stretch / ROMWOD 300 days of the year
    3. Do 3 fasts of at least 3 days
    4. Complete a Whole30
    5. Learn a new sport
  2. Calm mind
    1. Find a meditation practice I enjoy, do it 300x
    2. Re-read Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha
    3. Do 2 psychedelic journeys
    4. Set and stick to boundaries around how I use email / Twitter each week. Really focus on calming down my inbox, my schedule and the amount of stuff I use so I can be generative
  3. House full of love
    1. See family 4x in 2021
    2. Start a regular weekly event that I host, and make hosting a regular part of my life
    3. Work on being better at managing my commitments and not changing my schedule as much.
    4. Schedule a weekend trip with 4 smart, thoughtful friends to hang and jam on ideas.
  4. Business
    1. [redacted]
    2. Get 5000 newsletter subscribers
    3. Learn something! I’m planning to pull together a self-study course with a few friends. Either to level up my persuasion skills, or something in the neurotech world.

This year, I’m also writing down some stretch goals. Ones that I won’t get upset if I don’t hit, but at the same time would like to reflect on monthly as I do my monthly reviews. These are:

  1. Go on 2 hunting, fishing trips
  2. Draft a short book like Let My People Go Surfing with my outlook on the food system, how it’s messed up, and how consumers can fix it
  3. Start a men’s group that meets monthly (at least)
  4. Send 150 tweets and grow twitter audience to 35k people
  5. Launch 1 new content platform (podcast, YouTube, or the like) that fits my strengths
  6. Do another summer of co-living
  7. Kick off a politically active organization or play. I have a lot of ideas here but need to better flesh them out.
  8. Take a self-study class (publicly) on becoming a better conversationalist.

And that’s it! If I get even 70% of the above done, 2021 should be a great year.

I’d love to hear how readers are thinking about their 2021. What’re your goals, and how can I help?

Cheers to the new year!

18
  • love it man. giving me great ideas for my own plan!
    still a WIP, but I will share 🙂

  • Augusto

    Nice goals! Could you develop this idea of starting a men’s group?

  • julinfeliperuiz

    Simple and powerful. Thanks for make it public.