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 annual review allows me to really hone in on 1-2 things I want to achieve in a given year. Most importantly, this process helps me think through tradeoffs: what am I willing to give up this year in order to achieve my top goal?
In 2015, my main goal was to start a business that would make me financially independent. *Every other* goal that was not financial independence was not a priority. Sure I wanted to become more of a beefcake, but that was just not as important as launching a business. On days where I had to work but hadn’t hit the gym yet, my top goal made it simple to figure out what to do.
2021 was a great year. In many ways, I feel like I’m starting to see the benefits of compounding in multiple areas of my life. I have many high-trust, strong relationships with colleagues and friends, things I started years ago (investing, buying, starting businesses), are paying off, and years of eating clean and focusing on my health are paying dividends.
My investment in my relationship with my fiancee has also been paying off and has been a bright spot in 2021. We’ve even begun to take steps towards a lifelong goal of building a community of friends that all live near one another, and have 6 friends now living within a few blocks of our home in Austin. I’m really, really stoked to see how this communal-living experiment evolves, especially as kids begin to enter the picture over the next few years.
I also learned to ski and play pickleball in 2021, took steps to get a bunch of my time back – like hiring an assistant and saying no to projects that didn’t align with my top priorities – and am likely in the best shape of my life.
On the downside, we had some crazy business swings at Kettle & Fire, I lost a friend, and had a few weeks where my fiancee and I got stuck in a bad conflict cycle we struggled to get out of.
Each year I set specific goals in 4 areas (based partially on Naval’s tweet that’s always resonated with me):
- Fit body
- Calm mind
- House full of love
- Business / financial
For each of these categories, I set goals (for a full review of my 2020 goals, check out my post from last year). Overall, I did pretty well!
- ✅ Lift 3x/week, 300+ workouts
- ✅ Stretch / ROMWOD 300 days of the year
- ❌ Do 3 fasts of at least 3 days (only got 2 done)
- ✅ Complete a Whole30
- ✅ Learn a new sport (skiing, pickleball)
- ❌Find a meditation practice I enjoy, do it 300x
- I didn’t do so well here and am still struggling to find a meditation practice I enjoy and look forward to. I did, however, LOVE discovering Michael Singer and The Surrender Experiment, and had some really powerful breathwork experiences through the Othership.
- ✅ Do 2 psychedelic journeys (I recommend Mindbloom)
- ✅ Set and stick to boundaries around how I use email / Twitter each week
- I got a ton off my plate, got better at saying no to things, and set rules around how often I’d use Twitter and check email.
House full of love:
- ✅ See family 4x in 2021
- ✅ Make strides towards building and living near and in community
- ✅ Improve my relationship with my fiancee
- ✅ Make hosting a regular thing and pull together more group hangouts
- ✅ Work on being better at managing my commitments and not changing my schedule as much
Business / financial:
- ✅ I don’t share as much here, but I will say that 2021 was a great year financially and business-wise. Maybe I’ll share more about my specific investments and income at some point in the future if readers are interested.
I’m hopeful that 2022 is as good as 2021. Going into this year, I have a few high-level goals (that I’m still fleshing out):
- Plan a wedding – this is (obviously) a big one. My fiancee was born + raised in South Africa, so planning a wedding during COVID times has been a bit challenging. Hopefully, we’ll be able to plan the wedding this year and officially tie the knot at some point in the next 18 months. We’ll see!
- Continue growing the businesses – things are tracking well for Kettle & Fire, Surely, Fomo, and Perfect Keto. Specifically, I want to:
- Grow Surely 200% this year and probably raise a Series A.
- Grow Kettle & Fire 25%
- Grow Perfect Keto 25%
- Start something new – I literally have no details here, just know that at some point this year I’d like to begin working on something new. There are a lot of problems in the world and I’m convinced that entrepreneurship is one of the best ways to try and solve some of those problems, so may as well get to work!
- Investing – I’ve been angel investing since 2018 and have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it’s an amazing way to stay tapped into the new and interesting stuff happening in the startup world. And, if you do it right, returns can be life-changing.
On the other hand, it can also require a tremendous amount of time and energy. I think I’d like to get more active here, either by starting to syndicate some deals of my own (which you can join here if you want to look at stuff I invest in), starting a rolling fund, or working more closely with an existing fund. That said, I really have some thinking to do on whether or not this is something I should focus on.
Smaller goals for 2022 are:
- Hire another assistant specifically to manage my inbox and schedule regular salon dinners (both virtual and in-person) to meet interesting people and discuss meaty topics.
- Grow my newsletter to 10k readers and find a new angle (outside of starting DTC brands) that I’m fired up to write about.
- Tweet more often, mostly as a way to practice sharing my opinions. Something in me is still really scared of sharing my thoughts online, and I wonder if tweeting more could be a good way to practice finding my voice.
- Systemize and run another cohort of Inflection Grants.
- Schedule my first extended meditation retreat, likely with IMS.
- Pull together a “friends of Justin” mini-conference… maybe around my birthday?
As I move into the new year, there are also some major questions I’m reflecting on.
Questions for 2022:
- What do I do with my money? How do I manage and use it to make my life maximally fun and interesting?
- What do I do with my life and career?
- What organizations or people do I want to support and take a bet on?
- How can I improve my relationship with my partner?
- How do we do an even better job of living in community?
Those are some high-level areas I’m thinking about for the upcoming year. Hopefully the above is helpful as you think about what the next 12 months have in store for you – now let’s get it!
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