2015 #AnnualReview Part 2: The Goals

I wrote yesterday about what went well this year, and what didn’t go so well. That was the first part of this Annual Review process to review 2015 and start thinking about how I want 2016 to go. This post is about the specific and measurable Annual Review goals that I’ve set for 2016.

Last year, I started this process but I didn’t follow through with setting all my goals and specifying the actions needed for each goal. I also didn’t go back to my goals each month or quarter to check my progress or update what actions needed to be taken to work towards the goals. This year, I’ve filled out the spreadsheet template so that I can keep updating it each month and use it to stay on track for meeting my goals. I think it’s a good idea to come back to goals periodically, or else the only thing you’ve actually done was set the goals and not take any action towards them. The chances of actually achieving them will be quite low without reassessment and action.

The goals

I’ve broken down my goals into several categories:

Travel and culture

  • Explore London (2+ excursions each month)
  • Trips in Europe (2+ trips during the year)
  • Cultural and musical events (3+ events during the year)


  • Read 6 books (3 fiction, 3 non-fiction)
  • Language study (Chinese, Spanish)
  • Attend the World Domination Summit (ticket for side events)

Health and social

  • Cook new recipes (1 per week)
  • Finish creative projects (2 per quarter)
  • Meetup events (1+ per month average per quarter)


  • Close out chapters quicker (PhD, finish 2 more by end of 2nd quarter)

Family and friends

  • Get friends and family to visit London (parents during the summer)


  • Save enough money to go on trips (~500 GBP)


I wish I could have more goals in the Financial category. With my student stipend and the cost of living in London, it is really hard to save much money. With everything, I just about broke even the past few months and maybe saved a little bit of money over the entire year. This is with a little help from my parents paying for flights home.

I plan on doing some short trips during 2016, and some of those may have to be ultimate tournaments. I didn’t spend very much on playing ultimate in 2015, but since I plan on joining a club team and maybe a Great Britain (GB) team if I make the cut, I’ll have to budget quite a bit more money for ultimate. At least the Worlds tournament will be in the UK and quite near London, so if I get to represent GB there it shouldn’t cost too much. Since ultimate is important to me, I don’t include this as a goal but as a line in my budget. Any trips on top of that would be something to work towards.

On a related note, something I regret about 2015 was not exploring more of London. I don’t usually get travel guides, but I dished out 10 GBP when I first got to London and haven’t put that book to good use. My approach for this will probably be to pick a neighborhood, walk around checking out shops and maybe working from a cafe for a few hours.

In my work life, I want to be more efficient. I had one chapter that was truly dragging for the last year or so, and it took some mental effort to get through it and get it to a decent state. I don’t want to have that kind of struggle again with the next chapters, especially because this thing needs to get done! Something that has helped me with perspective and focus has been to analogize how I approach ultimate to my research.

Overall, I hope that my determination to keep to these goals will be sustainable this year! Have you set your Annual Review goals for 2016?

Photo: Jakub Sejkora