A vast majority of people will have already failed their New Year’s resolutions by mid-January and have fallen back into those same habits that they wanted to change. I refused to make any this year as I know they are destined to fail and are just a ‘cute’ idea that people like to chat about over a drink at a New Year’s Party…

This year I blocked out time in my calendar in the first week of January to really do a proper review of 2016. With Brexit, Trump and all the other crazy things that went on, this was a year many people weren’t hugely upset to see the back of.

I looked into a number of different ways people do annual reviews and found some great strategies.

The 80/20 Review

The Pareto Principle (AKA 80/20 rule) states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This is a really fascinating law and you can see it play out across nature in many ways, for example, approximately 80% of peas come from 20% of the pea pods.

This review involves looking at the 20% of your efforts that drove 80% of your positive results and the 20% of your actions that drove 80% of the negative results. For me, both on the personal and positive front, these were things like travelling overseas with my girlfriend, having deep conversations with friends, short weekends away, getting up early to exercise and taking the time to chill out and read a book.

On the work front, these were things like strategic planning sessions, training workshops, our team weekend away, mentoring and working with consultants on new innovations and ‘on’ the business work.

The negatives weren’t surprising, time wasted on social media, too much alcohol and not being disciplined enough with my exercise and morning routine.

This review has allowed me to get clear idea of where I will ensure my focus is directed in 2017, and to avoid the trap of falling back into the usual pattern of being ‘busy being busy’.

Calendar Review

Another powerful part of my 2016 review was to look at each and every day of my calendar starting in January and seeing where I spent my time. This only took about 45 minutes to move through and I was astounded when I finished this exercise and realised how much of my time had been wasted on relatively low output producing activities.

In particular, I found that there was such a tiny amount of my calendar set aside for things that I get massive fulfilment from like mentoring, and public speaking to groups such as school kids and business networks about my experiences.

5 Minute Journal

As part of my week of ‘Life Hacking’ I realised that I would need to get organised and be really disciplined to not fall back into the same habits of getting too busy to be able to do what is most important to me. I asked around and many people that I really look up to said that journaling is one of the key tools they use to improve their performance and wellbeing.

“But I don’t have TIME to journal!” is what my first thought was… So, I was told about ‘The 5 Minute Journal’ which is just a few simple questions that you answer in the morning and then again at night before you go to bed. I didn’t feel the need to buy the fancy journal you can get from this link here.

Instead I’m just using a journal that I already had to answer these questions every day;

(Fill out in morning)

3 Things I am grateful for:

3 Things that would make today great:

Daily affirmation:

(Fill out in evening)

Three amazing things that happened today:

How could I have made today better?

At the time of writing this it’s only the 30th of January but I reckon the time that I’ve spent reviewing and reflecting on 2016 has been ten times more powerful than just pulling a bunch of random goals out of thin air like we’ve all done in the past.