The Year End Review

Do a Regular Year-End Review

This post is from a journal entry written at the beginning of 2014. I'm posting it here in anticipation of doing another "End of the Year" review for 2015. Instead of waiting for the new year to start I want to get a jump on things and complete the next one before 2016 begins. By looking back over the past year I'll put things in perspective. My goal is to increase my personal creative productivity. More to come on 2015 later, but this is a look back at 2014.

There are lots of suggestions on how to start the New Year. Every year you hear about all the resolutions people are making. You hear people talk about new healthier, smarter, safer, wiser choices. People are trying to build new habits with the beginning of another calendar year. Plans to lose weight, read through the Bible, etc. etc. and on and on.

Many people plan to be kinder. More assertive. More forgiving. Less argumentative. Some people plan to pray more. Do devotions with more regularity. Get more exercise. Eat healthier meals. Save more money, spend less, earn more ... by now you get the drift.

After trying to do many of these things year after year, I decided on only a few things. Again for the second year in a row I’ve implemented the Be Awesome Check Board. This is an idea based on the Jerry Seinfeld "Don't Break the Chain" practice of writing a new joke everyday using a chart from The Writer's Store.

I expanded on that to try and move forward in several areas. In this I choose a limited number of things that I am working on and post a 365 day calendar with a box to check off for every day I’ve completed something toward one of my major goal. I did this last year and it really helped me focus on those things and make some progress in them every day. My method was to use several of these check off calendars to mark each day I made at least some progress in a given area.

The trouble was that after about a third of the year I began to fail, and to get tired of doing all of the things that I had said that I wanted to do. I did do much better and was much more focused than I normally would have been for that period of time. At the end of the year I had moved forward in each of the areas I was attempting to concentrate on.

Drawing and Photography was one area, and until I started to forget the tracking part of it had added about 138 separate acts of concentrated progress. My drawing improved substantially as did my photography as well. So, all in all this was a good effort.

I did the same thing with my writing, and journaling. In the beginning I fully intended to write 1000 words a day, and I still think this is a worthy goal. I actually recorded writing on approx. 175 days, but not on every day of the year as had been my goal. 

My output was probably closer to 1500 words a week rather than 1000 a day for the whole year. But, I did in fact manage to pump out the first draft of a new novel with about 50,000 words total during the month of November. Even though that was not entirely according to plan, the check off sheet did help with reaching some part of my goals.

I must admit, that this was also the 2nd year that started off with great difficulty in having the death of another close family member to contend with, and all the other distractions and emotional ups and downs that come with that. Hopefully this year will be better.

Keeping the check list for drumming also helped remind me to practice. Here I tracked approximately 175 days. There were probably more days than this that I failed to chart, but it did help me maintain some level of focus.

Exercise, was the same thing with about 164 days of tracked exercise. Only about half of what I had hoped for, but still better than if I hadn’t tracked it, I’m sure.

Another area I attempted to track was Recording, or the study of recording. This was probably the least effective area, not that I’m not into it, it is just that, I think it requires so much set up, and things have been somewhat unstable with having to move things around and again dealing the loss and death of a close family member, and figuring out what to do with all of the left over things, all this has made this a more difficult area to stay consistent in.

Blogging and Social media was originally intended just as blogging something every day, but has over the year become simply adding something to social media.  I have not been adding blog entries consistently, but I have been networking and interacting with people a lot, also reading online a lot as well.

In the end of the year I was strong in moving forward in many areas, more consistently at first and then not so much through the rest of the year.

So now we come to the beginning of another year, and I’m setting up some fresh calendar counting charts and getting ready to post those up once again for the New Year. I’m thinking of setting up fewer and a little more broadly defined areas going forward.