* Jedd Thoughts, * Life Updates, challenges, Intentional Living

2016 Annual Review Part 1: How Well Did The Year of Productivity Go?

For the last three years, Michelle and I have done a practice called an Annual Review. It’s an opportunity to intentionally reflect on the past year and think of the things that went well, things that didn’t go so well, and to take all that information and start planning for the upcoming year and beyond. We highly recommend this activity as an individual, as a couple, and even as a family. Don’t know how to start one? Check out this awesome free workbook from our friends at Live Your Legend and example posts from the Art of Non-Conformity

At the beginning of this year I made a pronouncement to make this the “year of productivity”. I even wrote a post explaining my plan here.

I was going to:

  • Learn Spanish (mind)
  • Get ripped and in-shape (body)
  • Grow in my faith (spirit)

How did I do? Well…

I never learned Spanish this year. I did practice some months and I even got better. However, I didn’t achieve any goals I set out for myself and that’s a bummer. Unlike other things that have become part of my daily routine and lifestyle (i.e. exercising, reading, flossing…) I haven’t figured out the best way to motivate myself to practice Spanish everyday. This is something I’ll keep working on for 2017.

I didn’t get ripped – no six pack. I would say I’m healthier and in shape, and that’s definitely something to celebrate. This year we learned how to eat healthier by doing Whole 30 and have incorporated it as part of our regular lifestyle. We still exercise 6 days a week and I was able to do a half-marathon without training too much for it. And for the first time, I was able to do Ab Ripper X (from P90x) all the way through (work out video). As for the chiseled abs and incredible toned body – let’s just say it’s still a work in progress.

Getting a workout in earlier this year in Ecuador

Did I grow in my faith this year? I don’t know. So this last one is a toss up because of how ambiguous this goal was. I know my intention behind this original goal, but I don’t know if I had a realistic, concrete plan to achieve….anything. The only intentional things I did this past year to work towards this was that I started listening/watching sermons from our home church, and I started to read the Bible again daily (focusing on the life of Christ). Additionally, I’ve started to become less afraid in sharing my faith. I wasn’t worried of feeling persecuted so much as I was worried that I would be aligned with a group I don’t necessarily associate with (certain types of Christians). I believe in Jesus and I want to follow His teachings. Like many things in life, labels like being a “Christian” comes with misconceptions and judgement. I realized, though, that staying silent about what I believe and who I am is also not being authentic.

Overall I feel pretty good about this past year in terms of making progress towards accomplishing these general goals. That being said, I made a specific list of goals that I set out for myself for some of these areas and I didn’t fare as well. See below:


  • Pass Spanish CLEP test with a score >50 by end of 2016 (NOPE!)
  • Setup a weekly Spanish chat with someone in-person or online by April 2016 (NOPE!)
  • Meet or video hangout with someone to chat in Spanish for at least half-an-hour per week (NOPE!)
  • Finish Level 2 of Rosetta Stone Spanish by December 2016 (close, but NOPE!)
  • Practice Spanish for at least half-an-hour a day (some days, but not most days – NOPE!)
  • Write at least 10 new sentences in Spanish three days per week (NOPE!)
  • Get 80% or higher on my monthly Spanish vocabulary quiz (set up by Michelle) (yes for maybe 3 months, so NOPE!)

Get Ripped

  • Get to a point where I can complete the Ab Ripper X workout with stopping (Yup!)
  • Do a 100 push-ups without stopping (NOPE, Got to 70)
  • Do 12 pull-ups without stopping (NOPE!)
  • Get a 6-pack (NOPE!)
  • Bench 1.5 times my weight (NOPE!)
  • Run 1.5 miles in 10 minutes (NOPE!)

Grow in My Faith

  • I didn’t even create a specific goals here. 😦

As you can see, there were a lot of things I said I was going to do and I didn’t do them. Did I have enough time? Yup. Did I have the resources, tools, and support I needed? Yes. So what happened?

The Consequences of Poor Planning and Execution

When I first set out to accomplish these goals, I had a plan. I thought a lot about how to make this all happen. I created small milestones that lead up to the completion of each goal. I gave myself deadlines as to when to complete these milestones. But there were two things I didn’t factor into my plans that resulted in my inability to do the things I said I would.

Trying to do too much at the same time
I’ve done challenges in my life before as a way to learn a new skill or teach myself a new habit. So I know all about the planning and motivation it takes to complete these challenges and goals. But what I totally forgot about is that with challenges I’ve done in the past, I’ve done them one at a time.

This year I tried to find the time and motivation to learn Spanish and accomplish fitness goals while still maintaining my regular lifestyle. This proved to be too complicated. For many people, this a common thing. You only have so much time in the day to get all of your regular things done. Trying to add a new task/challenge to your life is not as simple as it sounds, even if it’s something like studying Spanish for 1/2 an hour.

I also forgot about regular life events like holidays, travel, birthdays, busy work periods etc… that make time management even more challenging. I knew that I was going to be really busy this past year with work projects, travel, and personal time with family – and yet somehow I thought I was going to be able to add more things to my schedule. Nope. When things got busy, my focus and energy were on those things. Any additional things in my life got pushed to the side.

For 2017 I’m going to be more realistic of what I can manage and better set myself up for success.

Finding the “Right” Motivation
To try and motivate myself for my “year of productivity,” I came up with what I thought was a brilliant incentive strategy using money. You may or may not know that Michelle and I use an allowance system for our spending money (more on this in another post). The idea for the incentives was that for every milestone I accomplished, I would earn a certain amount that would be added to my allowance.

To add even more incentive and some accountability, I came up with the idea to cut my typical allowance in half. Only if I accomplished my milestones could I earn that money back and then some. (Looking back, I can’t believe I came up with this). It seemed like a good plan until I didn’t care that I was missing deadlines and realized that I wasn’t really motivated by money.

Not being motivated by money is a good thing. Money as an incentive would have worked with Old Jedd who used to be obsessed with consuming. I should have known better with New Jedd and found something else to motivate me. What might that be?  I’m not exactly sure and I’m still trying to figure this out.

back to the drawing board

Even though 2016 wasn’t exactly the “year of productivity” that I wanted it to be, I got some things done and learned more about myself. The whole point of these challenges is to constantly better myself to be the best version of me as possible. Reflecting on what went right, what went wrong, and how I can improve is all part of the process. The old me wouldn’t have even thought to do any of this in the first place because the old me didn’t care.

Who do you want to become? What’s holding you back from being that person? That’s what I think about and work towards daily. 2017 is a new year and a new chapter in my story.  Here’s to hoping for a better report at the end of next year.

Happy New Year!

2 thoughts on “2016 Annual Review Part 1: How Well Did The Year of Productivity Go?”

  1. Hey Jedd, I really appreciated reading this. Don’t beat yourself up on this — what are those things you did do? (the progress as you stated) and all the things you didn’t do -that you perhaps reshifted your priorities because they became more important! Cool lesson about the money incentive! (maybe you get to go on another trip this year instead 🙂 ) Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Dorene for reading and your encouragement. Yeah, I think overall I laugh looking back at things. I guess wanted it to be known that even though we might set some audacious goals and don’t complete them, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a great year or can’t learn something from it.

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