ast year when I started working on my life operating system, I used August Bradley’s questions to reflect on the past year and plan the next. Although it’s thorough and well thought, I came up with several ideas on how to create my own way to review the past year and plan the next.
The annual review is an essential part of my [life OS](https://www.maray.ai/posts/life-operating-system-v2). It provides macro feedback on my life and helps me to adjust my strategy if I see that something doesn’t work. It’s also a part of the planning and execution of my goals and life decisions for the next 12 months.
In this article, I will first go through the yearly review template and explain its structure. In the second half of the article, you can find my yearly review where I share my best discoveries, achievements, failures, and how I am going to use those insights to plan my 2022 goals and life in general.
## Annual review and planning template for 2022
Reviews are an essential part of the feedback loop of my life OS. It consists of two parts: planning and review. Planning is the intention, the strategy, and the big picture of the next year of your life. Review is the food for your thoughts.
Both planning and review are essential for a meaningful, goal-oriented, and productive life. Before building a life OS I would often make 2 mistakes for my New Year resolutions. I’d either plan something in broad strokes in my head, which I’d have forgotten shortly after or plan my year without a proper strategy and a system. Both mistakes led to no progress for my resolutions and goals.
The review at the end of the year gives you insights to reflect on. It can answer questions like “Did your plan and strategy work?” or “What specifically did you achieve?”. Self-reflection gives you an opportunity to adjust things that you are not happy with.
Here’s an example. Last year I had a goal to stream on Twitch but I only managed to stream once. I have a chance now to analyze what were the obstacles so that I don’t make the same mistake the next time.
Although you can analyze your failures during weekly or monthly reviews, I like to separate each period for its own purpose.
I do weekly, monthly and yearly reviews. Weekly reviews help me to **focus on my productivity**. Monthly reviews help me to **focus on my projects and progress**. Yearly reviews give me a chance to **reflect on my life, adjust its course, and set big goals**.
All three reviews are part of [my daily journal](https://www.maray.ai/posts/daily-journal-in-notion). It’s a notebook of daily entries where I track my habits, do affirmations, and capture daily life-related notes. Each entry is linked to the related week, month and year. That allows me to pull data from each entry of the past year and calculate different things like how many days I performed a habit or what’s the average time I slept.
Here’s the outline of each section of my annual review that you can use as well.
In planning, I aim to do several things.
1. Outline the top goals I want to achieve the next year.
2. Find obstacles that make my goals harder to achieve
3. Find habits that I can implement to reduce or eliminate these obstacles
4. Find what I can improve and build in my identity.
5. Break down the goals into manageable milestones to achieve them.
In review, I aim to do the following things:
1. Review my past year stats from habit and sleep tracking
2. Review the goals that I work on the most or accomplished
3. Review the projects, both successful and not so
4. Review the actions I took and the accomplishments I made
5. Analyze the obstacles I had at the beginning of the year
After I finish planning, I have to reflect on the changes in my goals, habits, projects, and milestones in my Life OS. The more I practice it the more I understand myself. I can now avoid the mistakes I did last year to improve things this year.
Now I’d like to share several noteworthy things that I discovered and achieved in 2021.
## My biggest discoveries in 2021
My biggest discoveries are related to knowledge. I always feel excited when I find the knowledge that answers my long-time problems and makes my life better.
That’s why my top discovery of the year is [Dr. Andrew Huberman and his podcast](https://hubermanlab.com/). Thanks to him I understood how different chemicals work in the brain and how they govern behavior. This knowledge helped me to understand things like habit building on a completely different level. his insights also made me healthier. I learned how I can control my heartbeat, how I can feel more alert, how I can improve my memory, immune system, sleep, learning, and so on.
His podcast is a knowledge treasure that made a tremendous difference in my life. I truly understood how knowledge can be liberating. Once I understand a certain mechanism in my body, I can leverage it to solve problems I have. Especially now that I am turning 30, I feel how time influences my body and health.
Another thing that I like about the podcast is that each episode is full of **applicable insights.** Dr. Andrew and I share the same philosophy of sharing actionable information and protocols that people can start using right away. There’s a theory, but he clearly explains what you need to know to understand the underlying mechanisms. His newsletter, [Neural Network](https://hubermanlab.com/neural-network/) (a pretty cool name), is a series of handbooks of condensed knowledge full of insights and protocols. I highly recommend both the podcast and the newsletter.
Another discovery is Naval Ravikant. His blog is full of insights on different topics. One of his blog posts [How to Get Rich](https://nav.al/rich) taught me more about life and business than 10 years in school. I value this kind knowledge because it’s foundational. They are from the first principles. It expands your map of reality and makes it more detailed. A lot of things in life start to make more sense. There’s also a free book [Almanack of Naval Ravikant](https://www.navalmanack.com/) where the author Eric Jorgenson collected “Naval’s wisdom from Twitter, Podcasts, and Essays over the past decade”.
Last but not least, I learned how stress is good for the body. First I learned it from [Wim Hof, the iceman](https://www.wimhofmethod.com/free-mini-class) (free 3 lesson course). It was quite fascinating to learn about his feats but more about how healthy and positive he is at his age. This knowledge was further strengthened by Dr. Huberman when I learned how breathing and cold exposure benefits work from the scientific point of view. Good stuff. I now try to do cold showers or breathing exercises daily. It’s especially helpful when I feel sleepy and I need adrenaline to wake up my body.
## What I achieved in 2021
The past year was one of the most prolific years I’ve ever had. I not only managed to hit my lifestyle goals but I also grew as a person. I became healthier, more disciplined, and mindful. I started to understand my personality better. I’ve learned a lot of things that made operating my life in this world much easier.
To become healthier I worked on building several habits.
1. 5-minute morning warm-up exercise
2. Breathing exercise
3. Cold shower
4. Swim once a week
I managed to move to a new country in the midst of the pandemic, finish the quest for all the paperwork and find an apartment.
Performed productive and creative work at my regular workplace.
Built a morning routine to work on my side projects.
Published 8 digital products on Gumroad which totaled 1596 downloads and generated $3,844.02 in revenue.
Learned Webflow and started to work on my web design & development portfolio.
Advanced my blog website design and performance.
Published 27 articles.
Reached 13,858 pageviews a month. All organic traffic.
Improved writing, SEO, and product building.
Completed 380 actions on my side projects.
Connected with many like-minded people through my blog.
Gained a lot of valuable knowledge.
Generated and captured a lot of good ideas for my future companies and projects.
Sent an application to register my first company.
Started to work on my first ebook.
Felt mentally and physically the best.
Although it was one of the happiest years I’ve ever had, I would rate 2021 as 8/10 because there are things I could have done better. I hope I can take the lessons and improve in 2022.
## What I could do better in 2021
Last year I planned to make videos for Youtube and stream on Twitch. I only managed to stream once and didn’t produce any video.
Why did I fail at that? There’re a few reasons.
First, I still don’t feel comfortable talking on a camera.
Second, it is difficult to maintain so many projects while having a demanding full-time job.
Third, it takes a lot of time for me to break the barrier.
The first problem lies in the fear of vulnerability and impostor syndrome. I have to find out the reason I feel that. Once I understand the origins of the fears, I can eliminate the problem by practicing shooting videos and publishing them. Writing and talking about it already makes a lot of progress.
To solve the second problem, I have to set priorities, decrease my procrastination and break a few time-consuming habits. Sounds easy, but it’s not.
The third problem is part of my identity as much as I remember myself. If the task is a new experience or somewhat uncomfortable or boring to do, I tend to take a lot of time to prepare myself for the action. The next year one of my goals is to build a habit of quick reaction. I want to take action when planning is not necessary and rather detrimental for the task.
## My goals for 2022
The next year I want to focus on my personal growth and overcome the abovementioned barriers. My main goals for 2022 are:
1. Grow and build my identity
a. I want to be more open and social
b. I want to be confident feeling vulnerable
c. Build a habit of quick action
2. Improve health and body performance
3. Consistently produce more content & products
a. Blog - 24 blog posts
b. Twitter - 12 threads
c. Youtube - 12 videos
d. Stream - weekly 2-hour streams
e. Products - at least 6 digital products, both premium and free
4. Level my salary with the side incomes
5. Learn how to sell
6. Build a company that generates revenue (more on that in a future blog post)
## Final thoughts
Annual reviews can be both fun and uncomfortable. It’s fun because it’s the end of the year and generally people feel inspired to set their new year resolutions. It can be uncomfortable because you have to reflect on your past year's failures. I think the reason why most of us fail new year resolutions is because people skip the uncomfortable part. That’s why the same thing happens again and again.
I hope you learned something new today and can take ideas from my annual review and implement it in your life os. Join our [community in discord](https://discord.gg/g3pvMKbT2v) for more related discussions or [follow me on Twitter](https://twitter.com/ayk_martirosyan) where I publish condensed insights from blog posts in threads.