The end of the calendar year always precipitates a series of year-end todos and reviews that the wife and I do, both for the businesses and on a personal level.  They include:

1. Accounting: wrapping up any final expenses for the year for tax purposes.
2. Budget: setting next year’s budget by month for each business and for us personally.
3. Insurance: performing a quick insurance review to make sure everything is current.  If not, it goes on the todo list to complete in January with the insurance agents.
4. Wills: reviewing the wills to make sure they are current. If not, it goes on the todo list to complete in January.
5. Assets:  videotaping of all our assets, from which we upload to our cloud-hosted account for safe-keeping.
6. Calendar: reviewing the next 12 months and putting into the calendar any vacations, conferences or other calendar-based items.

This is all pretty standard stuff that most people do to one degree or another.  And for the most part, we can plow through these items pretty quickly.

One final thing we do is set goals for the next year, both for the businesses and personally.  This is a big one that we put a bit of thought into.  Those goals might change as the year goes; in fact, they often do change to one degree or another, or they might not get completed due to other circumstances.  But the point is that this exercise forces us to take a broader, more strategic view of our businesses and our personal lives.

During the course of the year, we often get so busy doing what we got to do on a daily and weekly basis that it’s easy to not do any strategic planning.  As a result, what happens is that months can pass and at some point, we realize that all the nitty-gritty we’ve been doing does not jive with where we want to go.  Thus, we make sure we do it this time of year along with our year-end reviews to get it out of the way. This takes the pressure off of us from having to worry about it later, allowing us to focus on the nitty gritty of working towards those goals as the year goes by.  It creates a level of comfort knowing that all we need to worry about is those nitty gritty items on a daily and weekly basis because in sum, they will get us to these larger strategic goals.

My goals list is broken up into 12 categories, listed below and prioritized by importance to me.  My wife’s list is different, and where appropriate, we create mutual goals and combine them on our respective lists.

1. God:  what are my goals in my spiritual life?
2. Self:  what are my goals with my physical, mental, and emotional health?

These categories go first because if things go haywire here, then I lose significant effectiveness in accomplishing goals in the following categories.

3. Wife:  what are my goals to help me draw closer to my wife and support and enjoy each her more?
4. Dogs/Animals:  Our animals are our kids; what are my goals to make them healthier, happier and more of a joy to be around?
5. Family:  what are my goals with supporting and enjoying more the members of my extended family?
6. Friends:  what are my goals with supporting and enjoying more my close friends?

The above are what matters most to me in life.  The following are important but don’t take priority over the above.

7. House:  what are the projects around our house that we want to accomplish?
8. Work:  what are our goals for our businesses?
9. Activities/Trips:  what new things do we want to do or places we would like to see?
10. Things:  what major purchases do we want to or need to make?
11. Time savers:  how can we get the mundane done faster or what can we cut out completely so that we have more time to do the important things further up the list?
12. Money savers:  what can we do to reduce expenses or get rid of the expenses that we really do not need?

Once set, I can review these goals several times a month to do a quick strategic check and make sure that the nitty-gritty of what I am doing is helping me works towards these goals.

If you’re interested in learning more about setting goals relative to your life plan, get a free copy of Michael Hyatt’s Life Plan e-book.  There is some good stuff in it.

What year-end reviews do you do for your business and personally and what is your process for setting goals?