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Monumentous Moments, Inspirational Ninjas, And What My Year In Review Has Been Missing

Have you ever done a personal year in review, or an annual review? What about a periodic look at how (or whether?) you’re leveling up and slaying life the way you set out to? Maybe you didn’t call it a year in review or even get formal about it at all. You’ve probably at least made a resolution or two, or set goals to help you achieve more. If so, there’s likely a super-sneaky motivational bone inside of you (phrasing?) that’s yearning for a killer personal year in review sesh. If only there was a super-detailed template for that or something…

And if you think personal reviews should only be done around year’s end, you’re so wrong! Honestly, you can—and should—be tracking things on the regular. If you haven’t been, now is the perfect time to start!

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What Exactly Is A Personal Year In Review Or Annual Review?

If you hit up Mr. Google, you’ll find all sorts of versions of what a year in review is. But the nitty-gritty of it is that it’s a look back over the past to pay attention to your wins and struggles. After uncovering and appreciating them, you then use them for planning what your future self is going to be a badass at. Most yearly reviews have specific areas to concentrate on recalling. Then there’s corresponding planning for the months ahead to work it harder, better, faster, stronger…

If you want to download the fillable PDF, Just Click Here! (But definitely finish the article…Just sayin’.)

I Love A Good Annual Review, But Something Has Always Been Missing: More Bad*ss.

First off, if you’ve been paying attention, boring is kind of the bane of my existence. Merely sitting down and filling out some bland Excel spreadsheet or following some flowery mental masturbation about how lovely and beautiful my year was just wasn’t cutting it. Even with all of the baller year in reviews that I’ve been introduced to via the plethora of options on them thar interwebs, I just wasn’t quite satisfied.

I always wanted something that spoke my language. And my language seems to be 19th century sailor.

Also, being the hyper list-driven and goal-oriented neurotic that I am, I’ve migrated towards being quite OCD about my reviews. I’ve gone away from just doing them at the end of the year and forgetting about them.

I now implement them into the beginning of my weeks and months as more of a working, moving plan. I literally put an hour in my calendar every Monday morning so I can review and charge forward aware, instead of once a year annual review…followed by forgetting about the details.

So, seeing some holes that I wanted to fill, and being a graphic design nerd, I decided to make my own! Now I can give it away to other OCD minions like you so you can slay your own dragons! But the difference here is that I’ve included a few personal sections that I’ve added over the years.

My New Year In Review Template, Billy Bad*ss Edition

So here you are my friend, the level-up to your typical year in review.

It’s complete with Inspirational Ninjas, Monumentous Moments, and the all-important opportunities to #TreatYoSelf!

So again, no disrespect to any of the gurus out there with their own versions of a year in review. The beauty of life is that we all resonate with different voices at different times. So to each their own and different strokes for different folks and whatnot. Here’s the quick lowdown on the “out of the ordinary” in this particular year in review template.

NOTE! You can start a year in review anytime, and you should!

I actually prefer to call it a “12-month review” or just a “personal review.” It can be started anytime but still done on a cycle. Please, please, please, if you’re not doing something like this, start now!

personal year in review template image inspirational ninjas

Family, Friends, And Inspirational Ninjas!

So what exactly are Inspirational Ninjas? Well, most personal reviews really concentrate inwardly on you. But I’m a big fan of realizing that there’s no way I would be where I am, or who I am, without those around me. I think it’s important to make sure those people are recognized. For that reason, there’s a section dedicated to the people that have indirectly affected my recent past.

I say indirectly because I hope I’m not a total *sshat! I should be letting the ones that regularly and directly affect or help me know how they’ve done so immediately! 

So by indirect, I look for the ones that helped me along but likely didn’t realize they were doing so. Maybe it was a post from a family member that I read which helped me through a rough week. My mail carrier, who always has a smile and a kind word, yet I’ve yet to go out of my way to thank them for that specifically. Or the barista or bartender that I favor over the others because of their upbeat attitude.

They change the world (or at least my world) without even realizing it, and they deserve to know it. 

Once I hone in on some of these folks, I make it a plan to let them know. There aren’t wrong ways to go about this. It’s just the idea of letting someone know that they’re an inspiration. Look em’ in the eye, send them an email or a text, but just do something. Typically this is a very positive experience for both. It’s good to put those positive vibes out into the Universe my friend! Just think of someone from the past week that changed your day a little. Don’t they deserve a high-five?

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Monumentous Moments Deserve A place In Your Everyday…And Your Annual Review

This one might seem a bit redundant on the surface, but stick with me. During a typical annual review we look at successes, but those tend to cover longer spans of time or be about the bigger things. For a long time I’ve kept a document that I keep running tabs on called my “Monumentous Moments.” I find this super helpful for realizing both the big and small wins along the way. 

Here are a few of the past monumentous moments that I felt inclined to add to my list. And I’m not changing any wording, all-caps, or anything for you here. These are literally taken directly from my ongoing list!

  • April 21 2017 – Launched The Nomad Experiment
  • June 9 2017 – bought a f*cking van! (more on that here…)
  • December 4 2017 – sold the f*cking van! 
  • Sept 2018 – Contacted by HIUSA re: Baltimore Hostel Article (that hostel review is here…)
  • Aug 2018 – SLC Photo Contest Finalist! Woop Woop!
  • Dec 28 2018 – Realized I need to lighten up on my self-induced deadlines, for my own health and sanity’s sake

These “Monumentous Moments” Deserve Their Place

See, some of those things wouldn’t necessarily fit into a typical year in review successes list. They’re little moments, but important ones! Some are personal, some are financial, and others are just moments that I know I’m going to want to remember. Some have specific dates/moments, and some are more vague. You have a lot of these in your life too, so it’s best to keep track of them!

I actually update my Monumentous Moments list as much as possible throughout the year. It keeps me grateful, and it makes looking back on the progress of life a bit more enjoyable!

#TreatYoSelf! You Gotta Take Care Of Number 1, My Friend!

The other fun thing I like to do for my future planning is to include some goals that fall into the more, umm, fluffy category? These are the things that you should be planning to do on a regular basis to just fucking enjoy life a bit. Yeah, you might think it’s a bit sad that I have to actually plan those things. But as a neurotic workaholic, It’s better in the long run if I do. 

Hell. I literally have to block off time in my calendar from time to time to “be spontaneous.” Sad trombone. 

For instance, this year I have two things primary as “Treat Yo Self” items, but I know that list will grow. One thing is to actually pay for a professional massage at least once a month. The other is to do a minimum one-day digital detox at least once a month.

See, I rock a hell of a scoliosis, so my back always kills. I’m also wicked cheap and it’s hard to stomach dropping good money on a sensual massage. But I know it’s good for me and my body, and it’s been like five years since I did that. I’ll have to work more to pay for this treat, but that’s kind of the point right? Work hard play hard? #TreatYoSelf

A digital detox is something that anyone that’s hyper plugged in should consider. My first was a revelation! I’ll more than likely do more than one a month now that I’ve seen the light. I’m actually more productive overall after a day unplugged! (You can read all about my first one-day digital detox here.)

personal year in review template image planning

It’s Time To Start Your Own Personal Year In Review. Feel Free To Start With This One…

Now that you understand how my neurotic, overly analytical designer brain ended up with a shiny new year in review template, it’s yours to have. The whole point of this experiment is for us all to level up at life a little bit, together. I really hope it helps! Please drop an email or plug into the conversation over at Facebook and tell me about some of the monumentous moments you’re uncovering along the way!

If you want to download the fillable PDF, Just Click Here!


— Jason

Travel Planning Tips

Figure out where you are going & how are you getting there…
I suggest using at least 2 to 3 different travel search sites. Start with Skyscanner or Orbitz or Booking …or whatever aggregator site you prefer. Then when you see what airlines to use, check their respective sites for better deals or rewards flights.

Figure out where you’re going to stay…
If you’re interested in hostels, search Hostelworld or Hostelling International. For longer-term or more private digs, look at Airbnb, VRBO, or you can look for hotel rooms in the links from the search engines listed above. 

Get comprehensive travel insurance, or in the least, travel medical insurance if internationally…
Especially with Covid not going anywhere, get covered. Start with an insurance aggregator like Insure My Trip, or with SafetyWing, World Nomads, or another. Then decide what is important to you; trip cancellation, baggage coverage, medical, or all of the above. And get a yearly evacuation plan, since you’ll have to get home after your emergency! 

Need more resources? Click here!

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