Self-Help Advice That Works
What to Try: A yearly self-evaluation. We tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in a single day but underestimate what can happen in a year, writes Chris Guillebeau, author of The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life. Guillebeau's personal quest was to travel to every country on the planet before the age of 35, which took him 10 years. To keep on track with his goal, he gave himself an annual review—a process not unlike the one you'd do with your boss to evaluate your duties and results. His annual review is very simple and made up of only two questions: "What went well this year?" and "What did not go well this year?" To try this yourself, answer each question with a list of different projects, ideas and activities you've attempted in the areas of work, health, spiritual growth or creative pursuits. Guillebeau then suggests you take one full week to figure out why certain items succeeded and others failed. Once you've identified obstacles that got in your way (which you can now avoid) and the factors that helped you thrive (which you can now repeat), you'll be better positioned to formulate this year's goals. For example, in Guillebeau's 2008 review he wrote, "At the end of 2009 I will have finished the manuscript for my first book..." Which became a best-seller known as The $100 Startup.