My Personal Year In Review & How I Do It


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Player FM과 저희 커뮤니티의 Brian Nelson-Palmer and Productivity Gladiator 콘텐츠는 모두 원 저작자에게 속하며 Player FM이 아닌 작가가 저작권을 갖습니다. 오디오는 해당 서버에서 직접 스트리밍 됩니다. 구독 버튼을 눌러 Player FM에서 업데이트 현황을 확인하세요. 혹은 다른 팟캐스트 앱에서 URL을 불러오세요.

In this episode, Brian shares his “year in review” for 2022, the process he uses to create the review, a template so you can try your own, and the steps he follows to automate the reminders to check back in throughout the year(s) to see if you’re still on track.

Link for the full page with all the details, the video, and more, for this episode:

The Evolution Of My Year-In-Review

Right up front, I admit that I poopoo’d this year-in-review practice for years. In my early career I heard about people doing this “year in review” thing. My thinking back then was “If YOU want to waste all that time reflecting on your year that’s fine, but I’m killing it at work right now so I’m going to keep killing it. I know what I’m doing, no need to reflect.” Looking back, I WAS WRONG.

Looking back now, I think I was wrong for 2 reasons.

1) I was missing that there is a lot of power in making sure you’re headed toward my goals.
I now think there’s real power in stepping back and looking at where you’re headed. In the day to day, I would often get so focused on driving metrics, completing tasks, and working toward goals, that I often lost sight of the big picture, I “couldn’t see the forest for the trees”. This reflection has really helped me to both appreciate just HOW MUCH I’ve accomplished AND reach some important realizations on whether I was really happy with the direction I was headed.

2) I was completely missing the reflection and course correction in my personal life.

Most of the reflection I did was entirely focused on my professional life. Performance reviews at work really facilitate this process. Your “annual performance review” is the time when you can and should do this professionally, and discuss it with your boss since they may have good ideas and further direction you can incorporate. The problem though is that I never gave myself my own personal performance review. My personal life was just “happening” to me, like I was a passenger on that train, not driving it. I missed doing a “performance review” of sorts for my personal life.

Coming around to it took years

For more than a decade of my early career, I never even considered doing my own “year in review”. Then from around 2012 to 2019, my steadfast opposition to the practice slowly started to soften. Each year, the people in the productivity space which I followed and looked up to would talk in their blog posts and podcasts about their “year in review” they’d completed and the realizations they’d had. Over the course of 7 years, hearing these messages each year was enough to slowly shift my thinking from a “this is dumb” idea to a “hmmm, I wonder what would happen if I tried it” idea. Finally, in 2019 I did my first one of these for myself and I can honestly say, I was wrong, I love this practice of reflecting on my personal “year in review”. I also feel like I leveled up my personal life significantly!

I think the power is in differentiating your “personal” from your “professional” Year-In-review.

My year-in-review I’m going to share is entirely my “personal” year-in-review. In all my work now teaching life balance and personal productivity, people often lose sight of the “life” part of their “work-life balance”. I think there’s real power that comes from doing this for yourself, for you as a person, separate from you as a professional.


What about my hobbies, & side hustles that produce income?

For me, I have a primary job/career that is my primary source of income, but I also have several side hustles. Some of you may probably identify with that. Those side hustles are included in my personal year-in-review, the main job is not. Here’s where I draw the line - if my hobby or side hustle includes an annual performance review, then I do my reflecting for that one during that review. It’s alright if I touch on some of these or mention them in my personal year-in-review, but it shouldn’t be the focus here. Your personal review is on your life and your personal pursuits.


The Structure Of My Year-In-Review

I keep this pretty simple, I try to capture the “highs”, the “lows”, revisiting what I said before, and then what I’m going to do now. Laid out, the sections look like this, and I have a template you can use for this later:


—-Accomplishments & Things That Brought Me Joy

—-There were trips!


-Last year, I said I was going to do some things this year. How’d I do on those?

-Other FRUSTRATIONS, disappointments, and things that made me sad this year:



Here’s My 2022 Year-In-Review

HIGHLIGHTS for 2022:

Accomplishments & Things That Brought Me Joy

Lived a true snowbird life by spending the winter in Florida for 9 weeks from late December to late February: Panama City Beach-2 weeks, Downtown Tampa-2 weeks, St. Pete-2 weeks, Clearwater-2 weeks, St. Augustine-1 week.

In April Nikki and I started working with a nutrition coach. We have been counting macros for the rest of the year; I’m down 7-ish lbs from my high and I’m a notch or two tighter in the belts.

This was my fourth year volunteering with the Wammies, we were finally back “in person” too and had a big red carpet event at the Capital Turnaround at the end of March. Big event, Big success!

TEDxTalk Success! 60+ Initial calls with people, and 50+ practice runs, the live event in June, plus a 5 month wait for the video to go live in November, but I finally did it! Woo!

New Car for Nikki AND for myself! Finally driving a vehicle I can tow a boat with!

I was out on the boat 29 times!

Got to play drums again with Fellowcraft twice! Reunion baby! Played a wedding, and a private show in someone’s front yard for Halloween.

Joined the “Big Brother Big Sister” organization as a volunteer Big Bro, was connected with my Little Bro and hung out with him about twice a month; 14 times in total!

Launched the Productivity Gladiator Podcast. 7 episodes completed this year! Averaging about one per month. LOVE the cool conversations I’ve had and the really cool people I’ve gotten to meet, and I feel like I’m really delivering value with each episode.

Switched from a beard to a go-tee, and NO ONE has noticed or said anything, so I’m taking that as a good sign. Reinforces that my cheeks don’t grow hair thick enough to make it worth doing the full beard, so now have a “cleaner” look without all that sparse cheek hair. Sticking with this for now.

Started working with a coach for Productivity Gladiator and this has really helped me focus and start making targeted progress. I feel more focused than ever on what I’m doing there.

We were able to find renters to live in our condo while we’re down in FL this winter! Woo!

I was going to have to step back from volunteering with the Wammies, but they countered and offered me a contract to keep working on it. I LOVE the Wammies, love the team I’m working with, and love supporting an organization like the Musicianship, which does so much good for the community in DC!

Wedding Venue Contract signed, date locked in, we’re off to a good start here!

There were trips!

Florida snowbird this winter for 2.5 months

New York City

Whiting, New Jersey

Atlanta, GA

Pennsylvania 4x - Philly & Blandon several times

VA Beach 2x

North Carolina 3x - Charlotte, Saluda (near Asheville) & Oak Island

Maryland 3x - Baltimore, Kent Narrows, & Ocean City


I’m engaged! I proposed, and Nikki said YES! I’m a lucky man with this one. Gonna be an amazing wedding!

I so treasure my relationship with the “dinner party group” as we have come to call ourselves. It’s a close group of adult friends, and that’s not easy to do in today’s day and age. We text each other directly, this isn’t just a social media connection.

6 official “dinner parties” with our dinner party group, though countless other hangouts that go way beyond dinner parties

Florida friends! I was able to reconnect with people I haven’t seen in years in Florida, making the time we spent in Florida during the winter so much more fun!

Made some amazing new adult friends that have “stuck” this year. This seems to be hard in general as adults, ‌but it’s happening, and these are some amazing people!

Last year, I said I was going to do some things this year. How’d I do on those?

I SAID: Snowbird life continues: We’re headed down to FL for over 2 months to start the year. Last year we did a 3 week trip to FL during the winter and loved it. Since 100% remote work is still a possibility for both of us, we’re going again for longer this year. Ultimately, we think we want to be regulars going down to Tampa in the colder months, so this year we’re going to be checking it out, hopping around between different parts to scope it out while we’re there.

Success here! Decided that St Pete will be our move going forward!

I SAID: Boat Life: Still a member of the boat club, but the restrictions as a club member are annoying (ex: no evenings, no sunsets, I must book weekend reservations weeks in advance, there are no overnights available without booking at least a month in advance, etc). We’re ready to take the plunge and get a boat of our own. This will mean when my car lease is up this summer, we’ll be getting a truck or SUV that can tow a boat, then we’ll be trying to get the boat. *fingers crossed”

Success! Traded my car in for a truck that can tow a boat, and found the boat I want to buy, working on this up to the very last day of the year, anticipate getting the boat by February at the latest.

I SAID: Weight Loss: It’s time to work with a nutrition coach. I feel like I recognize the things I need to change, but I also think there’s so much more I can and should learn in this area. I’ve got the gym part covered, but I have got to get the “diet” right, which means it’s time to “go back to school” on that. Most of it will just be better discipline on my part. I recognize this. That said, I want to work with a few different coaches/sources. I call it “learning by committee” and the older I get, the more I’d rather learn from “a committee” of different people with different perspectives. I think that leverages the knowledge to bring me to an even better place, rather than just learning one way from one coach.

Moderate progress here! Found a nutrition coach! Working with him has been great. I’m down about 7lbs from where I was, though I’m certainly hoping to be down more than that. Hoping this next year will bring even better results

I SAID: I’d like to do more volunteering with a youth organization such as the Boys and Girls club, or Demolay. I want to give back to the next generation.

Success! I joined the Big Brother Big Sister organization, and am a big brother. My little brother, Shiloh, and I have hung out a couple of times a month!

I SAID: I’d like some more “Uncle Brian” time. I want to make sure I play with the kids when I get together with the families I know. I’d like the kids to feel like they know me too, not just their parents. I want to be more intentional about changing that.

Meh, I give myself a “C” for this. I did hang out with the kids when I went to gatherings but didn’t do much of it, so I did better here, which is why I didn’t fail completely. I still just don’t feel like I did as much with the kids as I would like.

I SAID: For Productivity Gladiator, I’d like to book 2 events per month. I am looking forward to giving my TED Talk and actually already have 17 events on the calendar for 2022, so it’s looking good!

Success AND failure on this one.
“Success” in that I did more than 40 events this year where I was speaking on my work through Productivity Gladiator and prepping for my TED talk.
“Failure” in that almost all of these sessions weren’t paid, or business development with the idea of connect with clients which could lead to getting paid. I elevated the brand, but definitely need to spend some more time on this one.

Take trips, go see people, and reconnect with people I’ve lost touch with because of COVID.

Success! I definitely feel like I accomplished this one.

Other FRUSTRATIONS, disappointments, and things that made me sad this year:

The effects of diabetes were an issue in my eyes again this year. I’m finally on a treatment regimen that seems to be working. It’s just a bummer that my main choices to fight off the effects of diabetes on my vision are either a shot in each eye every 2 months, or a laser procedure which would be permanent change to my vision. Since the shots are working as prescribed gonna stick with them. Sigh….

I got an infection in my foot which was so strong that my body couldn’t fight it off on its own, ended up going to the ER to get IV antibiotics, and had to stop teaching workout classes for a couple weeks to recover. That was kinda scary to have 3 toes and part of my foot turn another color!

Hairline thinned out some more. Sigh, I mean, I knew this was coming. It’s only gonna get worse. Rogaine seems to be pointless, but somehow can’t give up Rogaine because the story in my head is that it will start receding faster than it already is?!?! Sigh….

My knees are starting to give me problems. Whenever I do lunges and squats, there’s a certain point in the range of motion where I feel a “twinge” and it’s uncomfortable. Not taking pain meds, but just an “ow, that’s uncomfortable feeling”. Been to the doctor and physical therapist on this, and it’s just not resolved. Gonna stick with it, but sadly I may be headed toward a shot in the knees in the future if it continues getting worse.

There was the loss of loved ones both close to me, family and friends, which is always hard to process. These situations really reinforced for me how precious this life is. Several times this year, I caught myself thinking about how I’m living my own life. Grateful for these year-in-review sessions because I feel like I’m absolutely on the right track, and don’t have any regrets. Still kinda scary to think about.

Haven’t lost as much weight as I was hoping. Metabolisms and dieting are a bummer! I thought I’d work with this nutrition coach and the lbs would just fly off, but sadly that didn’t happen. Also, I’ve always heard people talk about how it gets more difficult to lose weight as you get older, I feel some of that frustration. I’m down a few pounds and all my clothes fit better, so I’m grateful, but still a little frustrated.

The used car prices got me in a bad way this year. The beginning of the year, my car which I was going to trade in was worth $10K more than it was by the time my new vehicle came in and I went to trade it in. Grrrrrrrr…..timing is a b!%&$

The CHANGES and NEW GOALS for 2023

Get ON the weight loss! I want to get to 200 lbs by Feb 2024 (my wedding) so that means I need to get on it, that’s a rate of roughly 1.5 lbs per month-ish. Gotta be more precise this year with my nutrition and counting PFCs.

Become a boat guy! I’m almost there, the boat I want is within my grasp, just need to finish the deal and go pick it up, hoping by Feb 2023

Level up “Uncle Brian” a bit more. I want to make it a point to have conversations and take some time to hang out with the kids specifically when I visit friends with kids. I want the kids to feel like they know me too. Keep showing up as a good Big Brother for my Little.

2 big bucket list things this year. A trip on the world’s biggest cruise ship for my 40th birthday, and Alaskan cruise with the family!

I wanna work on being a better partner for Nikki, focusing on supporting her in the way she wants and needs. In our conversations I want to remember that it’s not my job to “fix it”, my main role is to listen & validate in our conversations.

I want to do 2 paid Productivity Gladiator engagements per month.

Upgrade Nikki and I’s living conditions to support full time remote work. We both work from home, and to facilitate that we really each need our own office with a door that closes, which means we really need 3 bedrooms. We have a 3 bedroom in place for the time we’re in Florida this year, but I want to figure out how we can have 3 bedrooms when we get back to DC in the spring, while still living in an area we’d like (and hopefully being close to the water because we’ll have a boat).



I’ve created a template google doc which you can create your own copy from this link, or just view from this link. Use either of these to try this for yourself.


This should be done just for you personally for your personal life and passions which don’t already have an annual performance review. I recommend doing a completely separate review for those roles.

Look back through your photos, calendar and social media from this year

Fill in the sections below. Capture the highs and lows. Once you feel you’ve really captured the year, fill in the CHANGES AND NEW GOALS section at the end.

This is written in a conversational way so that if you want to copy/paste/share this on social media or with family/friends you can.

I’ve used the heading 1, 2, 3 to label the headings, so as this document grows, if you want to maintain the clickable table of contents you can.

Keep it going:

For the next year, copy/paste/duplicate the previous year above the last, then you’ll have them all together.

Check in with yourself each quarter to see how you’re doing with your intentions for the year! To make this easy, you can click the “share” button at the top of your google doc, and copy the link to this document for yourself to access. Then send an email to “” (this is a free email reminder service) with the subject “Am I on track for my year so far?” and put the link to this document in the body of the email. Each quarter, the email will hit your inbox. Click the link in the message and it will open right up! Read through it and course correct during the year.


About The Creator/Host: I’m Brian. At age 4, I was diagnosed with insulin dependent (type 1) diabetes and told that my life was going to be 10-20 years shorter than everyone else. As a kid I took time for granted, but now as an adult, time is the most precious thing that I have. I teach overworked project managers how to level-up their life balance and pump up their personal productivity through my Productivity Gladiator training system. If what you’ve seen here intrigues you, reach out, let’s chat! Time is the currency of your life, spend it wisely.

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