A few years ago I started doing a little blog post about my year in review and my goals for the new year.  I think I started writing it as a review just for myself – a way to track whether I met my goals or not.  I like tracking things.

Well, let me be honest, I really like buying planners so that I can track things that I plan to do.  Sometimes I even like the planners more than I like the planning.  That’s another post for another day!

I decided this year to do my own personal review of 2015 in terms of lessons learned.  There were a LOT of them.  Geesh.  So, if you’re like me and you’re slightly (ok…obsessed) with knowing what other people think about their own lives, then you’re in the right place.  If you’re wondering where on earth the teacher resources are, then go to the search field and search for “writing” – that’s my latest stuff that I’ve been working on.


  • Got real about my travel schedule and how it was impacting my life – made a super scary and totally appropriate decision to cut my travel schedule down by 75% even if it meant that I had to make drastic changes in my lifestyle.  How’d it work out for me?  One of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  Period.
  • Got 48,500+ copies of How to Teach Students to Critically Think About Text into real teachers’ hands – I mean REAL TEACHERS are using something I wrote every day.  Oh and they tell me they actually like it.  This makes me so incredibly happy because I only dreamed that people would be as excited about learning how to break things down as I was figuring out how to break things down!
  • Wrote two new books on writing – soooooo scary (the topic is BIG and I’m not an expert at it), but I did it anyway because I couldn’t find a resource that was helpful to me!  So I wrote them!
  • I asked for help and accepted it.  I had a few “Oh. My. Gosh. Is. This. Really. Happening.” moments this year (good and bad) – and I had to ask for help.  I literally couldn’t do it all myself.  And very special people helped.  Bless them.
  • I sold my house and moved to the 28th floor of a great building in downtown LA.  In 26 days.  While I was traveling nonstop.  And I didn’t (permanently) lose my mind.  And it was the second best decision I made this year.  New scene, new ideas, new focus.

Low points

  • Tripped in a fancy coffee shop in LA, fell on my back on the sidewalk with a crowd of people gasping, tried to stop my fall and grabbed a piece of metal on the door, ripped my hand open and then had to steal a napkin from the restaurant to catch the blood.  Ran to the car and drove off.  Like a total freak.
  • Mistook busyness for productivity.  This is a big one for me.  (See Goals for 2016 – “saying no”)  I hate that I wasted time on things that weren’t really that important or didn’t require that level of attention.  I hate that I put more emotionally energy into things that just didn’t require it.  Some thing just need to be done.  Not done perfectly.
  • Gave two talks where I didn’t prep properly and I felt like it was clunky.  I prep for each presentation and about 80% of the presentations I do are tailored for each client.  I was too confident and I wasn’t as smooth as I should have been.  I regret this and some of the feedback from the clients reflected this.
  • Didn’t listen to my gut on two pretty nice sized decisions and, well, I should have.  The saying “listen to people when they tell you who they are” is overused, but it is so, so true.  Like really true.
  • Wore new heels to an all-day presentation.  Rookie move of the century.

Goals for 2016

  • Publish two new books by April 1, 2015 (more to come on this!)
  • Get 100,000 books in teachers’ hands to help make their teaching even stronger and their lesson planning lives simpler (and faster!)
  • Say no more than I say yes (in my personal and professional life)
  • Make 50 1-minute how-to videos and share them with you by August 1, 2016
  • Focus on one word in my personal life: DISCIPLINE.  I am very determined and I always follow through with what I say I will do.  BUT, I need to have the discipline in my work life to say yes to the things that I am a perfect fit for and no when there’s someone else who could do a better job.  In my personal life, I will be practicing discipline in delaying gratification on things that I really want or want to do.  This is a big-time challenge for me.  I will practice discipline in 2016!  I have already made up my mind.


Questions of the day:  What are your goals for 2016?  If you don’t set goals, is there another way that you track personal/professional goals?

I would love to hear from you!