2014 Annual Review: What Went Well, What Didn't, and Goals for 2015

12 Minute Athlete annual review

One of my favorite bloggers and authors, Chris Guillebeau, makes it a point at the end of every year to publicly post an annual review on how he feels his overall year went.

His reviews focus on business as well as personal successes, failures, and future goals, and he is extremely honest in them—something I really admire, because as a fellow introvert, I know how hard it is to put your heart out there like that.

Anyway, I did something semi-similar last year, but would like to make it a yearly practice to look back at any accomplishments and failures from the year (both business-related and personal), as well as create some tangible goals for the upcoming year.

If you’re interested, great—if not, feel free to skip this one and move on directly to a workout. Either way, I’d encourage you to do some reflecting if your own—whether you do a more formal review like I’m doing or just make a few solid resolutions for the New Year, it’s a great way to reflect on past accomplishments, learn from mistakes, and move into the upcoming year with a positive, motivated, mindset.

Also, if you have any thoughts on what you’d like to see more of from 12 Minute Athlete in 2015, leave them in the comments of this post or send an email to [email protected].

Now for the review:

What went well In 2014

This was a pretty big year for me. More and more people learned about 12 Minute Athlete and we really expanded as a business, something I am just so proud and thankful for. I also felt like I really grew personally, gained confidence, and became a lot clearer on future goals and plans. A lot of good things happened:

Handstands – I made significant progress on my handstand, something I’m really, really happy about. While at the beginning of the year I could barely hold a handstand for 5 seconds, I can now hold one for 30 seconds or more on flat surfaces. I’m also working on being able to do a split, straddle and tuck while in a handstand, which is (slowly) improving.

Flexibility/mobility – I’ve made a real effort to focus on my flexibility this year, and stretch for 5-10 minutes pretty much every day (these are the stretches I do). As a result, I can now do a full split (not quite middle split yet though) and have had no major injuries this year, which is awesome.

Gymnastics – I’ve been taking gymnastics/acrobatics lessons for about 5 months now (after being in group gymnastics lessons for about 6 months), and it’s probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I’m working on handstands, front/back handsprings, headsprings, back tucks (flips), and more. Progress is slow (I can’t wait to show you guys when I can actually do something), but I am making progress and am having a lot of fun along the way.

12 minute athleteTravel – Although I’d ideally like to travel a lot more, I did make progress toward my dream of constantly traveling for both work and play this year. I went to conferences in Las Vegas, Austin, Denver, and Portland for business, made it back to Europe for the first time since living there, and took a lot of fun local-ish trips to places like Lake Tahoe, Monterey, and Venice Beach.

Home gym – I built my dream pull up bars in my backyard (or rather, I hired someone else to build them for me). I am SO excited. I’m also slowly building my ideal home garage gym so when it’s rainy or cold out I can use that instead.

100 burpee challenge – In March of this year, we launched a little monthly challenge called the 100 burpee challenge. At the time, I wasn’t sure how it would be received, but you guys have impressed me so much with your hard work and dedication! It’s still going strong and we have hundreds of people who do the challenge every month.

Android app – We launched an Android app this year! It took a lot longer than I’d hoped, and definitely wasn’t perfect the first time around (it’s soo much harder to make apps for all the different Android devices), but we did it.

Expansion – Although I started 12 Minute Athlete all on my own with zero help, its continued growth has made it impossible for me to do everything on my own anymore (a really good thing!). As a result, this year I ended up hiring several people, including Gretchell, my amazing and super quick learning assistant, photographers, app developers, UX designers, ebook designers, and more. This was a big year for expansion and I’m incredibly grateful for all the talented and awesome people I’ve gotten to work with.

Design updates – We made some pretty cool updates to the look of the site this year, including new cool photos, much more user friendly workout, videos, and recipe archive areas.

What didn’t go as well in 2014

I wouldn’t say that everything that went wrong this year was a total failure—I learned a lot of lessons and ultimately feel like I’m moving in the right direction with both my personal goals as well as my business ones. Here’s what didn’t go as well as I would have liked:

Handstand push ups – I did not accomplish my goal of being able to do freestanding handstand push ups this year. I have mixed feelings about this. Of course, I’m disappointed I can’t do them yet, but I’ve also learned so much about handstands and how much more technical they are than I ever thought when I made that goal that I feel like I shouldn’t be overly hard on myself about it. I’ll get there!

12 minute athlete appApp updates – I’d hoped to have many, many more app updates this year for both the iPhone and Android apps, and due to circumstances out of our control, there were very few updates to either this year. I’m disappointed in that, but we have a new plan for 2015 so expect big, exciting things next year.

Videos – Despite making an effort to do a lot more videos this year, I still feel like we didn’t totally figure out the right formula. Some of you want more full length videos, but they take so much time an effort to make that it’s hard to know if enough of you want them to make them worth doing. My gut is that many of you are like me and don’t like to watch full length videos – you’d rather know what to do and then just go do it yourself. Because the truth is that I’m never going to be a Jillian Michaels type, so if that’s what works best for you, you should just go buy one of her DVDs. So, I’m still not sure how to approach videos in 2015 (if you have any thoughts about it, please feel free to let me know).

12MA gear/apparel – I’d really hoped to create a bigger, cooler selection of 12MA apparel and gear this year, but just never made it a top priority so it didn’t happen. Next year!

Book – I did end up writing a 12 Minute Athlete book this year, but decided to hold off on trying to publish it until more people know we exist. This was a conscious decision and I’m confident it’s the right one, but I’m still a bit disappointed not to check this one off my list this year.

Accomplishments – I didn’t always take my own advice and got mad at myself often for not accomplishing enough in a short enough time. This led to bouts of feeling like a “failure” which is something in sure every driven person can relate to—yet an extremely unproductive and often just plain untrue way of thinking.

Personal connections – Although I’ve pointed out the importance of establishing and keeping connections with people, I didn’t do a great job of that this year. Although I did go to a couple of cool conferences where I made a few new good connections, and recently made a trip down to Southern California to visit new and old friends, overall my efforts have lacked a little, particularly when I’m at home in my usual routine. Part of this is a fairly natural introvert quality, since I tend to prefer having fewer friends with deeper connections. It also makes sense since I work quite a bit whenever I’m not traveling, and I work (and work out) best alone. But I do get lonely and crave human connections at times, and it’s frustrating I haven’t made a better effort at this.

Writing – I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad thing, but somewhere along the line this year I stopped thinking of myself as a writer and started thinking of myself more as a fitness person and business owner. This is bizarre and slightly confusing to me, since pretty being a writer was a huge part of my identity for the majority of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy writing if it’s a subject I care about, but don’t have the same passion for it as I used to. I’m not really sure what this means for me moving forward.

Family – My family experienced a very sad loss this year. This caused me to be pretty depressed for a while and really made me reconsider what’s important in life.

Goals for 2015

I have an endless list of business, personal, and fitness goals for the future, but I want to try to be mindful that I can only accomplish so much at a time. As a result, here are my limited goals for next year:

12 minute athleteApp – To add some really cool new features to both the iPhone and Android apps (in process)

Training – To get more consistent with my handstands, to finally be able to do a handstand push up (for real this time), to improve at levers, to do a front/back handspring, to continue improving my flexibility

Community – To continue growing the 12 Minute Athlete community by both letting more people know we exist and adding features and challenges to help you guys interact more with one another

Gear/apparel – To create some really awesome activewear and gear for you guys

Travel – To keep traveling as much as possible and to start planning a lifestyle where my family and I have a home base but also live all over the world

Events – To start putting together more meet ups and events to get cool and like minded people to be active and connect with one another

The 12 Minute Athlete brand – To keep growing the 12 Minute Athlete brand to help more people get fit and to let more people know we exist

What do you want to see more of?

What would you like to see more of from 12 Minute Athlete in 2015?

Changes to the app? More and different types of videos? New features on the site? Community challenges?

I built 12 Minute Athlete for YOU and to help change as many lives as possible, so if there’s anything you think could help improve the experience for you, please let us know. You can leave a comment below or email [email protected].

Thanks again for being so awesome, and have a very happy end of 2014!

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3 thoughts on “2014 Annual Review: What Went Well, What Didn't, and Goals for 2015”

  1. I’m a user of the app and primarily do 12 minute body weight workouts and the occasional challenge workout. I feel like the app tends to get stuck in a series of workouts and I shake it and shake it but just cycle through the same few each time. Is this my imagination or does only a handful of workouts pop up when you shake it each time?

    I tend to just replace an exercise with something I want to work on if I can’t get something I like but it might be good to be able to select the exercises you are willing or able to do and then create routines from those selections. For instance I am working out in a room where I can’t really work on a handstand push up and prefer doing regular push ups or reptile ones.

    Don’t know how helpful this is but it’s just some thoughts I’ve had after a couple of months working out with the app. I really like the workouts and the time commitment is right on for a working parent of two young ones.

  2. I agree with Mark and his comment above. I have been thinking that it would be nice to be able to choose the exercises that I want to do that day – especially to be able to plug in the exercises for the workouts that you post each day would be very beneficial.

    That being said, I want you to know that 12 Minute Athlete and the app have changed my life. I quit drinking about 4 months ago and have been using your app for 3. The app helps to keep me on track and to stay motivated! It’s also inspired me to purchase more equipment as I being to develop my home gym. Sometimes I’m a bit bored with the same old exercises and that has just inspired me to get some more slowly.

    I would like to thank you for all that you do and want you to know that you have been an incredible inspiration to me!


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