“The journey is the reward.” ~Chinese proverb

I have a confession to make: I’ve never been very big into goal-setting.

It’s not that setting concrete goals, performing tasks like list-making or other such forms of “life auditing” are fundamentally wrong or problematic in-and-of themselves. Hardly.

However, the attachment or fixation to assessing the worth of our days, weeks, and even our very lives based upon whether and how we accomplish our goals can greatly detract from the enjoyment of the journey itself — causing us to lose sight of how often the pursuit is more important than the finish line.

Before we know it, we’ve missed, as the proverb above says, that the journey is in fact the reward.

The Decision: Annual Reviews

Lately, I’ve been trying to challenge myself to break my own mold. I want to redouble my efforts to expand my viewpoints and extend my boundaries of comfort. So, with 2010 coming to a close, I began to notice many of my online friends and mentors begin to discuss what they called “annual reviews,” essentially self-assessments on a variety of subjects, including business experiences, life lessons, blogging and writing lessons, and so on.

With me feeling a new need to set greater and much more specific goals for myself, my blog, and my writing in general, I decided to dig into my own self-assessments through a series of annual review blog posts that I hoped would offer some value to readers.

But I began to notice something peculiar happening.

I was dreading the process. Excitement and anticipation for this personal goal auditing — my first self-imposed year-in-review assessments — evaporated. Instead, anxiety settled upon my thoughts. My mood shifted. I felt like I suddenly forgot everything from the year that I had learned and experienced.

A part of my brain I fight into submission instead took over: my mind raced incessantly, that inner voice — the narrative dialogue within — rambled for hours attempting to scavenge memories of successes and accomplishments, shortcomings and failures, strategies and tips and warnings from the year-that-was.

What was this sudden and unfamiliar problem?

I couldn’t figure out how to measure, assess, or ever summarize what 2010 meant for me. I was trying to measure my unconventional year in conventional terms, as if it could be laid out neatly on an Excel spreadsheet. For me, 2010 was a great exploration of life, love and ego; a battle for inner growth in a society that quietly demands conformity of thought and appearance. 2010 was a journey of personal development and spiritual enlightenment, not in the solitude of a distant cave or temple, but amid and among this society and its people.

How could I ever express what I learned, what worked well and what failed in objective terms? Subconsciously, I knew that I couldn’t. And so this inner turmoil ensued, like soulful water refusing to mix with thick, burdening oil that had been long since rejected.

Enter: 2010 Renegade Reviews

Today, I awoke with a decision in my heart. My anticipated “Annual Reviews” would now become “Renegade Reviews.” Rather than weighing my year and judging myself in terms and by measures that seem completely unnatural to my personal mission and life’s aims, I’ll be taking the unconventional “Renegade” perspective.

Instead of noting arcs and dips of website traffic growth, I’ll explain how the ebbs and flows of my writing mimicked my life. Rather than list off my publications and guest-writing spots in print and online, I’ll share my strategy for catering style and subject to reach into the humanness of readers. Instead of blandly explaining how my blog has grown and developed, I’ll tell you exactly what not to do to make yours better, faster.

Above all else, I’ll share with you what I learned about life, compassion, spirit, forgiveness, and much much more. After all, this blog is about an exploration of life, our world, and it’s people. Starting Sunday, December 26, I’ll share with you everything that I learned in 2010.