in Musings

2014 Self-Reflection and New Year’s Resolutions

2014 Self-Reflection

This year was an eventful year, and one that I think marked a turning point for my personal growth. This will be the first year that I write one of these self-reflections and plan for the upcoming year.

I’m going to break it up by what went well this year (the good) and what didn’t (the bad).

The Good
-Graduated from university, said goodbye to formal education for now (possibly forever)
-Moved to New York and closed the long-distance gap with my girlfriend of several years
-Made reading a part of my life. Read 75+ books in total this year, after having read <5 the year before
-Started writing and publishing my work online, receiving tens of thousands of views and realizing in the process that I enjoy writing and thinking
-Began taking my personal and life development more seriously; realized that if I wanted to make the most out of my life, I had to drastically change my mindset, daily habits, network, etc.
-Discovered amazing virtual mentors through the likes of James Altucher, James Clear, and Michael Ellsberg
“Discovered” entrepreneurship and the concept of “choosing yourself” – realized life is so much more than the 9-5 grind if you allow it to be

The Bad
-Poor productivity/time management for the most part prevented me from doing more with my free time and made others wait for me
-Met relatively few new people both offline and online
-Didn’t travel outside North America
-Didn’t call home often enough
-Consumed far more information than I actually acted upon, i.e. low engagement with the books I read

Goals for 2015

I’m also doing something new this year by actually setting goals for myself and publicizing them. In previous years, I either didn’t bother setting any, or if I did, I kept them to myself but eventually forgot about them.

Publicizing my goals here will force me to be accountable for my actions and keep me focused on what’s important to me. I want to be known as someone who follows through with what they say they’ll do.

(These goals do not include my work goals at the startup I’m currently working for. I’ve listed those privately and am very much focused on those as well.)

By year end of 2015, this is what I’d like to have accomplished:

-Acquire my first rental property and lease it out, obtaining positive monthly cash flow
-Release a digital product of some kind that’ll generate recurring passive income (eBook, audio, udemy)
-Create another income stream through freelance work and/or selling the digital product

-Travel to two new countries for at least 2+ weeks meeting locals and immersing myself in the culture

-Reach 1,000 blog subscribers
-Spend at least an hour a day writing/editing
-Outline the non-fiction book idea I have; conduct and finish the initial research; begin reaching out to the people I’d like to interview; finish the first rough draft

-Gain 10lbs of muscle and get a 405lb deadlift on video (I’ve been close!); maintain a 315lbs squat and 405lbs deadlift
-Go to bed strictly before 12am on weekdays

Personal Development
-Attend a Tony Robbins conference
-Email someone new that has inspired or helped me or is just interesting once every week (i.e. reach out to at least 52 new people through email and try to build a relationship)
-Volunteer or mentor once a month
-Speak Mandarin more to my girlfriend and parents to practice
-Implement a “fixed schedule” to finish work by 5PM every day; improve productivity and spend less time slacking/web surfing 

Personal Entertainment
-Get Jimmy Fallon & Jimmy Kimmel live audience tickets
-Attend an EDM or live music festival/event
-Host a dinner party for friends
-Go skydiving
-Attend a Yankees game

The most important resolution I have this year is to implement the fixed schedule that will force me to finish all the work I need to do within that time frame, thereby drastically improving my productivity and reducing procrastination. If I achieve nothing else this year but this one major goal, I will be happy. But it follows that if I do achieve this, I’ll have a lot more time to pursue all my other goals – win win.

The reason I’m so adamant about this is because I’ve noticed this past year how unproductive I can be at times. There are literally days where I will sit at my computer, doing god-knows-what, look at the time, and two or three hours have gone by. I then wallow in my misery a little, beating myself over what I could have done during that time, and continue down that spiral of procrastination.

How I’m going to achieve this goal:

Right now, the first thing I usually do when I wake up is turn on the computer. I then browse e-mail, check social media and a few sites I enjoy, and then tell myself I’ll begin working.

The problem with this is it puts me on the defensive right away. I’m met with the various demands others have for me and often get lost in the distraction that is clickbait articles and trashy websites.

Instead, I’m going to spend the first half-hour of the day focusing on me. What this means is waking up early enough (and thereby going to sleep early enough) so that I have me-time before the work day officially starts. During this time, there will be no digital usage. Eventually, once this habit’s in place, I can ramp this up so I wake up early enough that I’ll have an hour or two to focus on me-related activities.

Theme for 2015

The theme I want to live by this upcoming year is to do things that scare me. To step out of my comfort zone, and embrace the fear of trying something new. I’ve realized that for most of my life, I’ve lived in a fairly sheltered bubble. I’ve even deliberately shielded myself from things that scare me in various ways, preferring the comfort of familiar faces and routines.

This year, I really want to break free from that bubble and put myself in situations I normally wouldn’t be in. I’ve set a number of lofty goals for 2015 because I know to accomplish them, I’ll have to scare myself in many ways. I’m going to ask those close to me to keep me accountable and be brutally honest with me when they sense that I’m trying to hide behind fear.

The bottom line: 2014 was a great year, but I know it’s only the beginning of what’s to come. I have no doubt in my mind 2015 will be an amazing year all-around. Let’s kill it.