Each year, I conduct an annual review for myself to reflect on the past and plan ahead.
It covers a range of areas: Business, Spirituality, Relationships, Health, Nutrition and Travel
This time round, I’ve decided to share it publicly as a way of keeping myself accountable. Also to inspire you if you wish to do likewise in your journey.
To guide the process, I usually ask myself three questions:
- What went well this year?
- What didn’t go so well this year?
- What am I working towards?
2015 has been an incredible year for me – I’m grateful for the people I met and the opportunities that came forth. All this has served as a launchpad for 2016 and the coming years.
1. What went well this year?
Mastermind Group – This comprises of a fortnightly Skype call where we dial in to discuss our businesses – from overcoming sticking points to celebrating wins. Thanks to Simon and Ken for being great buddies along this journey.
Marketing Clients – I decided to take some clients for marketing projects. Not only did this bring in extra cashflow, but my skills as a marketer (and business person in general) improved exponentially. The benefits of learning insights from one project and applying it towards a challenge in another project have been immensely valuable.
Exercise – I discovered the benefits of investing time and effort into exercise. As my buddy Karim mentions “You don’t find the energy, then go to the gym. Instead, you go the gym to find the energy.” This has inspired me to take up physically demanding sports such as Muay Thai. Also in order to save time commuting, I will be setting up a home gym soon.
Nutrition – I hired a nutritionist for tailored advice. That is where I consistently drank green smoothie for breakfast, ate tofu quinoa salad for lunch and salmon salad for dinner. Mentally I feel much sharper and my body feels lighter. Combined with meditation = BOOMED!
Writing – At my peak this year, I was writing 1,500 words each day. This practice has allowed me to create many “bad” articles and a few “good” ones. Some of the good ones made it to Smart Company, General Assembly and Dynamic Business. Need to keep focused and continue working the magic.
Relationships – I made it a monthly practice to call back to my family, as well as contact friends frequently via whatsapp and facebook messenger. Massive improvement compared to previous years where I forgot to keep in touch for months and even years. Even something simple like sending a funny video or relevant content keeps the relationships alive.
Travel – My perspective on traveling has changed. While there is certainly value in traveling solo, I now use travel as quality time to catch up with friends and create shared experiences. In 2015, Rit Xu and I travelled to Krabi for a short 4-day trip. Having been busy with our own paths and living in different countries, it was a great chance to bond. I’m looking forward to more trips with more old friends – Familiar faces in unfamiliar places?
Volunteer – As part of service, I stepped up to a committee position in a not-for-profit group. Again, it was a year of experimentation where we tried different activities and appealed to different groups of the community. There were times where it was messy, key people were overworked with no clear end goal. So easy to give up. To walk away. But as a crew, we rallied and pulled through. The result is a rock-solid organisational blueprint that we will bring into 2016.
2. What didn’t go so well this year?
Recreation Groups – As large groups of friends left Australia for overseas, I realised it was time to make new ones. So I experimented with various meet-ups groups and hobbies. While the people I met were mostly great, it just didn’t seem to be a fit for my lifestyle or values. For instance, salsa practices ended late which inevitably conflicted with my morning routine. This has sparked my search towards communities where I can connect on a business or spiritual level.
“Always On” Mindset – I had adopted the bad habit of working even if I don’t have work to do. For instance, I might schedule an entire Saturday to complete work I could easily finish in 2 hours. So I waste time “inventing” work when I actually have more time for leisure. To combat all day working syndrome, I have started working in 2-hour chunks, then rest and review, then repeat.
Personal Branding – As a fresh graduate, creating blog articles and social networking were part of my efforts to land my first job. But my priority in 2015 was about turning inwards – Learning the ropes and clarifying my direction. With 2016 being an expansion year, it’s time to place personal branding as a higher priority again.
3. What am I working towards?
Mindfulness + Business Space – I feel like I came one full circle. In my early 20s, I was heavily involved in spirituality. Attending meditation retreats in the forest and even considered becoming a monk. Then I entered the business world to learn about hustle and entrepreneurship. Right now, I’m interested in entering the intersection. Thanks to George Siosi Samuels for inspiring with creative + culture intersection as his career focus. Possible avenues involve starting a blog or even a podcast.
Creating A Community – Back to my search for a community of individuals who share the same values. I’ve been inspired by the Orange Hive Community created Kaixin and her friends, where members learn about design + startups. Or what Jai Barkley has done to inspire generations of passionate salsa dancers. If a mindfulness + business community doesn’t seem to exist, it might be a sign to start my own.
Bioenergetics – When I was studying to be a psychologist, I used to be very interested in energy healing such as Emotional Freedom Technique. To complement my meditation practice and nutrition, I plan to dive into energy patterns as the next stage of development.
Overall, 2015 has been an incredible year of growth. The previous years have served as a period of apprenticeship, battling through the chaos and learning the ropes. It was messy, yet necessary on hindsight.
Now is time to thrive and make 2016 my best year (yet). Can’t wait!
Thanks to James Clear for inspiring me to do an annual review each year.
And thank YOU for reading. Do let me know if you decided to do an annual review for yourself.
Happy to trade ideas as always