Belated Birthday Resolutions
It's now seven years of doing this. Every end of the year. I could say it's habit by now. Butcha know what? It ain't. I love reflecting and setting goals. Ironically, these resolutions are not about the end goal. They are about the process.
I revisit my list goals, briefly, every month, to remind my future self why I do what I do. Having goals that are achievable actually keeps us going.
And yes, I know Dan Gilbert tells us not to share our goals because we'd be less likely to achieve them. That may be true on average. It may even be true for me.
But what I can tell you, for sure, is that your mindset, values and beliefs are going to determine who you are much more than your cognitive biases.
All you have to do is be aware of them. Daniel Kahneman would agree :)
Thanks, previous years!
What are the most amazing accomplishments of 2017?
- Growing the consulting business (by a lot!) with even more future potential!
- Feeling more settled in Colorado (a house, a long-term partner, friends, fondness of winter and general vibe).
- Traveling to 2 continents for the first time: South America (Brazil) and Africa (Morocco). This is no small thing while having a partner, running a business and moving!
- Taking some quality me-time during these trips and treating myself better than before (although there's still room for more).
- Being more proactive with my social life, e.g. making friends through Couch Surfing, kite surfing, or just online
- Sending out newsletters (to 1000+ people).
- Managing multiple connections, coordinating variables in personal and professional life.
- Investing in my inner/spiritual growth, working on my insecurities.
- Training as a yoga certified instructor, highly related to above.
- Balancing work and personal life. This is still a challenge when you own your own business, so I'm giving myself props!
- Dancing. Dancing solo. Dancing with people. Learning a bit of Forro in Brazil.
- Integrating well in my second year in Colorado.
- Going back to Romania and feeling loved and loving towards my friends.
What adversities did I face?
- Traveling alone felt lonelier this time. Probably because I spent a third of my year traveling solo.
- Having the spare tire stolen along with a bit of other stuff (welcome to Brazil...)
- Jealousy and some sort of attachment fear. I'm still processing this, so I don't have too many details to share.
- Exercising self-love when I'm alone. That's why this is a goal for 2018 ;)
- Working too hard in November and December. That seems to carry on from last year. This one's getting a goal too.
- Still got tension in my body. Mostly during the times when I was working too hard, or stressing about stuff, and not taking the time to meditate or exercise.
In 2017 I aimed for:
- Live from the heart
- Mentor and write more
- Mental and physical growth through adventure and spirituality
- Build something
- Travel to new continents
Live from the heart
This year, I lived from the heart so much more that I cried, laughed, felt fear and anger and gave myself permission to be imperfect. I'm also proud to be working through my fears, and remember any childhood beliefs I may no longer hold...
I still blame myself quite a bit, and I get in my head too much when it comes to anxiety, fear, and anger. That is homework for 2018.
Here's what I did well:
- Laughed a lot more! I set a reminder for this (every two weeks I think?) and every time it came up I felt pretty good about it. It's been a conscious effort. I was even sore from laughing many times. I seriously thank my partners and friends for their laugh-inspiring lives! :D
- Felt more. When it comes to jealousy, fear, and anxiety, I definitely felt more. The best times I handled it, I didn't blame myself, I helped myself be present, accepted these feelings as they arose, maybe meditated, read, or exercised. I also didn't blame myself, and I saw the end in sight--that emotions don't own me, nor do they define who I am. They are simply a part of my self.
- Adventurously connected with people! I mean, I went to a Brazilian Carnival. And traveled alone for almost a third of the year. And made a pen pal. And reconnected with people I haven't spoken to in years. I also connected with a high school crush and that had its own set of realizations. So much good stuff!
- Explored communities. I felt so good going back to California and bonding with old time friends. Also bonded with a Couchsurfing host in Brazil. A hotel family also in Brazil. And two couples in Morocco. I feel that I have made some lasting connections through that. I'm excited to find a community in Colorado, too.
- Empathized more. I've been practicing this with my partner, my business, and my friends so much more this year. It's been tiring at times, and mostly extremely rewarding!!
Not so well:
- Did not learn about humor (carryover from 2016). I started a book on it perhaps last year, and never finished. 2018.
- When it comes to fear and anxiety, I'm not so good about accepting them. I try to analyze them ASAP and they seem to just get worse. 2018.
- Have more patience for my own emotions, especially anger (anger naturally adds a sense of urgency). 2018.
- Find a community in Colorado. This is kind of already underway... What I hope for is more outdoorsy/hiking/nature/exercise/active people.
Overall this woulda been an A+ if I could love myself more, and be more patient with myself as I truly accept something. I think as an overall skeptic and analytical person, I tend to accept things with difficulty--it ain't easy to persuade me to believe, to have faith.
Mentor and write more
Great year for business! A lot of the bullets I laid out have been at least attempted, and many succeeded.
The biggest grade drop comes from not having a mastermind group AND not writing. If I had done at least one of those... But hey, at least I mentioned the group to a handful of people.
- Subcontracted a couple times. Small projects. It went well!
- Mentored subcontractor, partners, and engaged in joint projects with my fellow consultants.
- Collaborated with other people (JG, PT, my brother, people during travels).
- Joined and was active in a couple of networks and made connections. Helped other friends find freelancers.
- Delegated as much as possible to an office assistant. Looking forward to more of this.
- Wanted to continue subcontracting, but didn't make it a priority. 2018.
- Didn't write much this year, professionally or personally (I mean, this is the only personal post!). It's actually a big sad poop. 2018.
- Didn't join any kind of mastermind/regular guidance group. This is actually a priority still. 2018.
Mental and physical growth through adventure and spirituality
The "big changes" I felt coming in this area mostly materialized around an inner realization:
- I am a leader. I am confident. Either I know the way, or I know how to go about finding the way.
- I am strong and I can attempt anything and likely succeed.
- I value my health and my body, and my body is finally ready to put on some muscle.
Overall I would grade this a bit higher on the spiritual side. The physical side needed more attention (e.g. when I was working too hard). So I got docked.
- Increased my focus on some less-enjoyable things. Also increased my focus on just being present.
- Practiced patience in sexual endeavors.
- Added spiritual elements to my life using solo dancing and journeys alone.
- Kitesurfed being really present: a beautiful, long downwinder in Brazil. A day on a 13m in strong Morocco wind, didn't get hurt and also had fun!
- Did a bit of cleanse (greens-centric).
- Reduced tension in my body when I had quality, non-stressful time.
- Bought weights and started using them. Also started working out at home.
- Bought a yoga pass
- Didn't meditate regularly in the second half of the year. Basically since my partner moved in and started work. Habits can get lost in change. Luckily, they can be rebuilt.
- Didn't really build much muscle. I seem to be much better at building strength. People were surprised by my strength for how muscular I looked. 2018.
- Didn't buy a yoga pass until the end of the year, basically. Same for weights ;)
- I miss guided meditations. They sometimes add a spiritual dimension by making me appreciate/inquire/be grateful.
- Would still love to host a group meditation. 2018.
- Would love to experiment with intermittent fasting, but not sure this is worthwhile.
- Bounced around some product ideas.
- Learned more about sales.
- Learned more about building products by consulting on them :)
- Didn't actually start building or reaching out to people for validation
- Didn't get anyone to try it out.
Depending on how you look at this, a C- is kind of a failure. But it's not an F! I did actually take steps and make an effort towards building something.
One thing I did build, that was not professional at all, is making a house a home. And taking spiritual and emotional journeys--building within myself. Those can be celebrated ... somewhat separately from this goal :)
Travel to new continents
I guess when you love something, you prioritize it. And this is something I really love. Some things changed this year in regards to travel--for example, I am a bit weary of traveling for so long without company. Simultaneously, I've grown so much through my travels, and that fuel is likely to keep me going.
- Set foot on South America and Africa for the first time. Two continents I'd never visited before! Ah, and so it begins...
- Traveled solo for 2 long trips and a few short trips.
- Learned about Brazil from a CS Brazilian lady--a smart doctor, hehe
- Learned about Morocco from a Moroccan-French couple. Also had to learn some French to understand them. Also learned more from various locals I met through travels, including in silence in Abdullah's Cafe.
- My hosts helped me leave my kite gear in Essaouira. I leaned on them to help me, which was uncomfortable, out of character, and so rewarding. <3
- I felt a lot of compassion for a lady with a child and a messy life who liked me, liked sex, and was ashamed of who she was.
- Had a wonderful revisiting experience in Romania, felt loved by my friends, and my parents and partner too.
- Made some connections kitesurfing in Brazil (friend I stayed in hostel with, friend I did downwinder with) and Morocco (yoga in the desert!)
- Had a pretty good work/travel balance while I was traveling. Excellent, in fact, I rarely missed my deadlines, and perhaps even worked too much. My trips were long, so I still got a lot out of the travel experience, and being just me.
Mint in box:
- Worked a bit much overall this year. Only during certain periods.
I just want to quickly revisit 2016 and note any progress :)
Grow my revenue by 50% with future potential
- [+] Company revenue grew beyond expectations this year! This is a huge plus!
- [+] Better understand what clients really want: delivering value. Pushing forward their priorities/bottom line.
- [+] Set ourselves apart somewhat more (with React and React Native work)
- [-] Still did not launch targeted landing pages
- [-] Still want to produce more content
Treat my body with loving kindness
- [+] Got more flexible through yogic journey/certification
- [+] Much more consistent about stretching during the whole year, and exercising towards the end
- [-] Still pretty inconsistent with meditation
- [-] Want more exercise and strengthening, muscle building. 2018.
Engage an audience of 1,000+ people
- [+] Done! People tell me that they read the newsletter :)
- [-] Want to improve content/engagement rates.
- [-] Want to establish credibility
Work and travel productively
- [+] Still doing really well. It's challenging at times, but with significant improvements!
- [+] Increased spending on my health, especially during times at home in Colorado
- [+] Got a big kite and kite bar (used, in good shape)
- Could use forcing functions a bit, but generally need them to work less, not more.
- [-] Didn't get fins (for Cali). Learned to ride really well without them though. And I used fins in my trips abroad.
Treat my relationships with loving kindness
- [+] Was even more empathetic and patient than previous years.
- [+] Worked through some SHIT!
- [+] Let go of anger and frustration even further. Still a bit to work on.
- [+] Slowly building new friendships...
- [+] Learning about my fears and wounds, examining them, saying yes to what arises (thanks, Tara Brach!)
- [-] Fueled my fears, and didn't manage to nurture myself through a few sleepless nights.
- [-] Still blaming self. No need to blame at all.
- [-] Still want to learn about humor
2015 reminders for 2017
- Traveled to a new country (South America)
- Went to Romania and Africa
- Continued building a network for business leads
- Join a mastermind group
- Building muscle through exercise (weight lifting)
If it was December 2018 today and I looked back on 2018, what would I want to celebrate?
Last year, I wanted:
- A Deeper spiritual inspiration / inclination
- B Stretch and strengthen: get more massages, do more yoga, do weight or bodyweight exercise
- A Deeper understanding of (universal) love, while having naughty fun
- C Build something with my brother
- A- Delegate, delegate, delegate (hire an office assistant or something)
This year, I'm going to do something different. Spice things up a bit, ya kno? 6 goals, up to two total with secondary goals. These goals are a bit less overwhelming, so it feels OK to have six.
- Self love and confidence. Work through fear and jealousy.
- Do not overwork myself. If I do decide to work more, make sure the rest of my life is in alignment with it, and I have the support that I need. This year, I didn't always have the support I needed when I worked very hard.
- Take legit time off. Like I am now.
- Gain some weight, serious muscle and treat my body well. Live in it. It's my first home. Be present in it.
- Subcontract and otherwise grow my business. Attempt some slightly scary challenges here.
- Travel. Alone and with company.
- Build an active lifestyle with friends in Colorado.
- Give. Give. Give.
P1: Dedicated Self Love Practice
If I was a 3rd party witness to myself, would I approve of how I treat me? The idea with this goal is for me to feel confident in my abilities to be a lovable social being.
- Spend quality time with myself. Fully absorbed and present in something I do. The only condition here is that it can't involve staring at a screen. Occasional TV/movie is OK.
- Write. Journal for myself. 5 minutes a day or 20 minutes a week.
- Read 10 pages per day. From a book, articles don't count. One of them could take me on a spiritual journey.
- Dance/breathwork, 4+ times in 2018.
- Examples of things I might like: exhausting myself physically through exercise, getting really into something brainy that was fun/creative, meditating or otherwise spiritual journeys
- Have patience, kindness and compassion for myself. Avoid pushing myself too far. Say no when someone is asking too much.
- Sleep, even if I'm feeling jealous, insecure, or otherwise afraid.
- Feel confident in my worthiness of being loved, respected, and treated well. This starts with my own behavior towards myself
- Accept reality. Embrace anger and fear. Let them go and feel reality as it is. Stop fighting it.
Ultimate goal: To feel like a healthy adult. Of course there will always be room for improvement, but if I can accept reality, as it is, then my suffering will diminish, or even disappear :)
P1: Gain Weight and Strengthen
Basically, I have been slowly losing weight in the past 4 years. I hit a record low when I was vegan, and then only slightly climbed (<10 lbs).
In 2017 I started building up strength and muscle by buying weights and signing up for yoga. This all happened at the end of the year, so now's the time to follow through.
- Gain 10 lbs of muscle. Mostly in my upper body. Absolutely OK to gain fat, less than the muscle :)
- Exercise 3 times per week or more. This includes any kind of 20m+ exercise at home, if I am fully present and pushing my body
- Weight lift regularly (2+ times per week)
- Strengthen through yoga and keep my muscles balanced and flexible (1+ times per week)
- Continue to kitesurf
- Maybe rock climb, dance, hike, backpack. Add some sort of activity. Once a month is great.
- Accept that my body can take up space. More space than it does today. It is OK to weigh more and hold space!
Ultimate goal: To feel more confident in my body. To put on some weight and maintain my flexibility.
P1: Bold Business Changes
I also want to call this Work Health Philosophy 2.0.
This is for sanity and growth. To own a successful business, I believe one must recognize when to work smart, and when to work hard. Hence, this year I am building in incentives to work less, and to earn more with the time I do work. I also want to focus on producing content.
- Have a minimum, average, and maximum target of work hours per week.
- Take 4 weeks off, or more.
- Move to weekly rate for 2+ months.
- Blog once a month. If not, produce attractive content.
- Subcontract 2+ projects for 2+ months.
- Mentor, mentor and delegate. Let go of control or desire for everything to be perfect.
- Add 1+ case studies and 1+ testimonials to the business site.
- Practice selling or roadmapping.
- Take regular breaks during workday (5m every 90 min or less).
- Nap 10/20 minutes.
Ultimate goal: Act like a successful business owner. Earn enough while leaving time on the table (instead of overworking).
P1: Travel alone and with company
I really want to travel with a special someone this year. It's hard to plan this all myself, so I'm leaving it more open ended. But here is the gist.
- Travel with partner/friend for 1 month+. Or longer.
- Learn what it's like to travel together.
- Explore USA: national parks, cities.
- Don't work at least one week while traveling with company.
- Travel alone and don't work for at least a week simultaneously.
- Kitesurf in one new place.
- Visit one new city.
- Do a cooking class.
- Explore nature in some new way (scuba dive, hike a tall mountain, backpack, kitesurf and return to a different beach, etc)
- Experience new things in new ways that I can't predict right now.
Ultimate goal: Experience travel in a new way.
P1: Give time, money, or both
This is a P2. I really believ I can do this one well though, and at the same time I don't want to overdo it. This year, as every year, I've been presented with the opportunities to give. And I'm feeling readier and readier.
- Donate $5K (or) volunteer for 30+ hours (broken up into chunks OK). These are not necessarily equivalent, just what feels right.
- Each month, give something to someone that's totally unexpected. Maybe even a stranger. Could be worth a dollar, could be worthless, could be worth a hundred quid.
- Recognize that with some clients, I am giving. Either by charging them less, or helping them more than I signed up to do.
- Give to my partner in ways they need.
- Unconditionally love someone through a tough time for them, or a tough time for me if they are part of the reason.
Ultimate goal: Make an impact on someone's life. Feel the joy and fulfillment that comes with giving unconditionally.
P2: Build friendships and lifestyle in Colorado
I like Colorado a lot, and I've been so in-and-out with travels and relocating, that I haven't felt very settled. And things are starting to change. I think this goal will just naturally happen, but it's a good reminder to have it laid out here :)
- Find 1-3 active friends.
- Find regular physical activities I enjoy doing: dancing, rock climbing, yoga, weight lifting.
- Explore Colorado, check out a new place/thing per month.
- Find evening things I enjoy doing and that fit my values/lifestyle.
- Learn to relax and be more patient in social settings.
Ultimate goal: Integrate and build a home and a social life.
To a nice, long year of being present!
Thank you 2017!
- Building a long term relationship and living with them
- A house!
- Building friendships, in CO and otherwise
- Getting closer to my parents and brother, feels so heartwarming!
- Great business, great fortunes financially and professionally
- A healthy mind, body, and spiritual growth
- Moar feelz
- Faith in things I cannot control
Happy new year! To being healthy, happy, safe in a warm home! To loving and feeling loved!