Belated Birthday Resolutions
- Final reflection
I suppose my age is a magic number of sorts now. Every year I like to ask why I keep doing this. I've been writing these birthday resolutions for 9 years in a row! It's something to be proud of. I always hope to write more, but being able to have this one consistent post per year is truly rewarding.
This journey usually begins before my birthday arrives, and I take time during the month of December to reflect on the past and ponder what I want for the future.
Goals for 2019 were business-free, and ironically I worked and the business grew a lot. Overall, there was a lot of growth: personally, emotionally I feel more mature and balanced. Physically perhaps I'm most concerned about my posture and strain on my head and neck, and that's a focus of this year's goals. I also feel that family is taking more of my focus, and that seems likely to continue over the next few years... Reflecting on how this past year went, it involved a lot of travel in the first half of the year, and not enough time solo or in quietude. The second half was more focused on muscle gain and time to myself, with more energy into the business than I'd like, leaving little room for personal growth. Q4 things calmed down a bit, as they often do, and that made a difference.
Past: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012.
Thanks, previous years!
To which accomplishments of 2019 am I giving a shout-out?
Extensive and amazing travel experiences. From January to June, I was away 70-80% of the time. That's a lot of travel! Visited 10 countries in 10 months altogether, and most of it with a partner. And all this while maintaining an income and work hours. There's a lot to celebrate here!
- Colombia was my top favorite destination: kitesurfing, amazing food, beaches and mountains, and very affordable.
- Ate lots of passionfruit in most of the countries we visited.
- Macchu Picchu / Inca Trail hike was a memorable and sacred experience, covering more than a marathon distance.
Business growth. Uplift grew tremendously, and we managed larger projects than ever before, had more clients, and more diversified income. This put some strain, but a lot of reward. Really grateful for our clients and our team, and excited for more in 2020!
- First employees.
- Leading large projects.
- More people on staff.
- Delegating more, learning about management.
- Drafting culture, values and mission.
- First ever team building / offsite.
Personal health. I really succeeded at gaining weight and muscle. Though I don't look it, I feel it. Also ate really well, and consistently got massages 2-4x/mo for a few months. Found a chiropractor I really like.
- Regular gym attendance for about half the year - 2x-3x per week consistently.
- Nutrition: focus on quality food, nutrient dense recipes, reducing plastic use.
Playing games with family and friends, spending quality time with them. It's great having the family together!
- Periodic get-togethers. Tho I'd like a few more!
- New and old games, playing and collaborating!
Trips to California for myself/work have been really fun!
Financial perspective: growing my income, updating my portfolio, giving more than before.
What adversities did I face?
Intense travel can be exhausting, and at times it felt like a drag, not an adventure. Mostly because I worked more than anticipated. For 2020, travel is more spaced out!
Business growth challenges, at times it was stressful to manage the workload and ensure everything is going smoothly. This was easier than in the years before, and I do feel that Uplift is maturing.
Muscle strain / soreness and headaches. Headaches happened more this year and I'm trying to get a handle on it as part of the physical goal for 2020.
For 2019 I wanted to:
- Honor my body and mind
- Connect with intimacy and healthy sexual energy
- Experience the lightness and delightness of being
- Just Fun! Play freely and creatively
Honor my body and mind
Overall this went really well, but I did fall short with aerobic exercise, and resting/stretching/meditating.
- Wake up without an alarm
- Sleep when sleepy and before midnight. There's room for improvement here for sure, but there were long periods of consistent sleeping before midnight too.
- Self-care: regular massage, stretching and yoga. Definite yes on the massage, less so on yoga and stretching
- Gain 5-10lbs of muscle. Check!
- Invest in work environment during travel. Check! Paid attention to where I would work for each place we rented.
- Sleep earlier, wake up at 7-7:30am.
- More yoga and stretching. Perhaps 20m yoga, or yin, over nothing.
- Exercise 150m/week. Probably achieved it some months, but not consistent at all.
- Meditate 10-20m daily. This had lots of gaps too. I had a meditation tracker at first, but then dropped off.
- Journal 5m daily. Started the year strong then dropped off.
- Invert. Did not do it most of the year. Though it overlaps with the neck pillow, which I did a lot more.
Connect with intimacy and healthy sexual energy
Overall this is great, and I'm happy and grateful with the progress! There's room for a bit more which is not surprising, adding this next year.
- Connecting. With kite community, travel communities, guides, hosts.
- Intimacy with my partner and other connections.
- Quality time with family, though I'd like a bit more.
- Monthly sexual build and release.
- Mentor at Uplift. Absolutely! Over the course of projects, as well as around the team building.
- Read a book about healthy sexual expression and living a healthy sex life.
- New sexual experiences. There were some, but not really proactive.
Ultimate goal: To share love, teach and learn, be present, and experience healthy, growing, sexual energy.
Experience the lightness and delightness of being
I feel pretty great about this, looking at the list. Lots of amazing experiences, delight. Room for a bit more adventure and more me-time.
- Experience each place as-is. There's room for more, but I made a conscious effort, not to judge and keep an open mind. It was an amazing year in terms of experiences!
- Find genuine people: I remember at least a few during travels.
- Take inspiration from nature, extra time to look.
- Experienced nature during travel, lots of hikes!
- Eat local: found local eateries during travel, and in Colorado as well!
- Took a cooking class in Colombia and one in Peru.
- Did an Escape Room in Colorado as part of Uplift's team building.
- Went snowboarding and glass blowing.
- Took me-time at home, and really enjoyed it!
- Pray 15m once a quarter: kind of a random goal. I did pray, but not with this pace in mind.
- Did not scuba or snorkel.
- Would like to experience more of Colorado's nature.
- Did not take much me-time on the road.
Just Fun! Play freely and creatively
I still acted more seriously than I want, and would like to exercise my creativity more.
- Games: board games, computer games, social games. This one went great!
- Added and enjoyed fun more fully.
- Didn't do much piano.
- Didn't write for fun.
A quick re-visit of 2018 goals to check in on what more has changed.
P1: Dedicated Self Love Practice
- [+] Did more reading. I don't recall how many books, close to 10?
- [-] Still want more dance and breathwork.
- [-] Still want to write / journal more.
P1: Gain Weight and Strengthen
- [+] Gained more!
- [-] Dance, though did a bit on the road!
P1: Bold Business Changes
- [+] Took plenty of time off. Guessing 6 weeks or so?
- [+] Moved to monthly retainer with hourly rate. This is close to weekly rate as everyone's rates were the same.
- [+] Continued subcontracting.
- [+] Mentored and delegated even more.
- [+] Roadmapping larger projects, with lessons learned.
- [-] Went over maximum hours per week quite frequently. I was really aware while this was happening though, which helped. 3.0 has improvements to this by designating a max time per day instead of per week.
- [-] Produce blog content.
- [-] Take breaks. I took some, but not regularly.
- [-] Nap. I still think this is beneficial.
P1: Travel alone and with company
- [+] Lots of the same goodies from last year!
- [-] Still lacking me-time on the road. Though I did take evenings to myself in California.
- [-] Still no solo trip without working. 2020!
P2: Give time, money, or both
- [+] Continued saving, donated more! Partially to partner, and other organizations. Learned from accountant that giving $3K or more is the break-even point.
- [+] Continued giving to clients, Uplift staff, and my partner!
- [-] Give time, volunteer. This is on the backburner...
P2: Build friendships and lifestyle in Colorado
- Still didn't make an effort.
2017 reminders for 2019
This is an opportunity to revisit the above and summarize yet again. But I'm not finding it as useful as I thought. Anyway, here's the summary of what to do more of:
- More stretching, breaks to rest my body, and yoga.
- Build something with my brother: started on this, and plan to continue. Excited!
- Produce blog content.
- Take a solo trip without working.
If it was December 2020 today and I looked back on 2020, what would I want to celebrate?
Going back to 4 goals was great. I could focus on each plenty, and it felt easier to keep them top of mind as the year went by. I revisit them every month. This year, I'd like to write an update once a quarter, and post it here, sort of a quarterly reflection, a post-mortem with helpful steps for next quarter.
Recap, goals at 75yo (2018):
- feel strong and healthy, be able to kite, run (physical)
- have a loving community (emotional)
- devote time to self care and others' care (physical, emotional, spiritual, mental)
- give (spiritual, emotional)
Next 3/5/10 years (2018):
- healthy body and mind (physical)
- loving community (emotional)
- always learning (mental)
- experiences (emotional, spiritual)
- home and travel (emotional, mental)
- finances (mental)
Recap present me (2018):
- healthy body and mind (physical)
- love and belonging (emotional)
- travel (emotional, mental)
- having fun, play, kiting, sun (emotional, mental)
- exercise and sexual expression (physical, spiritual)
- working through my fears and impatience (emotional)
Last year's high level:
- B Honor my body and mind. By end of 2019, I want to feel just as young as last year! This goal includes sleep as priority, strength, meditation, work environment.
- A- Connect with intimacy and healthy sexual release. Immerse myself in those shared moments, be they with a partner, a community (of kiters, travelers, family, friends) or mentorship.
- B Experience the lightness and delightness of being. During travel and at home, see the sacred in what is there, find genuine people, feel the spirituality of the land, explore nature. During travel, add-on me-time.
- B Just Fun! Play freely and creatively. By myself, with others. Games, creative piano, writing. Learn from play because it's fun.
Year before grades, updated:
B+ ← Self love and confidence. Work through fear and jealousy. A bit more self love this year, with room for more!
A- ← Do not overwork myself. Worked some long and stressful days this year to wrap up large projects.
A- ← Take legit time off. Like I am now. Did really well this year too! Though with the overwork, more would have been better, I took plenty of time off. Did not disconnect as much.
A ← Gain some weight and muscle. Treat my body well. Awesome improvement here! I gained perhaps 8-10lbs, at least half of which was muscle, and I can feel the difference. I also ate much more consciously and overall increased the quality of food (not counting travels, where instead I made an effort to eat plenty of good stuff).
A ← Subcontract and otherwise grow my business. Attempt some slightly scary challenges here. Continued this, grew even more. Took large projects and brought on engineers at the edge of our areas of expertise, with great reward!
A ← Travel. Alone and with company. Lots of travel! Mostly with my partner, but some on my own. I would like to do a solo trip in 2020, and a silent retreat.
B+ ← Give. Give. Give. Bumped a wee bit as I gave quite a bit more this year. There is room for more, too.
C ← Build an active lifestyle with friends in Colorado. Still a fail. Partially because first half of the year was lots of travel. I did go snowboarding twice, but not with new friends. Would like to make another friend or two, in FoCo area.
Trying something new (again!), this year's goals are in 4 themes divided by the four bodies (ref?):
- Physical: Revitalize
- Emotional: Feelin in my bod
- Mental: Work Health Philosophy 3.0
- Spiritual: Quantuition
I listen to my body attentively, and rest when I feel strained. I give my body what it wants to be full of vitality.
- Muscle stretching 2x/week (yoga)
150 minutes of aerobic/cardio (ref). Ideally, vigorous-intensity (high)
- Examples: jogging, singles tennis, swimming continuous laps, or bicycling uphill.
- Start at home: resistance biking.
Muscle strengthening 2x/week (weights). Gain another 8-15lbs, at least half muscle.
- Chiropractic care x1/mo, massage x2/mo.
While at a desk, rest eyes, neck and shoulders every 90m (5-15m).
- Stretch, PT exercises
- Invert 10-20m every day (but even 5m beats none)
- Stop when my head or neck are in pain (esp. acute!)
- Nap in the afternoons. Just lay down for 30m.
Skin care: micro-needling, facial routine, hydration.
- Nutrition: just continue eating well, what I'm doing. Drink plenty of water.
- Get plenty of sleep (before midnight) and wake up without an alarm.
- Invest in my work environment, at home and on the road.
- Continue kitesurfing (10-15 days/year at least). Maybe try swimming, rock climbing or snowboarding.
Ultimate goal: To decelerate aging, and revitalize: feel strong, young and healthy.
Emotional: Feelin in my bod
I release emotions and channel them gently towards connection and fun, creative endeavors.
I broke this down into categories of sorts:
- Financially, from the heart
- Emotionally, intangible
- Read a book about healthy sexual expression and living a healthy sex life. (carryover)
- Explore deeper sexual energy, tantra, sustained connection.
- New sexual experiences.
- Dance, at home or occasionally out is OK for now. If time permits, go to a regular class?
- 2 new countries
- Take time off (at least 1 week per 2+ week trip)
- Skip Mexico kitesurfing trip, replace with another trip (e.g. Sri Lanka)
- Celebrate something abroad (e.g. NYE, birthday)
- Journal 5 min every day. How I feel before starting the workday?
- Release emotions: onto paper, voice recorder, or through a creative endeavor.
- Enjoy time in solitude. Relax, unwind, feel joy, breathe.
- Feel gratitude for my life: affirmations, mental exercises, shared connection with this intention (e.g. take turns with a friend appreciating).
- Waiting for the future to come to me and not worrying so much. Reminder to accept the present as it is.
- Listen with all my heart and focus 100% when others speak.
- Play: games - solo or multiplayer, parties with friends.
Ultimate goal: To express myself fully and stay connected to my emotions, ride them, and keep my heart open to other people. To feel good.
Mental: Work Health Philosophy 3.0
I exercise my mind with incredible focus, and step away to invite creativity. I lead with kindness and clarity.
The center of the mental body is my business. Leadership is a part of that. The second most notable mental aspect is to always be learning.
Work Health Philosophy 3.0
- Workdays are either 5 or 6 hours.
- Take at least 2 breaks of 3 or more days, with no access to work whatsoever.
- Be disciplined about staying off work late evenings (after 8pm) and weekends (75%+ of Sat+Sun).
- Invite creativity as often as possible. Take afternoons to do creative deep work, and value the opportunity for creative work above the usual.
- Focus on one thing at a time. Avoid frequent context switching.
- Set 3 main goals for each day, and under-commit. Leave room for urgent matters.
- Take breaks: avg of 10m every 90m (10%).
- Dedicated appointment day (e.g. 2nd Thu/Fri of the month)
- Massage 2x/mo (see Physical)
- Meditate in afternoons (see Spiritual, can start with 10m)
- Spend more time towards leading and organizing, and less doing the hands-on work.
- Learn about management, how to be a good leader, persuasion.
- Refine Uplift values, mission and strategy.
- Ask great questions!
- Dedicate time for improvements to internal Uplift process. 45m @ 2x/mo.
Creativity and writing
- Produce blog content for Uplift or myself. 1 article per month.
- Write for 1h per week, same day each week.
Get a career coach.
- Coffee shop getaway for personal goals. 1x/mo at least.
- Work on the house. 1 weekend day / mo or as-needed.
- Read at least 6 books.
Ultimate goal: To encourage a thriving, creative mind, and feel energized about my work and my intellectual pursuits.
I trust in the unknown, and allow the divine to manifest abundance and possibility through me.
The main focus here is to focus on the non-physical world and what that means to me (duh! that's what spiritual amirite?!). Intuition, meditation, solitude and space are key here.
- Develop and follow my intuition
- Less action, more thought and emotion (ref: Abraham Hicks)
- Wait for the future to come to me (law of attraction)
- Breathwork 4x/year
- Live in the present, in possibility, and embrace the unknown (Quantum mindset - Dr Joe Dispenza)
- Doing a 3-day meditation retreat
- 15-30m daily, working my way up to two sessions of 20m each per day
- One long (40m+) meditation session per week
Take a solo trip with intention of self-nurturing
- Try not bringing a laptop, writing on paper if needed
- Focus is self-therapy and self-care, whatever I need at the time.
- Examples destinations: hot springs, quiet cabin.
- Example experience: write, meditate, read a book, explore fears
Leave space in my life for serendipity, and doing nothing
- Time in nature and travel helps here
- Happy accidents arise from having non-allotted space and time.
Ultimate goal: To deepen my intuition, and learn more about myself, the world, and the miracle of life.
Thank you 2019! Happy new year, 2020 is such a round number!
To being present, healthy, happy and safe! To loving and feeling loved! To family!