My Review Of 2017 — Lessons And What To Focus On For Next Year

My review of the last year - lessons and what to focus on for next year

If you were to review the last year, how has it been? What went well? Did the year go as expected? Was it better than expected, or worse? What can you learn for the next year?

These are questions I’ll ask myself during the review. I’ll also go through the new years resolutions I set at the start of the year. Not in detail, but take out some important lessons I’ve learned from setting my first new year resolutions (and maybe last ones).

Finally, I set what I’ll focus on for 2018.

An overall review

2016 was my best year in my life; 2017 was not the worst, but maybe one of the most challenging year since I turned 20. Overall I have been happy, but I’ve also been stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, and went into a short but deep depression.

2017 threw a lot of obstacles and challenges on my self-esteem, my worth, and my identity. I haven’t recovered fully yet, at the same time, I feel more in control, more alive, more aligned, and more fulfilled now at the end of the year than I was at the start of the year.

Last year I did took a test at one of Steve Pavlina’s workshops. The results show you how well you’re doing in various areas of your life. At the end of 2017, I retook the test; below is a comparison of the results 🙂

 

 

As Steve Pavlina mentioned during the Conscious Life Workshop last year; (paraphrased)

Everything that isn’t a nine or ten is effectively a one in desguise.

What he means with this is that it’s so easy to settle for something around seven or eight, whereas a nine or ten is miles away from that eight. I can agree with him, but on the other hand, I also think it’s good to keep a track record and see if you’re moving in the right direction or not towards those nine and tens.

Work: A disappointment (9 -> 6)

What can I say, my satisfaction with my work went from a solid nine to a six. I expected this year to be my breakthrough year, but no breakthroughs as far as the eyes can see; I haven’t released any products, and the business hasn’t generated any income.

What has changed since last year? I decided to fully switch from game programming to my personal development business. The migration has been a harsh ride because I’m a good and confident programmer and I love programming. So switching to something else I’m a beginner at wasn’t easy.

But to be honest, that isn’t the real problem. One obstacle for me has been that I self-sabotaged myself whenever I’ve been closed to releasing a product (games, apps, coaching, and courses). This has made the year feel like I’ve been standing and stomping on the same spot the entire year. Which, of course, I haven’t. I have published a lot of articles and written around 70,000 words this year. Still, I’m no closer to getting an income from my company today than I was a year ago.

The second obstacle is that I don’t see the problems in my business as fun. Programming problems are fun. To come up with neat solutions that you can test almost directly, that’s fun. But I can’t do that with my personal development business yet. Probably because I have the wrong perspective, but I also don’t have enough skill and experience to implement one of those solutions quickly; not taking into account that I don’t even know if it’s a good one or not.

The final obstacle is that with programming I get instant feedback. If I’ve implemented something correctly I can see the results. I rarely receive any feedback from my articles, and it takes time to create products. It’s true that I can see that more things are coming together for a product, but I have no way of evaluating if it’s good or not; i.e., if I’m making progress or not.

Lessons learned from work

For the coming year, I have to focus on one thing, one product, and not continue to something else before I’ve ‘released’ that and it’s working fully. For the coming year, I will focus fully on coaching. Not until I’ve managed to make the coaching work will I continue with my endeavor of creating courses which is what I’d love to do. But to do that I also need some coaching experience so that the coaching won’t be in vain.

I also know from experience that I like coaching people, and the problems that present themselves through coaching are fun and challenging. Besides, if I’m a good coach I’ll get feedback from those I’m coaching meaning I’ll get social interaction in my work and not just sit home all by myself.

The main obstacle I can see is doing it, not creating a perfect plan, nor trying different places, but sticking to one good enough plan, trying it out, and then refining it in ONE area.

Finances: Good investments (6 -> 8)

My finances have really gone up over the year. For the last five years, I’ve been more and more in control of my money and I’m good at investing. At least I think so, and my account also says so. I’ve almost never worried about money, even though I haven’t made an income and my money started to dwindle I know that I can easily take a ‘regular’ job and I’m confident I can save money and regain a safety buffer again within a year or less. But somehow money seems to come to me, except generating an income through my business.

And that’s what’s missing, the safety and fun part of making money from my own company by contributing. While I can gain money from investments I don’t create any value in the world.

Body: Creating good routines (6 -> 6)

While I rated body the same as last year, I have better routines today and I can see how I will score a nine at the end of 2018. One of my new year resolutions was to run 46 of the weeks which I completed successfully. 46 weeks out of 52 is my personal best of keeping an exercising habit.

What’s more is that after I got my Monkii Bars, I’ve started strength training outside as well. So now I both have cardio and strength, and the best of it is that both are out in the ‘nature’, and I love exercising outside 🙂

As of today I regularly exercise four to six days per week. I’ve been keeping up with this tempo for two months now 😀 I don’t have the initial motivation I had in the beginning, but as I’m starting to see the benefits and as the workout is fun it’s a lot easier to continue.

My next step is to finally get a consistent sleeping (and thus eating) routine. But also to eat healthier, meaning more vegetables in my food and more varied, but even less of the unhealthy processed foods, especially with processed sugar in it. I already have a healthy breakfast habit (chia pudding deluxe), so that’s taken care of 🙂

2018 was also supposed to be a year focusing on body and health, and it feels like this past year has been a great set up for that, and I might make it a secondary focus since it seems to be going well already.

Mind: Less challenging and fun problems (9 -> 7)

The most prominent cause for ranking lower on ‘mind’ is that I don’t find my business and personal development problems as fun as the programming problems. But also that I didn’t have as many stimulating conversations this year.

In 2018 I won’t be focusing as much on the mind directly, but approaching relationships and work from another point of view, so I estimate that it’s going to go up to at least eight again by the end of next year.

Energy: Thank you, exercise (6 -> 8)

While my energy has been low this entire year, it’s currently very high (thus why I ranked it at eight). Most of the energy boost comes from the regular exercise I mentioned in the ‘body’ section.

Another source of energy probably comes from eating supplements (vitamin B, D, magnesium, and omega-3), and having brighter lights in my room.

I’ve also noticed that I tend to be more sluggish if I take on my sweatpants and shirt, instead of jeans and a regular t-shirt and sweater. I also tend to work less efficiently during the afternoon. Mornings and evenings are my productivity hours. But evenings are usually scheduled for other activities than business.

It would be nice to try the Wim Hof Method again and see if I can get even more energy, but if I start with the Wim Hof method, my mourning routine which already is around two and a half hours will become even longer.

Love: Experiment with sexuality (9 -> 7)

While I ranked love lower this year than last, it’s subjective. Rather than going down it’s standing still. Or to be more accurate, I’ve noticed some areas which I thought was great was me living in sort of denial. Some areas of love have gone up though. I find it easier to tell my girlfriend about crushes, and even starting to open up about my vulnerabilities again. At the same time, there are a few areas that could be higher 🙂

Apart from that, I’d also like to experiment more with sexual relationships with more people. One fear I’ve had for a long time (but lived in denial) is sexual encounters—probably why there’s never been any progress on having a threesome. At the moment I feel like I want to experiment and dive into that fear so that instead of being fearful, I can act confidently.

Social Life: More extroverted than I thought (5 -> 6)

My social life has increased in 2017, especially in the last two months.

I always saw myself as an introvert, but recently (in Am I An Introvert, Extrovert, Or A Little Bit Of Both?) I discovered that wasn’t the case. I’m right at center between introversion and extroversion. The crux is that I can quickly tell when I need to have some alone time, to focus on my projects. But I have a real hard time knowing when I’m low on social (extroverted) energy. Thus I often end up staying home too much and because I’m low on energy I think I need to rest even more when I should be hanging out with friends.

Thus I have decided to actively pursue hanging out with my friend more than the last few years. To be specific, two to three times per week, either one-on-one or in a group. I’m not entirely sure how to fit in this social activity with the rest of my life. I do have time; it’s just that I don’t know precisely when, how, and where I want to meet. Maybe I would want to visit or have visitors over on a monthly basis? How will that chime in with having a second partner though?

There are a lot of open questions in my social life, and I’ll try to experiment some to see what works and what brings the best experiences and fulfillment to my life 🙂

Family: No connection (4 -> 4)

The family has always been my weak point. To be honest, I haven’t tried to connect with my family. We’ve had some interesting talks and such, but I feel like they live in another universe than me. We all think and act so differently.

To be honest, I’m not sure how to approach the subject, if I even want to have more contact with my family or not. I want to, I just don’t know how, or it’s a bit scary.

Home: Still in a student room (5 -> 6)

Still living in a student room, so I’m sharing a kitchen. But I’m more at home now than I was a year ago. I still want to live with my girlfriend in an apartment just the two of us, or even better cottage village 🙂

Depending on how things go (financially), we might want to buy an apartment this year. Otherwise, I’m adding this to the backburner.

Technology: Whoopie doo! (10 -> 9)

I have almost everything I want technology wise. The only thing that’s missing is a PS4 Pro with VR and a steering wheel for Gran Turismo Sport, oh and new laptop as mine is almost seven years old now 🙂

This Reality: Self-centered (6 -> 7)

The reality I’m living is a bit too much self-centered for my taste. But I still like the challenges life has thrown at me. Severe seasonal depression, not knowing what I want with my life, anxiety about work, overwhelming feeling, and a lot of stress.

Now at the end of the year (at time of this writing), I can say that 2018 has a real potential to be the best year of my life, and probably will. It feels different. I feel committed to living. But I also know I’m not entirely committed in all areas of life yet, like my business. It’s more like I don’t know how fully committed to my business looks.

I can also feel that this universe is on my side, wanting me to live a fulfilled life.

Fun: All work, no fun (8 -> 6)

Well, not exactly. I have played A LOT this year. But while it has been fun, it hasn’t been fulfilling. I love playing games as the games I play often require a lot of thinking, strategy, and problem-solving. Even shooters as I want to play in the most difficult setting (because I like the problem-solving aspect).

But the focus this year has been on work, being productive, and making progress; and I forgot to have fun during the process. That’s something I want to change for the coming year. I want to have fun working, but I also want to make my life more spontaneous, fulfilling, and to have great experiences.

This leads me to the next section of the review process. Namely…

80/20 analysis of 2017

This is the first time I’ve done an 80/20 analysis of an entire year. After the summer I did an 80/20 analysis of my summer leave in How To Enjoy And Spend Your Leave Time.

To quote from the article what the 80/20 analysis means.

I learned this method from Tim Ferriss episode on what he learned in 2016. At the end of each year, Tim looks into his entire calendar (day to day) and see which 20 percent of activities, experiences, or people produced 80 percent or more of his most positive emotions and outcomes. For the next year, he makes sure to schedule in more time on these activities, experiences, or with those people.

Moreover, he looks at which 20 percent of activities, experiences, or people produced 80 percent or more of his most negative emotions and outcomes. This method helps Tim remove or spend less time during the next year on these activities or with those people.

Below is a partial summary of the analysis, i.e., I want to do more and less of in 2018 🙂

What I should do more of in 2018

A common theme is doing things with my friends, especially playing board and video games. Maybe even put some extra effort into playing video games together since I do that so rarely.

What I was most surprised of was that I love to plan projects and games with other people on topics I’m deeply passionate. This got me thinking of creating a team for the business and working together.

I also noticed that spontaneity is essential for me to feel good. To come up with an idea, and at the spot then take action on it and not plan everything.

Having lots of conversations with my girlfriend about what we want, what I want, but also about various topics 🙂 And cuddling lots of cuddling too 😀

Having deep conversations with my friends and calling a few of my friends over the phone, not just asking them through Messenger.

What I should do less of in 2018

Filter through more TED-talks and podcast episodes (I don’t have to watch and listen to all of them!!!). Listening to episodes I’m somewhat interested in is a waste of time. While there might be something worthwhile in each episode, it’s better if I listen to episodes I find interesting rather than trying to “catch them all.”

Attending events because of loyalty. Yesterday, I was with a group coaching call with Steve Pavlina. There he talked about not being loyal to friends, family, but instead honoring your standards and time. This got me thinking. Some family events are not fun in my opinion. I’ve always felt the need to go to them, but I could as well skip them. On the other hand, if I freely go there I’ll most certainly create a better time. If I expect it will be boring, it most certainly will.

So in the future, how can I influence these and other events to be fun, and fun for everyone?

Eating 80/10/10 raw vegan. I’ll never do that again xD But I might try a regular raw vegan trial, that seems quite yummy 🙂

New year resolutions review

As I had a lot of new year resolutions this year, I’ll go through some of them in detail and the most important lessons I learned from having resolutions.

Completed resolutions

  1. Open up on 100 days to my girlfriend. Open up = tell something that I find hard to tell. (Only completed about 60–70 days, but after a while, I ran out of things to open up about as it became too easy. I could’ve gotten more days though since there were still a few things near the end of the year, I felt scared of telling)
  2. Cure my fear of rejection
  3. Go on a shorter hike (2-3 days) with my partner
  4. Find or start a personal development group
  5. Do 3 excursions to new places this summer with my partner
  6. Socialize at least 40 of the weeks (44 completed)
  7. Socialize one-on-one at least 20 of the weeks (22 completed)
  8. Run at least once 46 of the weeks
  9. Exercise 20 times with Monkii Bars outside
  10. End my gym membership in January
  11. Do a 30-day raw vegan trial (although I only did 20-days since I had to end early I still did it)

Uncompleted or abandoned resolutions

  1. Find a second partner
  2. Go to 15 dates with different people (abandoned, made me focus on the wrong thing)
  3. Ask random people until someone wants to take a fika with me (abandoned, wanted to do it for the wrong reason)
  4. Earn $3000 in a month
  5. Publish 1 ebook (abandoned, too unfocused, only focus on one thing)
  6. Have 1 workshop (abandoned, too unfocused)
  7. Publish Voider, the game (abandoned, would take too long to finish. Switched all focus to my personal development business)
  8. Find a new way to contact business X to sell my app
  9. Have a threesome
  10. Take part in a speaking contest
  11. Bike and see all the streets that I haven’t been to yet in Lund
  12. Take part in the Berzerk obstacle race (abandoned, didn’t get my Monkii Bars on time and would not make it)
  13. Complete the Wim Hof Method course
  14. Get up at 6:30 am 300 out of the 365 days (117 days completed)
  15. Record one second every day (abandoned in September. While it’s fun to watch I focused on trying to remember to record and was not present in the moment)
  16. Dive into water from 5 meters

Lessons from the resolutions

The ones I’m most proud of is to run 46 of the weeks, cure my fear of rejection, and to start a personal development group 🙂

I had way too many things on my list, too diverse. I’m also not sure if making it public was a good idea or not, I want to share them to get some accountability but not praise over the goals I’ve set to myself as that lowers the probability of completing a goal.

So for next year, I’ll have a small list of things I want to focus on and accomplish. These will be my new year resolutions. But I’ll also have another list called “experiences I want to have and things I want to do”. This list is more an ongoing list that can be changed anytime. This allows me to invite spontaneity into my life and not stick with an experience I wanted to have nine months ago. Rather choose an experience I desire at the moment.

Focus for 2018

Finally, we’ve arrived at the last part of review process. Namely looking ahead and what I want to focus on for the coming year.

I’d like to keep it relatively simple this year. I’ll have two main focuses for this year. One business-related; the other, personal.

For my business, I will focus on coaching.

As I mentioned before, I want to get a coaching business up and running. Not until the coaching business is up and running and generating a good enough income will I start working on other projects. So everything I do this year will revolve around coaching, even if in the grand scheme of things I want to create courses with a team. Coaching is, however, a modest and relatively easy first step in that direction.

In my personal life, I will focus on sexual exploration.

During 2017, I ‘cured’ my fear of rejection, at least when it comes to talking to people. I feel confident now, even when things don’t go as planned. Maybe not fully confident to start a conversation with a total stranger anywhere and anytime. But I’ve been nudged in the right direction, and it only feels like a matter of time before that becomes a reality.

My sexuality though is another matter. I do feel confident having sex with girlfriend. What I lack is courage to try new things, be spontaneous, be in the moment, and express myself fully.

I’d also like to try out new sexual relationships. It took me a while to accept (6 years). Even though I’m poly and have wanted to have several intimate relationships, I still felt that it was wrong for me to have that. As I’m writing this, I’ve accepted and embraced that part of me and want to make that a reality. I do feel scared, as I previously have frozen whenever the opportunity has arisen, and I’ve actively self-sabotaged any such opportunities as I’ve been too afraid of having a sexual encounter for the first time with someone. I want to feel confident whenever a sexual situation arises.

An underlying theme: Go-giver

The underlying theme for the entire year though is on being a go-giver. Someone that focuses on providing value for others. So whether it’s coaching or sexual experiences, I’d want to create an awesome experience for the other person (which in turn will make my experience great).

Secondary focus for 2018

Apart from my two main focuses I also have two secondary focuses on my personal life. These serve more like reminders to myself. As I’m more extroverted than I thought, I’d like to be even more social this year than the last. Practically this means seeing or talking to friends two to three times per week 🙂

I also want to continue my journey to a healthier lifestyle. For me this means staying with my current exercise routine, eating even less processed sugar, sleeping and eating at regular times, and experimenting with different food.

Conclusion

I’m glad for 2017, and all the lessons it brought me. And I’m eager to see what experiences 2018 will bring 😀

I also must say that doing these reviews helps a lot to take an honest and truthful look at my life, what areas I’d want to focus on and improve.

Last words

The next article will be about the process I use for reviewing my life. It’ll be a lot less text and fluff, and easier to follow if you want to review your year.

What are your lessons?

What lessons have you learned in the past year? I’d like to know, so feel free to share them in the comments below 🙂

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