At the end of each year I like to take a bit of time to reflect back and think about what I’ve achieved, what progress I’ve made, what experiences I’ve had, as well as what I didn’t achieve or what I struggled with so that I can take the lessons out of it and know how to improve moving forward.
I’ve been doing this for a couple years now by writing it all down on paper, and I thought I might as well share this year’s review publicly here on the blog because it could possibly help or inspire others in some way, and it’s also beneficial for me because I can come back in the future and see how far I’ve come.
In general I don’t think dwelling on the past is all that fruitful, but at the end of each year it’s definitely a valuable thing to do. Here’s why:
- Success breeds success, remembering your wins will fuel more: A year is a long time, so it’s easy to forget all of the progress, improvements, and achievements you may have had. Forcing yourself to remember and write down all of the things you achieved or improved, no matter how big or small, will strengthen your belief, confidence and certainty that you can make things happen. By taking time to acknowledge and celebrate your wins you’ll be more likely to continue the upward spiral, because whatever consciously reward is more likely get repeated.
- Learn from any mistakes, failures and struggles: If you look over your year and there are some things you didn’t follow through on or achieve, it’s important that you acknowledge this and shine some light on it. Denial and not facing reality isn’t going to get you anywhere, you’ve gotta be real with yourself. But the good news is there’s always lessons to take out of every mistake, every “failure”, and every adversity or struggle that you went through.
- Zoom out and see the big picture of where your life is going: The end of the year is the perfect time to take a step back and truly think about where you are in your life and where you’re heading so that you can make any necessary adjustments. The journey to making your dreams a reality is never a straight line, and you constantly need to readjust your trajectory as you go.
So first of all I’ll list some of my successes, achievements and improvements I made in 2014 across all areas of life, and then I’ll go over some things I struggled with this past year and the subsequent lessons I’ve learned which you may find beneficial for your own journey.
Some of My Successes in 2014
Health & Fitness
- Achieved 8% bodyfat which is the most ripped I’ve ever been, whilst maintaining a lot of my strength and muscle mass
- Improved my typical daily diet even further than last year including incorporating green smoothies where I could, cutting out a lot of processed and sugary foods, and reducing caffeine intake
- Added more stretching, cardio, flexibility and core work to my weekly routine
- Started this blog in May, wrote 20 blog posts, and planned my long-term vision for it
- Built a new niche/affiliate site including writing 30 articles lengthy articles
- Improved my other niche/affiliate sites with various modifications
- Joined a quality business mastermind group
- Had my highest ever month of gross earnings online in December (over $14,000 USD)
- Had my second highest earning year of all time online
Personal Development and Habits
- Attended Tony Robbins UPW 4 day event in Sydney (see my review here)
- Meditated almost every single day only missing a handful of days
- Read and listened to some great new books and audiobooks (my favourite three for the year were The Millionaire Fastlane, The War of Art, and Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office)
- Recorded and practiced my first ever video blogs (unpublished)
- Attended my first Toastmaster meetings to practice my public speaking
- Practiced a gratitude exercise on many days (sounds cheesy but I can’t emphasize just how beneficial this is)
Travel and Lifestyle
- Traveled to and lived in 4 Australian cities: Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Sydney
- Met some awesome new people and had some fun new experiences around Australia
- Spent more time with family than in 2013
3 Things I Struggled With in 2014 and the Lessons Learned
1. Maintaining High Productivity Whilst Traveling
As a location independent entrepreneur who likes to travel around from place to place, it can be challenging at times to maintain consistently high productivity.
By the time you’ve settled into a nice working groove in a particular location, it’s time to pack and leave again for the next place. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving this nomadic lifestyle at the moment, but if you want to get a lot done whilst traveling fairly frequently you’ve got to learn to be flexible and become good at establishing new routines fairly quickly.
This is something I’ve had to get used to, and especially this year as I moved around quite a bit. What I’ve found helps a lot is to book a certain hotel or apartment for at least a few weeks at a time so that you can establish a nice routine for a decent amount of time.
2. Managing Multiple Online Projects
I’ve always been a firm believer in diversification online and not putting all your eggs in the one basket, and I’ve currently got 5 different online projects that I’m working on, not counting some of the sub-projects of those projects.
This has meant that I’ve had to learn a lot about managing my time effectively because with so much on the go at once it can be easy to fall into overwhelm which leads straight into its evil twin procrastination. If you’re an entrepreneur with a lot going on, time management is everything.
I’ve learned this year the importance of focusing on just one thing at a time, because multitasking truly doesn’t gel well with productivity. What I’ve found works for me is to only ever work on one project on any one particular day so I can focus all my energy into it without other projects getting in the way.
3. Embracing Uncertainty, Ambiguity and Moments of Self-Doubt
Whilst I have a long-term vision for my life and am clear about my overall direction, there’s always going to be a certain amount of ambiguity and uncertainty about the future and the details of how everything turns out.
This is especially true as an entrepreneur because you’re taking on more responsibility than the average person and you’ve got to make many decisions yourself (you can seek advice all you want but at the end of the day it’s all on you).
Along with those decisions comes a fair bit of uncertainty and ambiguity, which is something I’ve learned to embrace and accept as part of the gig.
Whilst a lot IS in your control, you can’t control everything and you can’t predict exactly how things pan out, so there’s no point resisting the unknown. Learn to enjoy it, it makes you more alive and makes life even more exciting in my opinion.
Self-doubt is also something that I’ve learned to accept and deal with, even as self-confident assertive people that us entrepreneurs usually pride ourselves on being. There’s a great saying along the lines of “if your goals don’t scare you, they’re not big enough” which sums it up well.
Absolutely everyone goes through stages of self-doubt, even the most highly successful or self-confident people around. It will always be there to some degree when you’re stretching yourself and aiming high, so learn to embrace it instead of resisting it, and most importantly don’t let it stop you or slow you down.
Have You Recorded Your 2014 Yet?
Overall 2014 has been a solid year of progress, growth and achievements for me across all areas of life, and filled with memorable new experiences. I have no doubt that 2015 will be even better and I’m excited to step it up another notch and achieve more, progress more, and experience more.
If you haven’t already looked back on your own year to take note of all your successes, achievements and improvements, as well as where you went wrong or could have improved, then I’d highly recommend you to take the time to do it.
Even if it’s something you’ve never done and if it may seem like a waste of time, I can assure you it’s worth it and can be very eye-opening for you. Write it down somewhere too so that you can come back to it in the future to see where you once were.
I hope you take something of value out of this post to help you on your own journey, and I hope that your 2014 was awesome too. If not, make sure you do what’s necessary to turn things around and make this new year much better.
A year is a long time so don’t waste it, make it count in 2015!