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2017: Year in review

“Life happens for you and not to you” — Tony Robbins

“Live as if you were going to die tomorrow, learn as if you are going to live forever” — Mahatma Ghandi

These two quotes best sum up 2017 for me. 2017 has been a year full of experiences, learnings and adventures. As per usual I am a wiser and more fulfilled person. That said, there is plenty more out there for me to achieve and experience in life, however, I’m happy with the progress made in 2017. My mantra was to the most of every day possible and learn as much as I could. Furthermore, approaching life in a way where it is happening “for” me and not “to” me one of the biggest lessons I have learned in my life. For example, each and every situation this year, whether good or bad, has put me into a better position or has allowed me to learn something quite powerful. Moving house (due to a major flood) within a few weeks after coming back from a two week holiday is one such example.

Statistics

Here are some of the statistics/notable achievements I’m proud of:

  • Traveled to 17 unique countries this year (7 new countries and 35 total country visits). This is one of my core values and I continue to thoroughly enjoy exploring the world.
  • Read 77 books (included fiction this year to vary things up). That makes up a total of 200+ books read within the 3 years. This has been a massive feat for me given that I only read approximately 5 books a year prior to 2015. Some of the favourites for the year are “The Devils Bargin” by Joshua Green (Biography), “How To Own The World” by Andrew Craig (How-To), “From a Certain Point of View” by Various (Audiobook) and “The Godfather” by Mario Puzo (Fiction). See my GoodReads challenge here.
  • Read 200+ GetAbstract book summaries. GetAbstracts are 15 minute summaries of books which allow me to take in ideas, approaches and lessons learned in a rapid way. The range of topics has been incredible and I want to continue getting through one every working day of the year.
  • “#aphotoaday” Instagram challenge. It was both fun and thought provoking as each day I had to come up with a unique photo that I found interesting and could share with the world. I’ll continue this habit into 2018 which I believe will be harder given all the low hanging fruit has been photographed.
  • Lifecycle, SleepCycle, Exist, RescueTime are incredible applications on my various devices. They have helped me understand how I use my time and identify any correlations that I can take action on. One example is that I have tagged 146 hours of “waiting” time with LifeCycle. Most of this time is at airports or train stations as part of the travel I do for work. That’s essentially 18 days (@ 8 hours a day) that I could be using for reading, working and personal development (which I typically do use).
A breakdown of time spent by me for 2017. Note that I started using Lifecycle in late 2016 hence the exponential increase in 2017.

A breakdown of time spent by me for 2017. Note that I started using Lifecycle in late 2016 hence the exponential increase in 2017.

Goals

I had a number of goals I have completed this year. What I have learned late in 2017 is the real difference between a goal and a habit. For example, going to the gym at least x times a week could be a goal. I would rather have that as a habit so that it becomes part of my life. The same can be said about reading. It is not that I want to read 75+ books a year but more about fulfilling a goal of continuing to learn and grow. That’s a habit I have developed and will maintain for the rest of my life.

With that said, I still have hit on a number of goals. I have taken my first step into the world of teaching. I am now teaching monthly speed reading workshops for Iris Reading in London. It started in 2016 with webinars and how the business has grown into monthly workshops. I absolutely love teaching and want to build on this skill as much as I can.

The second goal is formal education. I completed my first of three courses with INSEAD as part of my attaining a Graduate Certificate in Global Management. This year I will complete the bulk of the requirement and I’ll have one smaller course remaining for 2019. The quality of the course and the calibre of students has both met and exceeded my expectations. Given my first course was in Fontainebleau, I’m hoping the second in Singapore continues this trend.

The third is the World Nude Bike Race in London. This isn’t something I document lightly, yet the metaphor is powerful. Throughout my life I have cared greatly about what people think about me which has had both positive and negative aspects. This year I have aligned more to what is important for me without this limiting belief hanging constantly over my head. One practical example is to do something way out of my comfort zone; i.e. riding around London with a group of naked people on a bike as part of a good cause. Suffice to say I was nervous, challenged and exhilarated all at the same time! I might even do it again in 2018!

The last goal is Toastmasters. I have been doing Toastmasters for over 15 years and it has allowed me to learn and practice aspects of many aspects of communication and leadership. This year I stepped into the role of Area Director. This role is to focus on a number of clubs to ensure members are getting results and the various clubs are heading in the right direction. The role has provided me an opportunity to learn about the greater world of Toastmasters and what this great organisation is doing to help people achieve in public speaking. This role continues into 2018 and I’ll hand over the reigns at the end of June.

Learnings

I mentioned how I have learned to differentiate between habits and goals. Doing an extra 1% every day compounds to a significant amount; do the math (and do yourself a favour and read James Clear’s blog post on the subject here! Whether that is an extra kg/pound in weights, an extra rep/set, 15 minutes of reading every day, a GetAbstract summary, they allow you to make progress, grow and achieve more in the long run.

I have also learned not to care what people think and to trust my judgment and to make things happen. My go to is plan and somethings get stuck in this vicious planning cycle. In 2018 I need to take more action and produce more output. More on that in the next section.

2018

2018 will be the year that I very much hone my habits and make them a part of every single day I’m alive. I throughly enjoy my morning routine (see previous blog post) as it helps me get myself setup to be productive for the day. My exercise routine has greatly changed over the last few years. I have a great balance and range of workouts whether that is a swimming, walking, weights, yoga, run or HIIT. My relationship with my wife Tanya has never been better, yet we both know that it will always need a continued focus every day.

I also turn 40 this year. Therefore I set myself a goal of writing a book while I am at the age of 40. It will be about my life so far, what I have achieved and what I have learned so far. Writing a book is no easy task, however, I am very excited about this goal and intrigued as to what the output will look like.

The last goal is to get more opportunities to speak in front of audiences on the topics I’m passionate about; health/wellness, productivity/self-development, public speaking, travel and technology.

Bring on 2018!

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