“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.” ― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
As 2016 creeps to an end, I wanted to take some time to self-reflect on the past in hopes of slowing down the rapid passing of time – and consciously write the story for next year. It’s not that I have not squeezed out time here and there to reflect throughout the year – through means of journaling or experiments – but just like how a student despite having monthly or weekly exams still has to (and should) write the final exam to bring it all together; Likewise, below is my report card for 2016 – in which I graded myself for the full year – not just its best parts.
Let me first set the criteria against which I will evaluate and self-reflect so I don’t go too easy on myself – and neither should you. More specifically, I will;
Follow the “forever learning principle“ – which enforces staying close to the absolute truth regardless of how uncomfortable it may be as a biased review is not worth doing.
- Facts & Proof – I will use facts & proof wherever I can.
Evaluate the holistic picture – all aspects of my life – so I don’t overlook other areas of my life due to success in another.
- Rank – I will rank each area of the life by honestly answering the questions in the areas of life quiz.
- Commit to “Articles” (blog posts) for areas that need improvement for 2017. These articles will be posted in 2017. (Please hold me accountable for these!)
- How did I do overall in 2016?
- How were my Relationships in 2016?
- How did I do for Career and Work in 2016?
- How was my financial health in 2016?
- How was my health (mind, body, emotions and spirit) in 2016?
- How was my Contribution to others in 2016?
- How was my Spirituality in 2016?
- How was my Living Environment in 2016?
- How was “Planning my Life” in 2016?
- Going Forward into 2017
How did I do overall in 2016?
To answer that question, here is my report card for 2016 (against 2015);
|Category of Life||% Score (2015)||% Score (2016)||Quick Notes|
|Relationships||70%||70%||Lost a few close friends due to life events. Continue to nurture good friends and family.|
|Career and Work||70%||70%||Continue constant improvements in creating and launching products.|
|Finances||50%||60%||Paid off debt. Need to have a more secure financial future.|
|Health||70%||60%||Eating and Gym routine declined due to 9-5 work schedule. Aiming to get back on it with “planning your life” below.|
|Contribution||60%||60%||About the same. Continue to contribute by sharing learnings and donations.|
|Spirituality||70%||70%||About the same. Meditation requires more practice and “planning your life” below will help.|
|Living Environment||40%||70%||Made significant improvement from last year. Continue minor improvements.|
|Planning Your Life||50%||60%||Needs more Discipline. Must get better at planning and executing consistently.|
Reminder: As per point #1 above, the forever learning principle, I am extremely critical on what is above a 70% as its easy for me to give myself an 80%+ in any one of the categories above. I much rather score myself lower to continue to improve in each aspect than to get comfortable with it.
Now, I am going to deep dive into each of the above categories in the report card – but do keep in mind that many of these areas of life influence each other. For example, I know that improvements in “planning your life” will bring marginal improvements in health, finances, and career and work.
How were my Relationships in 2016?
Facts from 2016 about Relationships
- Lost Friends – Partially due to the shutdown of my startup and mostly due to other reasons – I lost two of my very close friends.
- Dedicated family time on weekends (mostly Sundays) for my big awesome family
Improvements for 2017 for Relationships
- Financial Well Being – Contribute and work towards personal family goals
- Childhood Friends – Keep in touch with friends that have been there consistently even when we did not talk for months or years…
How did I do for Career and Work in 2016?
Fact from 2016 about Career and Work
- Startup: I shut down my company
- Career: I started working as a product manager – something I have loved to do on my own and something that gave birth to this blog
Improvements for 2017 for Career and Work
- Career and Work is the category of my life which is my primary focus. The improvement in this category is essential to my progress and impact for other areas of my life – financial, contribution etc.
Articles and Blog Projects
- Forever Learning Projects: I will post more of the projects – which includes experiments and new projects that I have not taken on. Please keep an eye out for me updating and adding to the project page.
- Articles: I will post articles and notes related to my learnings in product management – which have been sitting on my hard drive. I hope to drive deeper insight into my work by these reflective articles
How was my financial health in 2016?
Facts from 2016 about my financial health
- Student Debt: I paid off the student debt (which left my back account quite empty) so I will continue to build my financial well-being in the near future.
Improvements for 2017 about my financial health
- Continue to excel in my chosen career field of product management so I can increase my learning and earning to impact other areas of my life.
How was my health (mind, body, emotions and spirit) in 2016?
Facts from 2016 about health
- Shutdown of my startup and losing a few close friends had its impact on my mind and emotions.
- My meditation schedule was inconsistent. I meditated about 10-20% of the year when the goal was to meditate daily.
Improvements for 2017 about health
- Improve: the synergy and balance between the mind, body, emotions, and the spirit. I do plan to write an article or an experiment to improve on this.
- Discpline: Continue the good eating habits and the gym routine
How was my Contribution to others in 2016?
Facts from 2016 about contribution
- Writing and Blog – My focus continues to share what I learn for free with people and offer advice anytime to my readers – so do reach out to me!
- Donation – I donate a certain portion of my income to charity to help. I hope to increase this as my income increases.
Improvements for 2017 about contribution
Articles and Blog Work
- As stated above, I will increase the amount of work I share with others and put out there for free. Also, I hope to increase the amount I donate to the people in need.
How was my Spirituality in 2016?
Facts from 2016 about spirtituality
- Meditation: Only done 10-20% of the time. I hope to increase that to 40%+ in 2017.
Improvements for 2017 for spirituality
- The improvements from “health” above should trickle down to this category as well.
How was my Living Environment in 2016?
Facts from 2016 about living enviroment
I spent significant effort to organize my home and work environment to have the following factors;
- Dedicated Workspace
All of the three factors above reduce distractions and enhance focus to do things that really matter.
Improvements for 2017 about living evironment
- Maintain the above standards by keeping the house clean and following the “inbox” experiment.
How was “Planning my Life” in 2016?
I saved the best (or worst performing) for the last because this area, in my opinion, has the most impact in all other areas of life. Given that I have constrained myself to not complain or blame others, I default to blaming myself – “all my fault”, thus, many goals that fell short in 2016 are a result of lack of planning on my part.
What makes “planning my life” extremely difficult is;
- Discipline – Waking up each time and still going to work out regardless of the challenges at work or personal. That is, to fall in love with the process on days where you have little motivation or running late.
- Execution – Get really good at making progress – focus and energy to deliver the results
Going Forward into 2017
Well, that concludes my year-in-review for 2016. I hope it serves as a food for thought for your reflections. I hope to still have many of you around for 2017!