Looking back (An annual review – 2014)

This is my second annual review but first one which I’m publishing on my blog publicly, you can access my last year’s review on my Evernote here. Last year after writing my annual review i got a sense of purpose and a reflection of whatever I’ve done in the last year. This gave me a chance to take stock of what went good and what could have gone better and the way forward.
In this year’s review I’ll try to look back on the accomplishments from the last year’s list. This way I can analyze my performance and the processes I’ve adopted. This will help me perform better in this new year and i shall try to do better on the new good habits that I’ve included in my lifestyle but also get rid of the bad ones which I still have.
After last year’s review I’m consistently tracking my progress on various aspects of my life and that way I felt more control over my life, which was merely there earlier. Last year I had adopted to work more towards the process of doing things instead of focusing on the goal. By far I’ve achieved better than ever before towards the goals I seek in my life. Last year I’ve read somewhere that to inherit good habits, one should continuously do that task for at least 3 weeks and then it becomes a part of your memory (or may be muscle memory in case that’s a physical task). So I’ve tried experimenting this with a few things i do or i want to do in day-to-day life. For example, to include exercise in my daily routing, i was struggling badly. But since I’ve started doing something (running) which i love in the form of exercise and made a process which helped me not to miss it. I formed a habit of daily waking up at around 7:30AM and run the daily errands and then slip into my shoes and reach the society (where i live) gate. By doing this i got myself out of bed and forced myself to reach till the gate. If i reach the gate then I felt less urge to go back up to my apartment and i could go to my running track and do a running session without any hesitance. I continued it for almost 4-5 weeks until i faced an ankle injury. But by this i understood how to form a habit and go on with it. Now after healing from that injury I’m continuing my running with the same habit.
So the essence of it is that I had followed something which i had included in my last year’s resolution and was successfully able to form a good habit which eventually kept me more fit and healthy. So two goals achieved in one trick. Ain’t that good?While making this habit I also found one more existential answer. When we do a group activity, we tend to compare ourselves with others. Which is a very natural thing in human beings. But if we see it the other way around, we always want to live up to the expectations of others.That’s a real existential bummer of all times. Our biggest competitor is our own self. Even though it’s healthy if we compete with others in various events and aspects of our lives but still we tend to do it in an unhealthy way. So the point is, first we should compete to our own self, to our own past performances and be better on it. Then we may compete with someone else. Comparison of ourselves with others seems totally irrelevant at times. We should compete to ourselves and push our own limits first before taking on somebody else out there.So that’s what I’ve learned while focusing on process instead of the goal in last year. So again there are 3 questions that I’m going to answer in my review this year as well.What went well? What didn’t go so well? What am I working toward?Alright, let’s get to the point.
1. What went well this year?
Writing – This year I’ve written more than last year, I wrote more than 20 blog posts about habit, life and behavior. I’ve written a few poems as well, most of them I’ve shared on my blog as well. Although some i couldn’t publish because they were way to private for a public blog. But yes I’ve achieved much more than last year on the writing part.
Blog – Last year I’ve got my blog a custom domain name – ‘himanshusachdeva.com‘ I’ve also put some efforts in the customization of the website so that it become more cleaner and readable for my readers. I have kept a schedule for myself to do a blog post every Sunday. However I stumbled in doing so for few months in third quarter. But fortunately i was able to bounce back in the last quarter. I’ve put my heart in the content I’ve written, so I guess that’s what has kept it going.
Fitness – In my last year’s review i had a resolution to become more fit and loose few kilos to come under my healthy BMI. Though I was only few kilos away from my goal when i had started following a strict schedule of healthy eating and exercising. But i did more than what was required, hence I’m proud to say that I’ve lost around 8 Kilos (yes seriously!) in the last whole year by following a healthy routing and avoiding the unhealthy eating to the best I could.
Running – This was also a resolution in my last year’s review, hence i had put serious efforts towards this. First i gained some scientific knowledge on how to begin with it, then with the help of fitness/run tracking apps like Strava, Nike+ Running and Runtastic, i was able to get to a good running pace. When i started in earlier last year i couldn’t run more than few minutes continuously. But today I’m able to run more than 10KMs in one stretch. I also participated in a 10KMs race (Raheja Green Run 2014 at Borivali national park) and was able to finish strong with a pace of 8:00 Mins/KM. I have also participated in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon on 18 Jan 2015 this year and looking forward to finish my first ever Half Marathon race under 2:45 hours.
Living – This year I’ve moved from my old apartment to a new apartment which is better than the old one in ways i couldn’t imagine. Sense of security and well a reserved parking did well to amaze me here. I’m feeling pretty great at this new place and the locality. Though the new apartment is in the same city but locality is way too better than the old one and it’s a newly developed area so it feels like a breath of fresh air there.
Learning at work – When i switched to new job in Feb 2014. I had no idea that i’ll be put in a whole new profile in my new job. But it happened in a good way. Though there were testing times for few months when i was just learning everything from the ground up. But today i feel whatever has happened was for good. I got to learn few new technologies like Unix/Linux, Apache web server, shell scripting and got better on few technologies i already was working on like Oracle, JIRA, MS SQL server, windows application developments. More over as i my role have banking technology domain, I got a whole new view of business and the business technology. So overall it was a pretty great from the learning aspect.Driving – I became better at my driving. I drove around 10000 KM in the last year. I would say best way to become better on anything is do it again and again. That’s the only way to sharp any skill. Repetition will be your best buddy on the skill enhancement journey. More over when you love that skill, you tend to put more passion on become better. So that might have helped me as well, cause I love driving. In the new year I wish to drive more 15000 KM.Outdoor trips – In the past year the first half was not quite outgoing. But in the second half I did 3-4 trips. Most of the trips we drove down to places like Daman, Kolad, Lonavala and Bhivpuri. The last one was with family and earlier three are road trips with friends. I also went twice to my hometown. It was all great exploration thought out all these trips. Met a few new people and cherished the old ones. Though It gave a taste of adventure but at the same time it gave the sense of responsibility while steering the trips. I’m really looking forward towards the new year to add much more places in my bucket of exploration.
Mindset – As I said in my last review I would focus on the process in this year instead of the goal, I tried to make this shift happen. What it taught me is that when shift your focus from the target you want to achieve to the path you have to follow to get there, than comes the moment of contemplation. That’s the moment you realize that even though that goal is there for you to achieve but you can only achieve it if you start and take small steps to make it there and while doing so you also start enjoying your spectacular now. I would work to carry on with this mindset in this new year as well.
Finance – Apart from all the intellectual things which come and go through my mind. One thing is a background process which consistently keeps on jiggling in my mind and that are my finances. Although I give a lesser priority to money than knowledge compared my contemporaries, but still the life I want to live would only be possible with few fortunes full of wealth. I know it sounds crazy but slouching in a cozy sofa listening to a live acoustic with a beautiful companion by your side on a private island must cost a good fortune. Shouldn’t it? Anyways, what I feel is how much wealth you accumulate is totally proportional to how bold you can become in risk taking but thoughtfully. This last year I had started on my journey to that private island (I’m not sailing right now :D) let’s see how I roll in this new year.
2. What didn’t go so well this year?
Guitar – This was in my last years resolution list and I’m sad to say I did not do any justice to my guitar. Since when I moved to the new apartment I didn’t even bothered to get it out of the shell. I really feel bad about it but this year I’m not putting it in my top priority list and it shall rise up if I may strike out some priority things. But my insane love for music remains the same. Specially western pop, rock and Indian alternative music.
Entrepreneurial efforts – This was an important thing in my last year’s to do list but due to my day job it has taken a back seat. Though I wanted to work on new ventures and make something reasonable out of it but the last year did not go so well in that part. In the new year I want to make things happen. I have many ideas which I want to make into reality and I want to make it with the available resources. Hopefully 2015 will be the year to achieve on this endeavour.Staying in touch with family and friends – I feel so bad for not being able to see my family more often. Last year I was able to visit them just twice. Though we are constantly in touch with each other over the phone or other digital mediums but still a physical presence means much more than the virtual one. In this new year I wish to get my family to live with me (which is a really optimistic task) or else visit than more often like 4 times at least.Photography – 2013 was quite a great year for my photography endeavors but 2014 haven’t been that great even though I had been on quite a handful outdoor trips in last year but I was barely able to do a trip centered on photography. In 2015 I want to break out and take photography more seriously than just a mere hobby.
3. What am I working toward?
So where am I going with all this thought process? What’s the motive behind all this? Cutting out on unnecessary things and thrive head on to the path of life i want to achieve while making little stops time to time for looking around and admiring the beauty of NOW. I want to take some comfort zone challenges. As the great blogger and writer of The 4 hour work weekTim Ferriss has mentioned that if you want to be comfortable on doing some uncomfortable tasks the first thing you should do is expose yourself to that fearful or uncomfortable situation. You may make a fool out of yourself. Do it again and again and so on until your anxiety go away. Then you would be able to face your fear the next time head on without any fear or anxiety. I recently saw a TedX session where the speaker was speaking about the kind of thing. He told that he took Tim’s advice literally and made it into a challenging task called ‘comfort zone challenges’. One day, he went to catch his train as he usually did but instead of getting in he lied down on the floor for 30 seconds in the middle of the rush hour. What he did was his greatest fear but as passing by people looked upon him, his fear and the feel of anxiety went away as the seconds passed by and after thirty seconds he was out of his fear zone.
Now look at this act from the other way around, what he did was – face his fear. Exposing himself to his fear of what people will think about him? As he did he found out not much people even bothered to look at him, a few who did were rater amused by the act than anything else. So he was able to conquer this fear of his and went on to become more confident. That’s what he calls a comfort zone challenge. In this new year I would want to do a couple of comfort zone challenges myself. I want to break free and face my fears head on.Secondly as few of you may already know, I’m an aspiring writer. So I want to make shift myself as a pro in this field. Write more. Edit more. Become better in both aspects. For these two to happen of course I’ll have to read more. I also want my blog to be a happening place to be for my readers. So this new year will be a step forward towards that.
The Bottom Line: I don’t want to be perfect. I want to be a better version of what I am today, which will be through learning more, traveling more, experiencing more and doing things which are right. I’m having my experiences and learning from them. I’m happy with whatever I achieved in 2014 and I’m pretty excited to look forward to 2015. This year is going to be – more writing, more blog posts, a consistency in whatever I do, achieving more towards my entrepreneurial goals, keep up my fitness, do more for my family and love my near and dear ones.
I want to live by the famous quote of Eleanor Roosevelt.
Do one thing everyday, that scares you.
Thanks for reading.
…Himanshu
P.S. Feel free to use my annual review as a template for your own.
Note: Thanks to James Clear for inspiring me to write this Annual Review last year and this year I feel motivated on the reflections of last year.

 

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