Looking back (An annual review – 2015)

From past two years I’m doing an annual review of my life. Cause I want to pause and reflect back on my successes and failures of previous year and publishing it here in this Blog keeps me accountable for the next year.

Looking back (An annual review - 2015)

Picture Courtesy – Michal Parzuchowski [Stocksnap.io]

This is my third annual review, you can access my previous reviews here (2014) and here (2013). This year also I’ll answer three questions, same as last 2 years:
  1. What went well this year?
  2. What didn’t go so well year?
  3. What’s am I working toward?
Keeping yourself accountable is a great thing I’ve learned from several people in the last year’s timespan. Many famous Bloggers/Vloggers and authors have mentioned it, they’ve mentioned one more thing which is – “In-order to make yourself accountable, you have to let someone else be the judge”. I couldn’t do that as of yet, but it’s in my resolution list for year 2016. [I’ve compiled a new year’s resolution list as well, will be tagging that here shortly] This year I want to remove a few not so good habits from lifestyle as well. So making myself accountable for the actions i take will be a good start, so I’m gonna let some of my close friends who can be as ruthless as this task will require to punish me if I don’t do well in this task. So that’s gonna be interesting, only time will tell.
2015 has been the greatest year of my life till yet. After the last 2 Annual Reviews, this year when I kept record my doings and held myself accountable for things I was doing for myself I felt more control over my life, far far better than in any other year of my life. It was like in some way I knew where i was heading. From the learnings of the last year 2015, I’m finding acquainted with more knowledge about areas of life which were untouched earlier which eventually led me to be in a self aware mode. I was completely in the zone of doing things in the last whole year.
I’m keeping this post in 3 parts to avoid it becoming a really really long post (longer than my target of 3000 words per post). First part will be – ‘What went well this year?’ I’ll just keep the next two parts as to be continued. In-fact i just don’t want this post to read like desperately moving towards closure but want to make it really in-depth and insightful.
Lets cut to the chase. I hope you find it interesting.

PART – 1 of 3 – Looking back (An annual review – 2015)

What went well this year?
 
  1. Fitness – Fitness was the greatest agenda of my last year’s resolution. Last year has been an incredible year from the Fitness perspective. Last year I had become 72kgs. So I wanted stick around this weight only but loose some more fat and gain some more muscle. I’m proud to say that i was able to keep up the momentum, in fact i was consistent through out the year with my running routine. In the second quarter of the year I also joined Gym for 3 months to gain muscle mass and rip my body in better shape. I did cycling, running and Gym together and found myself in great condition. No anxiety what so ever, very very few sick days unlike previous year where at least more than a week was usually kept aside for sick days. This year i felt great, who likes being sick? Instead i liked kicking ass and rocking on the Fitness front. May be also inspired few of my friends to join running and become Fit.
  2. Nutrition –  Fitness routine cannot be isolated from a good diet routine. So last year was great on Nutrition front as well. I read more than ever on diets and nutrition. I wanted to educate myself before I try out the healthy diets. I’m a vegetarian so I had very few choices as far as a normal Indian diet is concerned. So I had to unlearn the normal diet routines i was following. I learned few important things about healthy nutritional routines.
    1. Don’t keep unhealthy foods even in your kitchen or house, cause eventually one day you gonna give up and binge over to finish those unhealthy snacks all at once.
    2. Give yourself a cheat day once a week, otherwise eventually you gonna break your own healthy routine rules and fall over the bad foods again.
    3. Track my meals. First 6 months of last year I was noting down all my meals [in meal trackers like MyFitnessPal (android app here, ios app here) and Noom Coach apps (android app here, ios app here)] in-order to track my macro nutrient components (proteins, carbs, fats etc). But for last 6 months I modified this tracking habit because of two things – First, it consumes a lot of time to track every single meal every single day! Second, sometime it feels like you are becoming a machine to jot down everything you engulf. Instead i did following to avoid tracking my meals. I keep on eating similar meals i was eating when i was tracking my foods, i just kept them alternating on different days. That’s how i could know without even tracking the meals that I’m eating right amount of the macro nutrients in my meals. But I also kept myself a cheat day, which is usually a Sunday. Still I don’t go bonkers on the cheat day. But yes i do binge on the restricted delicacies on usual days. Like brownie, fat bomb ice-creams, lattes, Gulab jamuns (Indian Sweet) etc . However whenever I’m trying out new dishes or recipes on usual diet days, I do track them for their macro nutrient components. Before it fits into my memory.
    4. I got introduced to a Vegan group as well. After interacting with them and eating those vegan dishes i found out that one can survive even without milk and get proteins from plant based supplements as well. Since then I’m trying to consider the vegan theme. But being in Navi Mumbai (New Bombay) where vegan stores and places are very rare, i found it pretty difficult to adjust in my usually hectic work and running routine. So, even though I’m considering to become a vegan, still I’m way too far from becoming one. That will be in my 2016 resolution lists. To turn vegan. Because I hate animal abuse and the ruthless non-veg food industry.
  3. Running – My last year’s major resolution was keeping myself fit by the means of running and other workouts. I like Gym routine, I love cycling as well, but it was running with whom i fell in deep love with. It has become a meditative practice for me now. I can’t even imagine myself not running anymore. My last year’s target was finishing 750KMs throughout the year. It gives me great pleasure to announce that i nailed the target. I finished 950+ KMs in 2015. It’s huge for me. But i want to explain this. As in last year’s review i mentioned that i fell in love with the process of reaching the goal more than the goal itself. That’s what was the key for me in achieving the feat. I never looked at the total number of KMs I had run. I was just considerate of not missing even a single of my training runs. Even though my work routine became pretty harsh while going into end of the year and yes after i completed my ‘200 days of Activeness Challenge’, I did miss a total of 7 runs in whole of my training routine set already. 2 of them were massive 25+ KM runs. But still i was able to complete the gigantic 35KM run on 27th December 2015. It gave me incredible boost towards finishing up my training for the upcoming Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon event where I’m running my first full marathon.
  4. Reading – Year 2015 was great for my reading last. In my last year’s review i mentioned how i was not reading enough even though wanted to. So this year i took a new approach for reading. In start of the year I was reading just single book, where as my goal was to read at least 5 books in the whole year. So as i approached the Q2 of 2015. I change my strategy and did an experiment. I started reading multiple books as the same time. This way i was avoiding the excuse of getting bored on a single book. Instead if i was bored from one book at a particular time, I could switched to another book and save the earlier one for later. That way i was able to finish 6 books. To name a few – Loosing my Virginity by Sir Richard Branson, Vagabonding by Rolf Potts etc. You can check out my complete reading list and book recommendations here. For next year I’m extending my reading list to 9 books. I hope will be able to finish them all.
  5. Living – After living in a great neighborhood for more a whole year. I decided to move to a new place alone without any roommates. Mainly because i could accommodate my visiting family more comfortably in the separate apartment. Though the new apartment is a smaller than the one i was living in but yet it’s in an equally good neighborhood with a great running track near by (That’s the USP). Check out my Instagram here for more pictures. My family also loved the new place. Later when they were gone for few weeks, i terribly missed them and hated the idea of living alone initially. However, now I’m getting acquainted of this situation and starting to develop a mindful awareness in this temporary solitariness. I am focused on more creative work now than ever before.
  6. Blog – One of my last year’s resolution was to transform my Blog into a piece of niche reading. So i did put good efforts in that direction and customized my Blog with a more reading focus theme and fonts. I hope you are reading this piece of writing on my Blog itself. How do you like the new design? Let me know in the comments.
    I also created few new pages on my Blog –
    1) My reading list – Here you’ll get my current reading list and the book recommendations.
    2) Running Profile – Here you’ll find my running stats. [if you are into running, it might interest you]. (Powered by Strava).

    I also revamped my about page with a uniquely edited picture of myself, with more ways to connect with me. Check it out here – About.

    This year I’ll be adding a new section called photos. Where I will be adding photography portfolio and also embed my Instagram pictures there.

    Oh, i forgot to mention! This year I also tried to do few new things. First – I created my first Podcast post called ‘Flowers for Algernon‘. Second I also produced my first vlog for YouTube. It’s inspired from the vlogs of Casey Neistat, who is a YouTuber and a great movie maker. His vlogs are just out of the world. You can check them out here. My movie is completely mediocre. But i think I did a good job in editing for the first timer (non-professional movie maker). You can have a peak here for that unlisted video. This whole movie was shot on an iPhone 4S, so the quality of the Front Cam is not so good. But in the year 2016, i would like to get a better camera and make some great videos and upload more VLOGS on YouTube. Oh and excuse me for that horrible intro! This was just my first shot on video making, after all.

 
  1. Learning at work – I’ll be completing 2 years at my current company. Which is mixed emotions for me. Even though I learned a lot there but It’s been hell of a ride. I’m not complaining for the hard working I’ve got to do. But when you are doing hard work in the wrong direction is what I’m complaining about. It’s like you are running for that ship waiting for you to take you to your destination and while reaching to the ship you mess up the directions completely in the middle of that journey. If you understand what I mean. But nevertheless I’ve learned a LOT in the past year as well at work. I improved upon my people skills, my leadership skills, getting transformed from a junior level to a senior level to a middle management level, It indeed was hell of a ride!

    More over I got to meet few executives as well through last year! Like my company’s CEO, CIO. A few other CIOs of massive companies as well as small companies with whom we work with. What i found similar in all of them was ‘READING’. They all read like crazy. They all advise to read like crazy. That’s the reason there is Reading Bullet point there in this (yearly review) post itself [Refer point number 1 in the what went well section].

    Though my directions to my goals are now getting clear which never were earlier. I was like always working towards something but wasn’t sure what was it. Until last to last year (2014). It was then when i got a firm idea of where i want to be in introspection with where i was right then. Now that i have a clear vision of my career path life path. I’m working my a** off towards making it real.

  1. Mindset – From past two year my focus has been the ‘Process’ instead of the ‘Goal’. To give you more on that, I now enjoy life more than i was couple of year back. Cause now I have a few goals for every month/year/5 years [5 years looks too ridiculous but still i have somethings in my mind]. But how i approach towards those goals is now completely changed. I now enjoy doing things and being more mindful of the present moment. Because by doing that i don’t have to think about the Goal itself or the ‘Fear of Loosing out’ . Cause if i put daily reps (repetitions) towards anything, in short terms it may not look or feel like you have achieved something big. But in long term you definitely would have. And yes i can underscore it with my experience. More over even in short term you’ll feel great and accomplished. I tend to carry this positivity throughout my life not this new year or just next few years, but my whole life. Being positive or a little optimistic really helps. I also want to extend this mindset to the people near and dear to me. So that it will help them as well, like its helping me.
  1. Meeting new People – Year 2015 was the most exciting till yet on this front. I got introduced to a lot of new people. Inspiring, aspiring, good, great, life saver people! Yes there are people like that still. Being a runner helped me out in that. As i started running races n 2015, I met a lot of experienced runners. Became member into a lot of running groups – to mention a few ‘ Mumbai Marathon’, ‘Navi Mumbai Runners’ and Mumbai Road Runners etc. Some of the inspiring people of I met with – Sayuri Dalvi, Samuel Chettiar, Ajay Yadav, Venkatraman Pichumani, Amit Mehta, Monica M. Becerril Ugalde, Roshni Rai, Chetan Gusani, Michael Dsouza and the list goes on and on.

    Secondly through these running groups I got introduced to a vegan group as well. They really got into me. I was shell-shocked after they introduced me to the facts that what harm the dairy industry and the non-vegetarian industries are doing to earth and us as human beings. To name a few vegan friends – Amit Mehta, Monica M. Becerril Ugalde, Kuntal Joisher, Fivos Deshpande, Omkar Jadhav, Monica Chopra, Joslyn JC, Aurélia Vincent, Chidanand Hiremath, Sneha Poojary, Vasanth Ravula, Samir Pasad, Chintan Siriya, Monika Siriya, Rohini Fernandes. Sorry if i might have missed someone from this really really interesting group. I am glad i was invited to a Vegan Potluck and got to interact with this amazing group.

    The point is when you meet people from different groups and interest they make you think and your mind reach new levels of thought process. Your network grows exponentially. From being a solitary, suddenly you are surrounded with love, care and acceptance. It’s a great feeling.

    I also met to few old friends again in 2015. Through them I got to meet a whole bunch of friends of friends who become my new friends. Now i have a whole extended family in Pune. Great folks.

    So this was a fascinating year in-regard to meeting new people.

  1. Traveling

    [Note: I’m in the process of creating a new photos page on my blog and will be sharing some of the good shots i took from all the below mentioned trips.]

    1) Matheran (Near Mumbai) with Pune friends group – This was the first trip with few of my old friends and my huge bunch of new Pune Friends. We went on this trip last year somewhere in Q3. We had all the rushes, all the thrills and the funs at the same time. It was an amazing trip. Drinking Wine on the misty tracks of Matherans, fighting with Monkeys, walking on the ghostly tracks in night, peeking out through those high windows to a panoramic view of Matheran. It was hellua adventure. We even did small hiking as well. [I’ll tag the picture of this trip here shortly to my photos page.]

    2) Kolad for rafting (2nd consecutive year) – This was my 2nd trip to Kolad. This place is just 2 hours ride from Bombay or 1 and half hour ride from Pune. A great place to do rafting but in controlled waters unlike the natural Ganges water in Rishikesh. In 2014 i went with my boys gang where we thought we were pretty much late on reaching the starting point but still made it on time. This year (2015) was more organized where somebody else had planned this trip and we just on-boarded unlike the 2014 trip where we 3 friends had planned the trip and was more impromptu. This year was a different kinda experience as i was not the one who was doing the white water rafting for the first time. I was an experienced one this year. But there were more than 70% out of a group of 16-17 people were doing it for the first time. Most importantly 50%+ were girls. Oh yeah! you are getting the drift! So it was a different kinda adventure seeing others scream and shout before knowing that they are not gonna drown with their life jackets on. [I’ll tag the picture of this trip here shortly to my photos page.]

    3) Chandigarh (official tour) – In December month I got a chance to visit Chandigarh again, but this time it was an official tour with a group of 65 (yes sixty five) people. Got to see Infosys’s Chandigarh campus, few local spots in Chandigarh like Rock Garden of Chandigarh, Zakir Hussain Rose Garden, Sukhna Lake etc. Than had a whole day workshop on Design thinking and related processes. Interacted with end users – people at cafeterias, tea stalls, malls etc. It was a completely out of the box experience. I’ll do a complete post focused on that later and tag it here. Later in the trip we visited the Pinjore Gardens (Panchkula) as well, it was the most unexpectedly beautiful spot of the trip. Last stop was Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh). Where we stayed for a whole day. Hiking, group events, new games and old games. We did it all. I couldn’t stop myself from going from a run there and did a 5KM in Kasauli as well. It was irresistibly beautiful place just in time when the winter started covering the hills with snow. Overall a 5 star trip. [I’ll tag the picture of this trip here shortly to my photos page.]

    Sneak peak – My new year’s resolution list [I’ll tag that here later], contains one thing for traveling as well and it contains places to visit as large as a good two digit number including some of the most exotic places in India and some travelers’ fantasy.

2nd and 3rd part – To Be Continued…

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