My 2015 Annual Review

This is my very first Annual Review for What My Bro Said.

In this report, I will share both my successes and failures of the past year. I will also share my plans for the future to build upon what already works and dedicate special focus to areas that need further improvement.

I will answer 3 questions:

  • What went well this year?
  • What didn’t go so well this year?
  • What am I working toward?

1. What went well this year?

Internship (Christmas and Summer)

Going into 2015, I was nearing the end of my 3-week Christmas internship. It was an extremely rewarding learning experience, which allowed me to grow in many aspects of my life.

When I was offered to come back for a Summer internship, it was a no-brainer for me and I returned months later to assume a position of greater responsibility.

Lifetime peak fitness

With the start of the New Year, I started consistently going to the gym 3x a week and reached new heights with my fitness.

Surely enough, I skipped a session here and there, but for the most part I had developed a healthy gym-going habit.

I also took up cycling in March to start training for my September 2015 London-Paris cycle. My preparation started off in April with a modest 5km a week.

Each week I incrementally increased the distance I cycled. By July, I was cycling 100km a week and weighed a lifetime personal record of 67kg. 

I enjoyed a spell of peak fitness and was in the best shape of my life.

Newfound productivity

For the past 2,5 years, I’ve been researching about how to live a better life and maximise my own potential.

In 2015, I feel I have markedly improved in structuring my life, establishing habits and being consistent in my efforts.

I feel I’ve matured mentally and improved in striking a balance in life by tending to many different areas and aspects of my life.

Mindset

I put a lot of effort into improving my mindset and attitude towards life. Through chains of little success over time, I feel I am getting that much closer to leading a quality life that is both balanced and purposeful.

In great measure, I attribute my gradual success to surrounding myself with the extraordinary people that I’m lucky to have in my life.

Writing

I wrote my very first article for What My Bro Said on the 26th of October, 2015. Ever since then, I have published a new article every Monday. I am pleased I managed to publish a new post on a few Thursdays, as well.

Here’s What My Bro Said in numbers:

  • What My Bro Said has been active for 2 months.
  • I have posted 15 articles in that time.
  • 257 unique visitors this year.
  • My articles have been read over 400 times.
  • 60 readers have joined my free weekly newsletter (Thank You!)

These are just numbers (albeit modest ones) but what they represent is far more important. That is, readers feel that there is some value to be discovered in these messages. This is both fantastic and encouraging.

I am thrilled to continue bringing you even more value going into 2016 on
What My Bro Said.

2. What didn’t go so well this year?

Injury

I nearly tore my ACL in my left knee because I had pushed my limits physically with my fitness regime (cycling, gym, swimming, yoga).

Don’t get me wrong – all of these things are great. But in moderation. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

I was enjoying peak performance (both mentally and physically) and had such momentum that I pushed it all a little too far. And paid the price for it.

I left my internship near the end of July and stayed at home for most the Summer, healing my leg.

My parents were in another country, my bro was working, and my other two siblings were away for the Summer.

I vividly remember how I burnt my entire thigh trying to transport a cup of camomile tea.

Naturally, food became less of a priority because I couldn’t make it myself. I ate mostly snacks all day until Big Bro came back home from work.

But I read all day.

I delved into finance. I was up to date on all the news, read books on capital markets, and finished a KhanAcademy course in Finance.

I practiced my math skills with the help of this cool book my Bro gave me and multiple SHL tests I had bought.

I lived, breathed, and slept finance.

Until I realised that I didn’t love it as much as I thought I did.

And that it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life.

If I weren’t forced to reserve the time to properly delve into the topic, maybe I would’ve ended up in finance. And sometime down the line I would’ve made the same realisation.

In that sense, my injury helped me realise what I didn’t want. At least some good came of that difficult episode in my life.

Staying in touch with family and friends from afar

Ever since I moved back to London in 2013 for my studies, I’ve found it quite challenging to keep in touch with the people I treasure most.

It’s easy to slowly lose yourself in the bustling day-to-day of everyday life. Days or even weeks go by and you realise that you haven’t spoken to your friends in a while.

Though I’ve made active attempts to reconnect and catch up with some, I have to be honest with myself and say I’ve been inconsistent in my efforts. And I know I’ve made some of my friends wait on me.

Keeping in touch with my friends from afar is surprisingly difficult for me. I do go back home every now and then to visit, but not as often as I’d like.  

I failed all of my 2014 New Year’s Resolutions

I didn’t cycle to Paris. I failed to read 15 books. I failed to gain enough lean muscle mass to reach my target weight of 69kg.

I realised that challenging yourself with ‘goals’ is a dangerous thing to do. You put yourself under a lot of pressure and ultimately set yourself up for failure.

I failed because I didn’t have systems to support me in achieving these long-term goals. Creating systems that will allow you to enjoy incremental progress over time is absolutely crucial to long-term success.

The only resolution that I had nearly made good on was my weight gain resolution. And that’s because I (unknowingly) built a system around my efforts. That is, I focused on gaining 250g a week and used FitnessPal religiously to do so. 

I was able to do something I largely failed at throughout my life with the help of a simple system that added just enough focus into my efforts and just enough structure into my life.

If I had a system for cycling, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten injured. If I had a system to read for 10mins everyday (or even every other day) before going to sleep, I would have most definitely surpassed my goal of reading 12 books.

That being said, although I failed to read 15 books, I did manage to read 8 books in 2015. That’s no small feat, at least for me. Regardless, I know I can do better and know how to do so in 2016. The answer: a system.

3. What am I working toward?

Academic excellence

In my final year of University, I will get a strong first in my degree.

My first ebook

In the New Year, I plan to write my very first ebook. I can’t wait to share it with you.

Growing our community here on What My Bro Said

We are a community of like-minded individuals that seek to lead a better quality life that will challenge us to maximise our own potential.

My hope is that in 2016 our special community will continue to grow. 

Playing the drums

In late December, I reviewed everything I had done in 2015. I looked through my iPhone notes, photos, and emails for clues that would jog my memory. I searched for recurring themes in my life.

I realised that playing the drums has been a recurring theme not only through 2015, but in all the years ever since 2011. I used to play in a band between 2011-2012. Ever since that last concert, I’ve dabbled with the instrument here and there, but nothing concrete.

It’s important for me to incorporate this theme into my life with greater purpose. I want drumming to become a hobby of mine again, one that I can immerse myself in on a regular basis. Just like I used to a few years ago.

Cooking

As part of my journey to living a better life, I intend to cook a special meal once a week to improve my cooking skills. I will regularly share my culinary adventures with you on a bi-weekly basis.

Fitness

I want to re-build myself physically after being sidelined with a knee injury for nearly 6months. I have finally been cleared by my physio to get back into the gym.

I plan to build a system around my gym-going and yoga habits. Hopefully, this period spent in immersion in fitness will culminate in a special event. It would be great to give that Paris cycle another shot but a long road to recovery awaits.

***

Special thanks to James Clear for suggesting the idea of an Annual Review.

 

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