1. What I was working toward in 2016?
Goal: Academic excellence (i.e. a 1st in my degree)
Result: a very strong 2:1 (68%)
In my final year of University, I wanted to get a strong first in my degree. This was a very tough task because I hadn’t performed as well in my second year.
I graduated from university with a strong 2:1 (68%), narrowly missing my desired first.
Still, I managed to pick up a few strong first’s in other modules, most notably my dissertation project.
My project yielded interesting, promising results and I took up a position as a Research Assistant over the Summer to carry out an extension on a larger sample size.
Goal: My first ebook
Result: My first ebook + my very first 50,000 word novel + weekly blog post
Writing was a big focus for me in 2016.
I accomplished this and so much more.
It’s a huge personal accomplishment that I managed to maintain a blog writing habit for over a year (and counting!)
Indeed, I wrote a blog post that was initially meant to be an ebook. I felt you’d enjoy it more this way.
But I also wrote my very first 50k word novel; a novel I had been writing on/off since I was 17.
Aim: Growing our community here on What My Bro Said
Result: Difficult to say
Have I succeeded at this?
Given everything that I’ve spoken about here on the blog about goal-setting theory and building systems to carry you towards your goals, it is important to note two things.
Firstly, I built a system to blog on a weekly basis. Secondly though, I didn’t have a tangible goal to reach. I just wanted to use my system to see how well this blog would grow organically.
But I realise I didn’t put enough effort in to get my word out to as many social media channels as possible etc.
I must admit, I don’t like that part of blog writing. In general, I’m not a big fan of social media (although keeping in touch with people from afar is the best thing about it.)
Aim: Playing the drums more
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 still have this feeling that I’d happily start playing again. I love playing on the drums. But I’ve come to realised there are many, many obstacles.
Aim: Cooking a new dish every week
Result: yes and no
As part of my journey to living a better life, I intended to cook a special meal once a week to improve my cooking skills.
And though I did this week in, week out for the first few weeks, I stopped.
But then I started again.
And stopped again.
But I feel that overall I pushed myself to cook different things and because of this, I did. I’m almost certain I wouldn’t have cooked eclectic dishes had I not set out to do so in the first place.
Aim: Improve fitness
Result: yes and no
I wanted to re-build myself physically after being sidelined with a knee injury for nearly 6months.
I did this but in a different way than I had previously imagined.
In 2015, I was aggressive in my training regime. I’d constantly push myself in the gym and on the bike and this took its toll.
In 2016, I focused on the health side of sport. I swam and cycled for health and restorative purposes, but also with a vision to build myself up over time.
I think this approach will help me in the long run.
2. What went well this year?
I read 15 books in 2016! (Check out my Instagram to see what I read)
Personally, this is a huge accomplishment for me.
I realise that others are reading 40+ books a year (I’m open to suggestions on how I can read more!).
And I’m super keen to learn from them, how they do it.
Because I realise what got me here (i.e. reading 15 books) won’t necessarily get me there (e.g. to read 30 books).
But ultimately – I’m in the competition that has the Me of Today in one corner and the Me of Tomorrow in the other.
For all of 2016, I wrote a blog post every Monday here on WMBS.
I also wrote an ebook-turned-blogpost.
And finished a 50,000 word novel I had been writing since I was 17.
I became a R.A based on merit. This fed my personal and professional growth in many different ways.
This past July, I graduated from university 🙂
The culmination of my university years sparked off a journey of self-discovery.
I travelled to 10 cities after my university exams were over.
June – Glasgow, Warsaw, Krakow, Marseille, Paris
August – Milan, Verona, Venice,
September – Warsaw, London,
October – Paris,
November – Hong Kong.
Never before had I travelled so much and I am very pleased by that.
I’d learnt so much about myself and the world and can’t recommend travelling enough.
It shapes you in immeasurable ways.
President of the Psychology Society + Student Rep second year running
At University, I wanted to make the most of my third and final year.
I asked professors, recent uni graduates, and searched far and wide for the answer.
This book helped immensely.
I am convinced that I made the most out of my final year.
I was elected as Student Rep for a second year running and became the President of the very first Psychology Society at my uni.
As President, I was able to improve the many things that I felt was lacking in my own uni experience. I was able to build a social network with various professors in the department and build strong relationships with them.
I was also able to bring together likeminded people and create a group of friends who would meet on a weekly to bi-weekly basis.
But it was also a period of tremendous personal and character growth. I solidified myself in the role of a leader but also, I feel, as an instigator of winds of change.
At the end of the year the society won a “Best New Society” award.
A period spent in immersion culminated in an award.
I got accepted into a full-time, two-year graduate programme
I was pleased to have found my first job still in 2016.
I’ve only just started but it’s a totally different ball game to what I’ve become accustomed to over the past years.
3. What am I working towards in 2017?
Cycle to Paris
This was something I was working towards back in 2014 but I got sidelined by a knee injury.
I still want to do this.
This will help me with my diet and fitness and overall health.
I need to prepare diligently, consistently, bit by bit.
Once I cycle to Paris, it will be the culmination of a period spent in immersion.
Purposeful reading of quality books
I would like reading books to continue being a big part of my life for me.
I’m not setting myself a target to reach as I did in 2016, but I plan to continue using the system I had developed for myself and see how far it takes me.
Also, I have asked people I respect to recommend me two titles each.
I have done this to achieve a breadth and depth of reading of quality books.
I am abundantly aware that my travelling escapades won’t match the magnitude of this year’s adventures.
With only 25 days of holiday, one can only do so much.
But this will help me become more organised in my travels.
I’ve already got a few ideas…
I love music and as a drummer I particularly enjoy rock.
I’ve listened to many bands over the years but I’ve never gone and seen them live.
I’ve already booked tickets to see the bands I used to listen to and I’ve done so in a way that will also feed into my travelling aspiration for next year (e.g. I’m going to Berlin for an Aerosmith concert).
I enumerate these things while being conscious that I can update these as I go along.
Roll on 2017!
P.S. Thanks for reading and feel free to subscribe to my email list.