The past 365 days felt transformational for me. So for the first time, I decided to reflect on it, just incase I was fooling myself. So here is my 2018 retrospect. I used this awesome guideline from Nate Green’s blog, introduced to me by my friend Bryan.
QUESTION 1: WHAT’S WORKING? (“WHAT DID I DO RIGHT? WHAT AM I PROUD OF?”)
IN MY WORK AND MONEY –
I was self sustainable –
This was my first year of earning and living on my own money in a very expensive foreign country. I did not borrow anything from my parents, and managed to live a very bougie (lol) satisfied life.
I travelled for work –
It has always been a dream of mine to have work fund my travel – something I could spend my entire life doing. Last year I took a couple of fully paid trips to help tell the stories of amazing people, also discovered that Vietnamese vegan food is fucking DOPE.
I started freelancing –
I started having sustainable side gigs to supplement my monthly income by 40%
I interviewed (and edited interviews of) people that inspired me –
They offered me new perspective on how to make a living, and how to be happy. These were my favourite –
I made a website that I’m proud of –
www.harshap.com – check it out!
I created a one line introduction for myself with my friend Bryan –
Hi, I’m Harsha! I document people’s stories through photos and videos, and share how they’re changing the world, because I believe that amazing people deserve visibility.
IN MY PERSONAL LIFE –
I travelled with my mother –
Instead of travelling alone and discovering a new place like I usually do, I got my mother to come along and we shared great experiences to bond over.
I started being radically honest with people that matter to me –
All honesty, all the time. No white lies, no convenient half-truths.
I embraced Hedonism –
I did all the things that made me happy. It made me less judgemental of other people’s lives.
I was not lonely –
For the first time in 4 years, I was not lonely. Still single, still living alone (well I have housemates), but learnt to be happy by myself. The first 3 years were filled with dissatisfaction with my social life, but apparently 4th time’s a charm.
I discovered what I want in a life partner –
In my love life, I let myself explore new opportunities without being guarded. I met some amazing men, who helped me set the standard of what I want in an ideal life partner, and taught me not to settle for less.
I maintained inspiring friendships –
I started slowly changing my friend circle (at least my immediate friend circle) to people who inspire me, share my values, and whom I can learn from – instead of people who were just there by default.
I made amazing connections –
Some fleeting, some for life, some romantic, and some platonic. I increased the quality of interactions I was having with people (through radical honesty) and I think it lead to my lack of loneliness.
IN MY HEALTH (MENTAL AND PHYSICAL) –
I made a bet to stay healthy –
I was very lucky to have 2 friends bet $1000 each against me, which I had to pay up if I didn’t have the definition of abs by the end of the year. It forced me to watch what I was eating, cut out sugar entirely, work out a minimum of 5 times a week, and find out that being healthy feels pretty great. I also discovered that how flat my stomach looked did absolutely nothing for my confidence – that one had to come from within.
I learnt to swim –
This is something I’ve been meaning to do for ages but never got around to doing, finally!
I started lifting –
I can deadlift and squat 1.5 times my body weight! And I can do a pull up. 😀
I learnt to be confident and happy –
Both happiness and confidence are skills, and they take work. I worked on being confident, and got there sustainably. Happiness seemed to follow.
I started reading again –
During my time in art school, I stopped reading. Last year I got a kindle, and got rid of my headphones so I would start reading instead of listening to music during my commute. I felt like there were some classics that I simply had to read. My favourites were –
Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
Sapiens (Yuval Noah Harari)
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
1984 (George Orwell)
QUESTION #2: WHAT’S NOT WORKING? (“WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED? WHAT ARE MY BIGGEST OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH?”)
I need to start saving for a time of need.
Time management –
I need to learn to organise myself better and manage my time. Say NO, THANK YOU to tasks I have no time for, and set realistic deadlines.
Following through with tasks –
I get easily distracted by new projects, and leave past projects incomplete. I need to make less new commitments, and finish more old ones.
QUESTION #3: HOW CAN I FIX WHAT’S NOT WORKING FOR A BETTER RESULT? (“WHAT SPECIFIC THINGS CAN I FOCUS ON NEXT TIME?”)
Make a savings plan –
I need to work on a goal, and then a plan for how I will achieve that savings goal.
Say no –
Learn to get a fair deal that’s a win-win for both me and the other party. If it doesn’t seem fair for one of the two, say no.
I am not a self motivated person. I have to find a hedonistic pleasure that motivates me, and then channel that so I can follow through with tasks and finish what I start.
Do something extremely difficult to be proud of –
And make sure I see this task through. The best form of networking is doing great work so people want to network with you. I am yet to do something in my life that makes me super proud, something that gives me bragging rights. This year, I hope to achieve that.
Use organisation apps –
Seems simple, but to put something down on paper, in an app, or anywhere that isn’t inside my head, will hopefully help me think clearer.
This exercise really helped me chalk out what I want 2019 to look like. Expectations are the root of happiness/unhappiness. So to set my expectations right, and then come up with a plan to achieve it, feels worth the 1 hour.