I’m not usually one for making new year resolutions. I find it silly to wait until the end of the year to promise positive change when it can be started at any moment. However, after reading about Chris Guillebeau and his annual review, I began to look at it differently.
An annual review is not the same as new year resolutions. For me, it’s a chance to reflect over the last year and be grateful for all the beautiful things that happened. It’s a chance to remember all the amazing experiences but also a chance to reflect on what didn’t go as planned. After the reflection, you can do a brief plan for the year ahead. I like to leave a lot of room for spontaneity so my plans only serve as a direction for the upcoming months.
Regardless of whether you like to plan ahead or not, it’s always a good idea to reflect on the past year. I’m often surprised at how much I actually accomplished and the pros usually outweigh the cons, which is always nice to see.
So here it is…
What went well in 2015.
Travel and Adventure: Wow. This is one area of life that I truly lived to the max in 2015. In fact, my wife and I were only “home” for about three weeks during the whole year. It was jam packed with travel and adventure including visiting 14 new countries and trying out many new activities such as animal safari’s in Tanzania, rafting class-5 rapids on the Nile in Uganda, standing next to erupting lava in Ethiopia, watching the cherry blossoms bloom in Japan, exploring fairytale towns in the Czeck Republic, riding in a hot air balloon in Turkey, traveling around Italy with my family, witnessing the Dewali festival in Nepal, taking a boat ride on the Ganges river in India, and riding the world’s fastest rollercoaster in Abu Dhabi. We also flew business class around the world and took a first class flight on Emirates from Dubai to Houston, which enabled us to take a shower at 40,000 feet.
We also went to Burning Man for the third time, met up with friends in Europe and met more incredible people throughout the year. I could go on. It was truly an incredible year for travel.
Health and Fitness: It was a bland year for working out. With most of my time spent traveling around the world, I neglected fitness for the most part, although I did walk or hike at least 8 hours per day so I guess that counts. I just didn’t do much weight lifting, which I’d like to get back into in 2016.
Family and Friends: My wife and I explored the world together, spending almost every waking minute together and still love each other so that’s pretty damn good (haha). We’re still as in love with each other as we were seven years ago, which is something truly special. When I was home, I made sure to spend quality time with friends and family but only being home for three weeks didn’t allow for a lot of this. However, we did meet new friends, which is always great and I look forward to meeting more people and strengthening current relationships further in 2016.
Business and Income: This did not go well. I was offered a contract position to be a sales manager and moved to a different province for 6 months. It was great money and a good experience but I also neglected my own business and new projects I was hoping to start.
Creativity and Projects: Although I wish I had done more, I think I did really good considering how much time I was away. I managed to launch Limitless Travel, a travel ebook that became a bestseller on Amazon. I also created a travel hacking video course called Zero to Dream Trip, which helps people travel around the world for next to nothing. I got a 6-page article published in Our Canada magazine as well and was interviewed for a couple major media outlets.
Overall, it was a good year. There’s always more I wish I would have done but considering the hectic travel schedule, I’m actually surprised at what I did accomplish.
But now it’s 2016, so it’s time for new dreams and ambitions.
As you can see, 2015 was mostly travel. Actually, for the last five years I have been focused heavily on travel. I would say that travel has made up about 80-90% of my life and business has only made up about 10-20%. However, this is going to be my major shift for 2016. I’m going to make travel just 10-20% and business 80-90%. It should be interesting.
My aim for 2016 is:
Travel and Adventure: Although travel will be less of a focus, I’ll be gone for the months of January and February. It’s going to be really exciting because I’ll be spending almost the whole 4-6 weeks in tropical locations and world-class dive spots. First, my wife and I will visit Palau, Micronesia before going to Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Then we’ll hang out in Bali, Singapore and maybe Thailand or Vietnam. After, we’ll go to Mexico City.
Health and Fitness: My two main goals for 2016 is to complete another fitness program so I can get back to 10-12% body fat and to become a vegetarian 2-3x per week, which will be completely new for me. I just don’t like the way animals are treated these days, so it’s time to shift my lifestyle.
Business and Income: This is where I’ll be shifting my focus primarily. I’d like to grow Canadian Free Flyers by 100% and help 120 people travel the world through Zero to Dream Trip. I’d also like to start a new business based in the Canadian Rockies, which I’ll announce later in the year.
Family and Friends: Although it’s going to be a busy year as always, I’ll continue to make time for family. Sometimes life can make the time go by fast, but I’ll be scheduling dinner dates as well as activities with both my wife and immediate family throughout the week. This year, I’d also like to focus on making new friends where I live and will be experimenting with dinner parties and outdoor activities as a way to bring people together.
Creativity and Projects: This tends to blend with business but I’d also like to begin writing a novel, take some dancing classes, and possibly get back into acting. If I only find time for one, it’ll be to write a novel. Creativity is one of my favourite parts about life. I’ve been told I have a great imagination and so although business will be my focus, creativity will be a close second as I try to embrace it much more than in the past.
That’s it for now. The idea of writing this down is to give myself a roadmap going forward and to possibly inspire you to write your own. Too often we forget about the great things that have happened over the last year, which is a shame. At the same time, the new year will come and go as quickly as the last and without a brief roadmap, you’ll likely end up right where you are now, which most people don’t want to do.
I highly suggest doing an annual review of some kind. Make it fun.
All the best in 2016!
PS: I’d love to hear about your 2015 as well as your plans for 2016 so feel free to leave a comment below.