Lessons from 2018:
Looking back, there were numerous times throughout the year that I felt I was going around in circles. I felt flat, and it was like mentally a thick fog had rolled in. I couldn’t even see the next step to take. It’s interesting because when I sit and write a list of what I have done, there is still a lot to be proud of, but I didn’t have the sense of satisfaction I have had other years. This has shaped my theme for the year going forward.
The theme for 2019: A year of Appreciation. Stop and appreciate the moments I have, who I am, where I am and who I am with. Don’t discount these moments by spending time in the future always thinking of more things to do and comparing my achievements to others.
Here are my key takeaways for 2018:
- Start each day on purpose; before going to sleep jot down the key commitments. Talk to Katie about this plan too so we are on the same page.
- Write lists of what I have achieved so far and what I have to be thankful for (and then read them regularly).
- When things are swirling around in my head, clarify exactly what I am struggling with by writing it down; be specific (explaining these verbally to a close friend also helps).
- Pray (or meditate if you’re not into praying) – this helps me realize I am not in control of everything and gives me more peace about the things I cannot change.
- Be purposeful in making time with Katie to talk about us/the boys and develop strategies to deal with whatever we are currently facing.
- When I am feeling foggy or flat, go for a walk, run, or bike ride. Sit down somewhere, enjoy the view, and pray. When I get back, write down all the things that popped into my mind.
As this last year is still fresh and current, I have included some of the extra notes such as my questions and list of achievements.
What are the things that worked well this year?
- Back to basics – finding 1 little thing to do (like cleaning my desk) focusing on 1 small step. When I was overwhelmed or not motivated, finding a little task to keep going (just 1-minute philosophy),
- Writing lists of stuff to be thankful for.
- Writing lists of what’s stressing me out. Then asking myself, “What can I change, and what do I have to accept won’t change.”
- Focusing on finishing off current projects rather than starting new ones, both at home and at work.
- Using cash (vs cards) – we went back to taking out cash each week and using envelopes to dedicate to each budget item, groceries, petrol, etc. This forced us to think about what we are spending.
What worked well with our family?
- Separating work and home, getting an official work office, and making a point of not doing work at home. Getting a home cell phone number so I wasn’t taking work with me 24/7. Setting a up a personal email address for same reason.
- Making time to talk about parenting and strategies rather than just reacting
How did I learn to be better with my time?
- Using Google calendar more, making a point to schedule the things that I actually want to do, such as gym, reading, study. Then before committing to things, checking it regularly and treating those events like any other commitment.
- Keeping my schedule loose between meetings, avoiding back to back meetings wherever possible, and allowing time directly after the meeting to follow up on whatever was discussed.
- I went back to using my 3B1 notebooks way more. I noticed the days where I didn’t wake up without a clear daily to do (written the night before) were chaos. I would go around in circles for half the morning. Loosely plan the day and key items before sleeping (see photo).
- Pulling out of big commitments that are overwhelming me or stressing me out. I got excited and committed to a big mountain race, the Aorangi undulator. I then started a training plan, and it instantly felt like a chore and that I had taken on more than I could currently handle. I could have done it if I really forced myself but made the decision to withdraw, and I’m so glad I did.
What worked well for health & fitness?
- Filling up a drink bottle with water and taking it with me = drinking more water.
- Getting my gym clothes, or running shoes out the night before significantly improves my chance of actually exercising.
- My running routine this year – I will elaborate more on this in another email.
What didn’t work so well this year?
At the start of the year, I procrastinated doing a yearly review. In hindsight, I was trying to make it more than it was, some mystical built-up thing. I thought it needed to be more, bigger, complex when really, I just needed to make a coffee, write some stuff down, and get on with it.
I didn’t have a list of things to achieve on the back of the toilet door. The year before I had a really clear list of things I wanted to achieve that year, like sell the Spoon, pay off debts, etc., etc. Whereas this year’s writing was more airy-fairy, this is ok, but I kept telling myself I would write a list of things to do this year.
Beer consumption ramped up slightly near the end of the year. I started counting how many beers I was having about 10 weeks ago and it’s now averaging about 15ish beers a week. While I never went out and got hammered this year (I have a self-imposed 4 drinks in one evening rule), it’s amazing how a couple of beers here and there adds up. I am going to get this back under 10 beers a week.
Budget got a bit out of control as we moved away from having a regular income,
I got bogged down with Kiwi Homes at the start of the year, and it started to become hard to see the forest from the trees.
My list of 2018 achievements
I think it’s important to stop and reflect on the things we achieve, big and small. Often when I am feeling down, or having a tough week I pull these lists out and remind myself that it’s not all bad. Here is the 2018 list.
12 awesome years of marriage
Jacob turned 6, his first full year of school
Levi turned 2, off to kindy near the end of the year
Started hot chocolate Wednesdays with the boys before school/kindy
Completed 2 more papers at Massey (Investment and Organizational Behavior)
Bought a nice suit for a wedding, and also wore it out once for dinner with Katie.
Made about 8 beers
Some great BBQs with friends
Over a full year of not owning the Spoon, I often forget we even used to have it
Ups and downs at Kiwi Homes but finished on a good note, excited for the next year
Hired Leonard, and got him set up with another truck, phone, checklists, etc
I have now sold 27 homes with Kiwi
Spending was getting out of control slightly so we chopped up the credit card
Ramped up mortgage payments to the maximum
Made our first term deposit
Went back to cash envelopes
Paid off the mortgage
Opened the kids’ Investment accounts
Purchased shares on the market
River Trail Half Marathon
Run to the airport from Upper Hutt – first 42km
Skiing lessons with Katie (first time Skiing after years of snowboarding)
A few snowboarding trips to Ohakune 🙂 Hit the kickers at Turoa (thanks Luke H)
26km Hill run, training for Mukamuka
Mukamuka munter – 32km Trail Race
The Long way to the Pub – An Epic Bike ride 112km to Petone for a beer.
Peka Peka with usual summer crew
Sofitel Wellington with Katie
Auckland Mike Banks Wedding
Taupo with Brewertons & Williamsons
Queenstown Skiing with Katie
Gold coast with Kelly and Leonard
Books: Got back into reading
Principles by Ray Dalio
Less: A Visual Guide to Minimalism by Rachel Aust
Out of the Maze (Who moved my cheese sequel) by Dr Spencer Johnson
Year of Living Biblically by A.J Jacobs
Thanks a Thousand by A.J Jacobs
Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
McDonald’s, Behind the Scenes by John F. Love
The Way of the Wolf by Jordan Belfort
Tough Love by Peter Lyndon-James
Small House Living by Catherine Foster
Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss
The Decision Book by M Krogerus and R Tschäpperler (re-read)
Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss (re-read)
Things I made:
Finished off the 4th bedroom
Wardrobe doors in the new room
Made a beer handle
A tree house out of recycled timber from building sites
Moved the playhouse to the front
Fence and privacy screen backyard
Spa pool pad