Lots of fun.
Lots of work.
The truth, whole truth, nothing but the truth.
Year In Review
As 2014 comes to a close, I’ve decided to complete my first ever annual review and share it publicly with all of you.
Full disclosure of what went well for me this year and what didn’t go so well.
I’ve always planned for the upcoming year, but I’ve never taken the time to look back and reflect on what went well and what didn’t which is a bit ironic come to think of it.
Going forward, this will become standard practice for me. I will complete an annual review every year going forward. I encourage you to do the same as well.
I’ve been inspired to create this #AnnualReview by Chris Guillebeau who’s been completing one every year and sharing it publicly with his community since 2008. He also provides a planning template which you can download for free by visiting his website.
Breaking It Down
I’ve broken up my annual review into 8 categories that are my primary focus throughout the year.
I’ll start with the not-so-good stuff first, this way I can redeem myself with the stuff I feel did go well for me.
Alright, it’s go time… let’s do this.
Get comfy, this is a long one (2500+ words).
Things That Didn’t Go Well For Me In 2014
The Wellness Bucket
I haven’t nailed down a specific direction for The Wellness Bucket yet. I seem to want to help everyone in any way that I can. I’m still struggling with the decision of which specific direction to head towards.
My elevator speech is still terrible. I haven’t yet perfected answering the question, “so, what do you do?”
I did a terrible job at reviewing my website traffic and analytics to understand what resonated and what didn’t with my community and the readers.
I didn’t experiment enough with new layouts and offerings.
A strategy to increase my email subscriber list was non-existent. I added in a few tools and widgets here and there that helped minimally, but nothing that made a substantial difference.
Friends & Family
I moved back to Boston over a year ago to be closer to family and spend more time with them, but I didn’t spend nearly as much time with them as I wish I had.
I found myself upset often and resentful that I had made such a move and yet what I had hoped for, to spend more time with my immediate family, didn’t happen. I didn’t take enough initiative to get us all together but instead, spent more time sad and upset that they weren’t reaching out to me.
I didn’t speak with my sisters, mom, and grams as often as I would have liked. Preferably once a week.
I didn’t stay consistent with hosting a monthly dinner party as I had planned on doing to connect and be closer to friends.
I did not stick to my budget as I had planned. It was close, but close isn’t going to cut it. I either succeeded or I didn’t – being close to succeeding means I didn’t succeed.
I did not make charitable contributions as much as I would have liked to.
“Part of all you make is yours to keep.” I didn’t do a good job at this. Limited investing, savings, and asset acquisition.
I did lots of reading this year although some of the books I read I feel did not contribute to my overall growth. Books I could have done without.
I didn’t take advantage of several workshops and seminars that were being offered right here in Boston or just a few hours away in NYC that would have provided lots of opportunity for growth and connection.
I wasn’t diligent keeping up with my personal journal.
Health & Fitness
My water intake was very inconsistent, at times, non-existent. As much I understand and realize the importance of water and staying hydrated, this one seems to challenge me.
I had intended to compete in a men’s physique competition, but never followed through with it. I registered for only two fitness events this year, the least I’ve ever registered for since 2006.
I got comfortable with the workout routine I had and didn’t make many changes throughout the year. I didn’t push myself out of my comfort zone and vary up my weight training workouts.
In my attempt to complete a 10 minute planking challenge, I over did it and over trained myself which unfortunately lead to a bad abdominal strain that took months to heal.
I volunteered twice this year, nowhere near the number of times I intended to.
I don’t feel I elevated my game enough when it came to providing random acts of kindness. I did my fair share of holding doors, smiling and saying hello to strangers, but that isn’t enough. I need to take it to the next level and do more, make a bigger impact.
Kristen and I had a great first year together in Boston. We did lots of exploring, sightseeing, and trying new restaurants and bars. While we’ve committed to a budget that limits us to what we can do on a weekly basis, I didn’t do a good job at being creative and coming up with enough fun things for us to do that cost little to nothing.
I love surprising her with either dinner plans, a random gift, tickets to a Celtics game, etc. I didn’t do enough of that this year. Even the simple ones like leaving random notes around the house or buying her flowers.
I grew up Catholic and still consider myself Catholic, although I’m a terrible practicing Catholic. I grew up going to church every Sunday morning with my grandma and grandpa so for me, church is a peaceful place – a place of remembrance and giving thanks for all the blessings in my life.
My intentions of attending mass every Sunday started well at the beginning of the year but once summer came around, I barely made it to church.
At the end of each day, I enjoy taking a few minutes to reflect back on the day and giving thanks. Five minutes every evening of gracious meditation as I call it. I haven’t been consistent at all with doing this.
There you have it.
Sharing my shortcomings this past year definitely isn’t a fun process but certainly necessary in order for me to make the necessary changes and adjustments so that I have a productive and successful new year ahead.
Now that I’ve roasted myself with what didn’t go well for me this year, I’ll share with you what did go well.
Things That Went Well For Me In 2014
The Wellness Bucket
After months of reading, planning, creating, and preparing, I finally launched The Wellness Bucket on January 15.
In April, I made two big commitments for the site. I decided to commit to a weekly posting schedule, every Tuesday and Thursday, and I also begun my weekly Motivational Monday Message series. I’ve remained consistent with both of these schedules and have yet to miss a day.
Also in April, I committed to putting out a weekly newsletter every Friday which I’ve consistently been doing as well.
I hosted a 30 Day Wellness Challenge in September that was an amazing experience with people from all over the globe taking part in it. In addition, I also hosted my very first webinar (7 Steps Process for Creating Health & Happiness) and my first giveaway in November.
In one of my proudest moments to date, I partnered with the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research and committed to contribute 4% of all proceeds from The Wellness Bucket.
These last 11 months have been the greatest months of my life. The way I feel when I’m creating new content, material, challenges and webinars for The Wellness Bucket, it’s a feeling that’s indescribable. I’m right where I want to be, doing what I want to be doing. It’s awesome!
Family & Friends
Moving back to Boston has allowed me the opportunity to connect with family from my dad’s side that I haven’t connected with in years. I’ve made it a point to spend more time with my aunts, uncles and cousins who live just an hour from me.
I was asked by my cousin Cesar to be his son’s Godfather which I proudly accepted. Every chance we get, Kristen and I make our way to see and spend time with the little guy.
I once again coordinated a golf outing (Brothers Golf Weekend) with 8 college buddies for a weekend or golf, drinks, and reminiscing.
After a few initial set backs, I was able to coordinate one of the best family trips we’ve ever had. A weekend in Block Island.
I finally created a budget that was specific and written down that I could follow. I tracked where all my money went. Although I didn’t like seeing how and where I spent my money sometimes, it sure did provide the visibility I needed to keep me accountable for my spending.
Instead of paying off debt evenly across the board, I decided to tackle the accounts with the highest interest rates first and work my way down from there.
I stopped contributing to my 401K account until I better understand where my money is going and what my fees are. More on this topic at a later time.
I did away with gambling on sports games. Although the amounts were never concernedly high and it was more about the camaraderie with friends, it was a foolish waste of my money, time, and effort.
I read more books this year than in the last few years combined. 15 books in all.
I completed Scott Dinsmore’s Connect With Anyone Course, was part of a Mastermind Group put on by Leah & Naz from RYPL, and attended World Domination Summit hosted by Chris Guillebeau in Portland, OR.
I decreased the amount of television I watched and unproductive material I read. I decided to only read and watch videos that would educate me and supported my goals.
To get over my fear of public speaking, I joined Toastmasters in July and am half way through completing 10 speeches that are required as part of the course.
Health & Fitness
This was the first year in a long time that I had an actual gym membership. Living in San Diego for the past 14 years, the great outdoors served just fine as my gym. In cold and snowy New England, not so much.
I took full advantage of my gym membership working out consistently anywhere from 3 to 5 times per week.
I completed a 10 minute jump roping challenge, something I never thought I would be able to do considering one minute use to challenge me big-time.
I completed my very first Spartan Race. It was lots tougher than I expected although I couldn’t have been happier with my results, placing in the top 4% in my age group.
In what’s become a yearly tradition, I took part in another 4 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day.
It’s not always easy replying and responding to every email, text, or social media mention asking for help or advice although my response time was less than 24 hours which I was pleased with.
Time is valuable and to give up time to help others is awesome. I’m happy with the time I dedicated to physically helping, listening, and talking with friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, anyone that needed a helping hand, shoulder to lean on, or just to be heard.
There were several instances where I proactively reached out to others to offer my assistance when I felt they weren’t being themselves or they had expressed difficulties or challenges in their lives.
In what I believe was one of my biggest breakthroughs this year in being in a relationship, it was allowing Kristen, my girlfriend, to be upset, disappointed, or angry for whatever reason, even it it wasn’t towards me, and not take it personal. Something she has always been so amazingly good at doing herself. I think she finally rubbed off on me. 🙂
Spending quality time on a regular basis, whether it was building a puzzle with Kristen, trying out a new restaurant, going camping, even just sitting quietly together reading.
Spending time with her, and not just being in the same room as her.
I got better at choosing happiness over being right. During disagreements, regardless if I felt I was “right”, it didn’t matter. I chose to focus on the fact I was happy and fortunate to have her in my life and not who was right or wrong.
I started off the year great going to several difference churches in the area on Sunday. I will remain more consistent in 2015.
There isn’t a night I go to bed without performing a 3 second gesture I created 8 years ago after my dad passed away as a way of remembering him, and my grandfather. It’s my was of paying tribute to their lives and the impact they’ve had on mine.
That’s A Wrap
So there you have it. All the things I feel didn’t go so well for me this year and all the things I feel did go well.
Aside from these 8 categories mentioned above, there were additional notable mentions from the year. Here they are in no particular order:
Kristen and I took Salsa Dancing lessons for 8 weeks.
I tried yoga for a few months and it was awesome! Need to add more of it in the new year.
I was part of a world record setting yoga chain.
I got the opportunity to meet and speak with several people I set out to meet at the beginning of the year (Scott Dinsmore, Sean Ogle, Chris Brogan, & Richie Norton).
I checked off another item from my bucket list (brew my own beer).
I’m certainly not perfect, far from it, although I’m not after being perfect.
It isn’t about being perfect, it’s about making progress; being a better person than I was yesterday.
I know this may sound a bit cliche and you may even be asking yourself, “how is it possible to be better than you were just a day ago?”. Great question.
Reading a few pages of a book per day gives me more knowledge than I had the day before.
Smiling, helping, or listening to someone today, provides me with a sense of purpose and fulfillment, more than I had the day before because I have helped to make a positive difference in one more person’s life.
Completing my daily exercises and eating healthy today makes me better, stronger, and healthier than I was yesterday.
By sticking to my financial budget today and not over spending, I will be wealthier tomorrow.
I’m a big Jim Rohn fan and do my best to live by his formula for success every day:
Success = A few simple decisions practiced every day.
I will be writing an additional post with more details on some of the areas I’ve mentioned above such as the books I read, decisions I’ve made and why I made them, and more on what’s to come next year – exciting stuff for sure!
Thanks for being here.
Here’s a happy & healthy new year ahead.