Looking Back to Move Forward
The year is almost over—can’t believe it passed so fast. Time flies when you’re having a fun and rewarding experience. And with the end comes a new beginning.
Stepping back is a good way to reflect, gain insight from our experiences and then move forward to what’s next—letting go and starting afresh.
We can of course do this any day or moment. We don’t have to wait till year-end to ponder and learn. The collective pause at the end of the year, however, can be a compelling reason for us to stop and take stock.
Let’s do this with the understanding that we can choose a new start any time.
I’m going to share with you what transpired during the year and what it means to you. Let’s start with promises that I kept and didn’t keep.
What I promised at the end of last year was the following:
- Content. I will focus on content that I hope can inspire you in the smallest of ways to accept and appreciate your experience and truth in this moment.
- Free report or eBook. This is the least I can do to say thank you for your continued support.
- Meaningful interaction with you through social media.
I managed to the best of my abilities to keep two of my promises.
I wrote articles from the heart, with the intent of helping in any way I can. Initially I wanted to write more than one article a week but realized that I couldn’t do it while maintaining focus, depth and more importantly having fun while doing it. I managed to write four articles each month at a relaxed pace.
I’ve been very fortunate to have private conversations with many of you. The interactions were inspiring and motivated me to keep going.
The best reward for sharing an idea or experience is to know that it affected someone else. It enhances our interactions and deepens our connection.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here. I’m very grateful.
The promise that fell by the wayside was writing an eBook or report. I have failed to deliver though it was always nagging at me.
Why did I break my promise?
I have mentioned at least a couple of times my desire to write an eBook. Unfortunately that didn’t materialize and I have no one to blame but myself.
My reasons are by no means an excuse for not delivering on my promise. While none of them is intentional, this is the case most of the time when it comes to promises—to ourselves and others—that we don’t keep.
Confusion in priorities: as much as I wanted to write a book, it obviously wasn’t the most important thing to me. I did not make the time, i.e. give up something else, to make it happen.
Unclear direction: I did not have specific topics or ideas that I wanted to explore in depth as a basis for a book. This resulted in feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated to get started.
Not only did I need a topic, but also I needed measurable steps to deliver (e.g. writing frequency, an outline, number of chapters and words). The measurable steps would not be set in stone, but they would be very effective in maintaining momentum and making progress..
No sense of urgency or a specific deadline: the only thing that would’ve gotten me to face the setbacks at the start is a dose of good old willpower to meet a deadline. Sometimes it’s the only thing to get us started and keeps us going.
As you can see the above three reasons can create a vicious cycle that continues to feed itself unless it’s consciously broken.
How did the theme “less is more” work out?
At the beginning of this year I wrote about themes and how they can guide you during the year. My theme was less is more. Overall I stuck to my theme. The main areas where I felt visible results were:
- Wrote less articles but with more focus and depth. The readership grew slowly but surely.
- Used social media (Facebook and Twitter) less and had more meaningful interactions.
- Reduced my email volume by 90% from the prior year.
- Spent less time online and more time doing what matters—meditated, exercised, journaled daily, started learning new skills and read more books.
- Cut down on material possessions and new purchases. This is still a work in progress. I have more stuff to give away or sell.
The main area where I fell short personally is music. This is something I need to show up for in the upcoming year.
Hope this year was kind to you and your loved ones. Please take the time to reflect on your journey this year and how you have grown from it.
They say the past cannot be used to predict the future. But we sure can use what we experienced as a guideline for what we’d like to do next.
My new theme for the year reflects a desire to work on what I started or promised in the past.
New theme: Relentless focus
I want to focus on a few projects that mean something to me and eliminate all the noise. Most of the projects I’m referring to are things I’ve started but didn’t complete.
My unrelenting promise to you
I will produce an eBook or report no later than May 17 come hell or high water.
I will continue to write weekly articles and interact with you at the same pace. I feel you have a lot on your plate and if you’re kind enough to give me your attention each week for a few moments I want to make sure that what you read is worth your time and you have ample time to use some of the ideas in your life.
If you have a certain subject that you want me to write about, or include in the book, I’d love to hear from you.
On a personal level I would like to complete an accelerated learning program. And leaving the most challenging for last: music. This desire is very dear to my heart but is the most intimidating. I am not going to talk about it unless I show meaningful progress that I can share with you.
That is it. These are my main three targets for the upcoming year along with maintaining my daily routine activities and work.
Please take some time and think about what the upcoming year is going to be for you. Pick a word or theme. It doesn’t matter as long as you have a general sense of direction for your year.
Look at your life and determine the areas where you’d like to grow. And keep one thing in mind: it is your journey. You set your compass and sail in the direction that suits you and no one else.
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement. It has been a pleasure and a privilege sharing this space with you. I wish you a peaceful and prosperous new year.
With much love and appreciation.