The Best Way to Approach The New Year: Past Year Reviews and ResolutionsTotal read time: 12 minutes

New Years.

Welcome to the Last day of the Week.

The Last day of the Month.

And the Last day of the Year.

Goodbye 2017. Hello 2018.

The traditional habit amongst us Americans is to make New Year Resolutions on New Year’s Eve or New Years Day. We resolve to accomplish a major change in our lives. To make the new year the best year yet. This alone sounds great, but unfortunately, in most cases, these resolutions are extremely vague, have no solid plan, no deadline, or just no true basis in reality.

Some may say things like:

I’m going to lose 20 lbs this year.

I will read 1 book every month.

I will get promoted.

I will start a business.

This is “Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail

When you look back on your life. 1 year ago from today. Are you healthier? Are your finances better? Do you know a new skill or a new language? Do you have a better job, career, or your own business? Is your family relationships stronger?

So, with all of that being said, I have adopted a Timothy Ferriss approach to New Years and that’s to do a Past Year Review.

Here’s what Tim has to say what a PYR is:

I am often asked about how I approach New Year’s resolutions. The truth is that I don’t make them anymore, even though I did for decades. Why the change? First, I realized that without accountability to someone else, resolutions rarely get accomplished. This led me to experiment with working with a close friend to mutually assign each other resolutions (with deadlines), which worked. Second, I have found “past year reviews” (PYR) more informed, valuable, and actionable than blindly looking forward with resolutions. I did my first PYR after a mentor’s young daughter died of cancer on December 31st roughly 7 years ago, and I’ve done it every year since. It looks like the following and only takes 30-60 minutes:

Grab a notepad and create two columns: POSITIVE and NEGATIVE.
Go through your calendar from the last year, looking at every week.
For each week, jot down on the pad any people and activities that triggered peak positive or negative emotions for that month.
Once you’ve gone through the past year, look at your notepad list and ask “What 20% of each column produced the most reliable or powerful peaks?”
Based on the answers, take your “positive” leaders and schedule more of them in 2018. Get them on the calendar now! Book things with friends and prepay for shit now! That’s step one. Step two is to take your “negative” leaders, put “NOT-TO-DO LIST” at the top, and put them somewhere you can see them each morning for the first few weeks of 2018. These are the people and things you *know* make you miserable, so don’t put them on your calendar out of obligation, guilt, FOMO, or other nonsense.
That’s it! Let me know how it goes if you try it.

And just remember: it’s not enough to remove the negative. That simply creates a void. Get the positive things on the calendar ASAP, lest they get crowded out by the bullshit and noise that you know will attempt to fill your days. As Peter Drucker said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Good luck and godspeed! 🙏

Here are my chicken-scratch writing of notes of my PYR:

In the end, I decided that the four biggest positive impacts on my life this year were:

  • Running Events (races and what not)
  • Shopify Store (Dropship Life Style)
  • This Blog! (Phil Learns A Langauge)
  • Studying French
  • ~The automatic and hidden 5th impact is my girlfriend. I’m going to marry this girl 😉

PYR: Positive

Running Events

This year I ran a total of 4 races:

    • Run For Love 10K

Run For Love 10K Race

    • Vertical Marathon

Vertical Marathon Race

    • The Color Run

The Color Run Race

    • 10 Mile Phuket Run

Phuket 10 Mile Race

The impact these runs had on my life is greater than one can imagine. Also, these are the first races I’ve ever done in my life!

Why were these races impactful?

  1. Having a race on my calendar and already paid for, really motivated me to keep up my own running practice and to eat healthily.
  2. With having a good running practice I typically woke up early to do so and therefore I had longer days and was more productive throughout the day, throughout the week, and throughout the month.
  3. Again, with having the running habit, I was able to listen to tons of podcasts and just constantly improve my mind and knowledge while improving my health. I listen to podcasts when I run, not music.
  4. Finally, running has become a meditative sport for me. Particularly at the 10km or greater distance it can really put me in the zone and I am just present with myself, my body, my mind, and my environment.

Drop Ship Lifestyle

This is the biggest and best monetary investment I did this year. At $2,000, I got lifetime access to the best training there is out there for learning how to open and run a drop shipping store on Shopify. I’m not selling their course but if you’re interested that’s dropshiplifestyle.com

This year, in May, I was able to start my 1st successful dropshipping Shopify store. Of course, it wasn’t successful at first, that took a few months and some growing pains. However, once I made it, I made it. I have since sold that store to a new owner, However, the knowledge and experience I’ve gained from DSL and my store are invaluable.

I will be going through the DSL training again and starting a new Shopify store this year with a goal of having a virtually hands-off drop shipping business running in the background of my life providing a steady source of income.

Phil Learns A Language

PLAL is this blog! I love all of my non-existent readers already hahaha. No, but seriously, I love this blog.Honestly, it just feels so good to finally be writing my own thoughts and experiences about what I love most. There’s no one to judge me, and no rules to follow, just to be me. You either like me or you don’t.

This new year I want to take the blog more seriously, treat it more like an 8-hour-day job, especially since I do honestly have the time.

I expect great things from PLAL. I want to provide you guys with so much ridiculous value and I want us all to learn a new language this year!

Studying French

Oddly enough, I have chosen this to have made a big impact on my life. Even though I’ve only been studying French for 3 weeks now, it has greatly impacted me. It’s the simple determination and dedication to learn a new foreign language that has helped me in many areas of my life.
I just generally feel good. I feel proud and accomplished by doing something I love. Learning a language.

My brain is loving the new challenge. Through the frustrations, I know that I’m helping to keep my mind young and fresh. If we’re not moving forward we’re moving backward right?
Learning French is keeping me motivated to write and work on this blog.

Also, it’s making me more active on Youtube.

Okay, that’s the end of the PYR Positives. Now it’s time to move onto the three negatives. Two activities and one person that I will vow to avoid this year.

PYR: Negatives

Pin

Let’s keep this one short. Pin is just someone I want to avoid 😛

Getting Drunk

Now I’m all for a good drink here and there. I love me a nice cold Asahi or a delicious Chianti Classico but to drink in excess is truly painful.

I’ve had 2 very negative and painful experiences this year due to myself getting drunk.

  1. I was so drunk that I made a fool of myself on the dance floor, lost my debit card, and lost my Fitbit.
  2. The second experience of drunkenness involved me hurting someone dear to me. Not physically, but emotionally. The next day when we talked about it I was ashamed of my words and actions, both of which I had no recollection of.

Therefore, I resolve to never drink to excess.

I rarely drink as it is anyways, to keep it to some moderation shall be a simple task and a good life-long habit.

Not Saving Money

I have no savings.

I am massively in debt.

This year, not having a savings has truly affected my life experience. It’s removed options and possibilities and provoked embarrassing and shameful moments. It is the sorest point of my life.

I am a man. A man should provide.

Whether you believe that or not, it doesn’t matter. Because it’s who I want to be. I want to be the bread-winner, bringing home the bacon, and providing a stable life for myself and future family.

It’s time to save.
Firstly that’ll come by paying off some debt.

Past Year Review – END

Resolutions – Begin

Now, of course, I do have some goals that I want to accomplish this year. Some big goals. However, I’m NOT going to tell you them. Instead, I’m going to tell you my New Year Habits & Daily Actions. Recently I’ve been inspired by the book Today Matters: The 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow’s Success by John C. Maxwell

and by Poem The Lifebuilder’s Creed by Dale Witherington:

Today is the most important day of my life.
Yesterday with its successes and victories, struggles and failures is gone forever.
The past is past.
Done.
Finished.
I cannot relive it. I cannot go back and change it.
But I will learn from it and improve my TODAY.

TODAY. This moment. NOW.
It is God’s gift to me and it is all that I have.

Tomorrow with all its joys and sorrows, triumphs and
troubles isn’t here yet.
Indeed, tomorrow may never come.
Therefore, I will not worry about tomorrow.

Today is what God has entrusted to me.
It is all that I have. I will do my best in it.
I will demonstrate the best of me in it —
my character, giftedness, and abilities —
to my family and friends, clients and associates.
I will identify those things that are most important to do TODAY,
and those things I will do until they are done.
And when this day is done
I will look back with satisfaction at that
which I have accomplished.
Then, and only then, will I plan my tomorrow,
Looking to improve upon Today, with God’s help.

Then I shall go to sleep in peace … content.

Success is something that is obtained by having a good daily habit and foundation. Tomorrow isn’t promised and the past is the past. If I was to die tonight, I should be able to look back on my day and be happy and proud and leaving a legacy for my friends and family.

So I have resolved to follow the Daily Dozen, as outlined and Today Matters and they are:

  1. Attitude – possess possibilities
  2. Priorities – remain focused
  3. Health – enjoy strength
  4. Family – exhibit stability
  5. Thinking – hold an advantage
  6. Commitment – possess tenacity
  7. Finances – exercise options
  8. Faith – sense of inner peace
  9. Relationships – experience fulfillment
  10. Generosity – feel significant
  11. Values – receive direction
  12. Growth – learn and have potential

Attitude

I will work daily on my attitude in 2 ways

  1. Daily Morning Meditation with Headspace.
  2. My Personal Morning Questions I created from Anthony Robbins Personal Power 2.

Priorities

I will keep my priorities straight in 2 ways

  1. Write a to-do list every morning or the night before.
  2. That to-do list will contain the ONE THING that MUST be done.

Health

I will improve my health in 2 ways

  1. Follow the Slow Carb Diet
  2. Intermittent Fasting with a minimum of 16 hours daily fasting

Family

I will improve my family and friend relationships in 2 ways

  1. Sending at least 1 text per day to any random family member or friend
  2. Scheduling 1 video phone call with a family member or friend once per week. (The word “scheduling” is important as I won’t beat myself over the head if I can’t keep that schedule or if they have to cancel as well. I will consider it an accomplishment to at least make the commitment)

Thinking

I will improve and work on my reflective thinking in 1 way

  1. journalling everynight and reflecting on the day

Commitment

I will work on my spirt of commitment in 2 ways

  1. Writing for PLAL – this blog (writing doesn’t mean publishing a blog post daily)
  2. Study French

Finances

I will improve my financial situation in 3 ways

  1. Track my spending
  2. Be greateful for what I already have
  3. Don’t compare myself to others

Faith

I will renew my faith in God 1 way

  1. Remembering daily that I am a Christian and that I believe in Him and that I am saved.

I am being realistic here guys. I am not going to make the commitment to pray or read the bible every day. Maybe that’s for 2019. Now it’s a baby step. If I can remember daily of what I believe in, that’ll feel good in and of itself.

Relationship

I will improve my relationship with my girlfriend in 1 way

  1. Ask and Answer the question: How can I make her happy today?

Generosity

I will become generous in 1 way

  1. Giving myself, my time, to others. Adding free value to their lives. I plan to do this by helping my Chiense friend’s English via Wechat, the social networking app here in China.

Values

TBA

Growth

I will grow in 1 way

  1. Read. Everday. Morning or night. Nonfiction or Fiction. Just read.

So let’s now rewrite the Daily Dozen with the associated actions

  1. Attitude = headspace meditation
  2. Priorities = to-do list with a top priority
  3. Health = slow carb diet and intermittment fasting
  4. Family = texting and scheduling video calls
  5. Thinking = journal and reflect
  6. Commitment = write
  7. Finances = track spending, be grateful, don’t compare
  8. Faith = remembering I’m a Christian
  9. Relationships = make my girlfriend happy
  10. Generosity = give myself, my time, free value to others
  11. Values = TBA
  12. Growth = read

These daily habits and actions are just that. They should be looked at daily and done daily to WIN the day. By winning today I am setting myself up for success tomorrow. The plan, idea, and goal is to make these a part of every day in the new year. However, I will take it one day at a time. Looking at the entire year can be overwhelming.

God Speed.

Happy 2018 To Everyone

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