It’s that time of year for reflection. I’m guessing gyms around the world are busy right now with signups, although it would be interesting to know how many of these memberships are still in use by the end of the year.
When I reflect on the past year, I’m proud of what we managed to achieve and even if I didn’t quite achieve all my goals, I achieved things that I hadn’t planned on at the beginning of the year.
I know some people think goal setting at the beginning of the year is a waste of time – as if you’re just setting yourself up for failure – but I don’t believe that.
I think it’s great to give your mind a chance to think about what you hope to achieve in the 12 months to come. Even if you don’t do everything you set out to during the year, by thinking about it in the first place will mean you’re more likely to get some of your goals achieved, surely?
Last year I promised to reflect at the end of the year on what I did and didn’t achieve. Although this is kind of a painful blog post to write, because I certainly didn’t achieve as much as I’d hoped, here goes…
What I did and didn’t achieve from my 2014 goals:
Goal: To get my flat stomach back again by December
Achieved… kind of.
My stomach isn’t flat right now, but it’s certainly better than what it was. A friend we met in Bolivia and then caught up with again in Perth recently remarked on how much weight we’d lost over the year. Our parents said the same thing.
In fact, Dave has lost an astonishing 10 kilos or more, which is remarkable when you think about how difficult it is to establish a healthy routine when you’re on the road.
But one thing we did this year was to stop making excuses for ourselves. We decided we could eat healthily as we travelled, and have been making conscious decisions to do so.
Christmas holidays might have deterred us a little, but we’ll get back to healthy living this year, I’m sure.
Goal: To eat meat (excluding fish) only 1-2 times a month, if at all.
Really wish we had achieved this one, but finding meat-free items in South and Central America was a lot harder than anticipated. Every meal is served with meat, even breakfast (!), making it a struggle for us.
Coming back to Australia, where it’s much easier to be a vegetarian, has made us want to give up meat again. And then we eat a juicy hunk of lamb and we say… hang on a minute. Can I really live without this?
It’s something we’re working on.
Goal: Read one book a week and write a monthly blog reviewing the four books. So that’s reading 52 books this year!
I got halfway through the year and then our business got busier and busier and I really struggled to make time to read.
It was probably also hindered by the discovery of Netflix series which seemed to take up far too much of our time. Over Christmas we’ve had a bit of a break from work and as a result I’ve managed to read a book a week, but I really don’t think it’s going to be sustainable in the long term.
Goal: Eat locally whenever possible, cut down on flying and try to minimise buying products made in poor working conditions.
I think this was a win. Throughout Mexico and other places we travelled to last year, we certainly ate in the markets and had street food a lot of the time, ensuring we were eating locally. We also tried not to eat too much imported food, and with heavy taxes on imported items in Ecuador, where we lived for four months, this made this goal somewhat more achievable.
We’ve also tried to buy less cheap clothing that most likely has originated from sweat factories. I’m certainly more conscious about this than I used to be. Because all of what we own is what we carry on our backs, this makes life a lot easier too.
We did cut down on flying this year, and ended up bussing most of our trip through Latin America. But I must confess, by the fifth 10 hour bus ride I was finding it a little tedious and we did buy a flight here and there to compensate for the excess overnight bumpy bus rides.
Goal: Set up a freelancing website to advertise our services (live by the end of February) and begin to apply for freelancing work.
We achieved this goal far and it has exceeded our expectations.
Not only did we launch our website, we’ve got a loyal base of clients now that allows us to comfortably live a lifestyle we love.
We’ve worked hard and it’s paid off. I’m so proud of all Dave’s achieved.
We’re now actually managing to save money each month – while we travel the world. This was a goal I set at the beginning of 2014, thinking that it’d be wonderful to achieve it but slightly doubting whether we would.
To have gone beyond that is certainly something wonderful. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to recognise just how far we’ve come in a year.
Goal: Finish our e-book by the end of April. Finish a first draft of one novel by the end of the year.
Oops. Safe to say I utterly failed on this goal this year. Our e-book was put on the backburner after we re-evaluated whether it was going to be any good.
We’ve since decided that we do need to write it, but we’re putting priority on our other projects right now. Dave is writing something new, after he sent his final draft of his novel off to publishers and agents, and I have been busy interviewing digital nomads about their lifestyles.
I think we’ll complete these projects and then reconvene on our join e-book.
As for my novel… sigh. Not much progress has been made on this at all yet I’m afraid.
So that’s a re-cap of last year’s goals. What plans am I setting myself for this year? Let’s take a look.
Goals for 2015:
Do yoga at least four times a week
Mum bought Dave and I yoga mats for Christmas and so far we’ve been using them for about half the week each week. It really makes me feel great and I want to keep it up – it’ll be interesting to see how flexible we get by the end of the year if we do.
We plan on going to classes to learn the proper techniques. When we’re living in Bali we’re sure we’ll be able to find ample places to practice!
Run twice a week
Dave and I have been running even more than twice a week lately and it makes me feel amazing. We were even thinking of building up to do a half marathon – by having a goal like this we think it’ll help us to stay focused on our fitness this year.
The more running I do, the more I’m enjoying it. And after seeing Dave’s brother drop 20 or so kilos this year after his newly found fitness regime was implemented, he’s become somewhat of an inspiration to us all.
So, time to pick a place to do a half marathon – any suggestions? Who knows, if we improve our fitness enough, perhaps next year we’ll be doing a full marathon!
Finish my e-book
As I mentioned previously, I spent the last few weeks in Mexico interviewing people from all different walks of life for my book on digital nomadism.
I’ve begun transcribing the interviews and need to finish it off – this is certainly on my to do list. Everyone had some really interesting things to say and I spoke to a lot of inspiration people. I hope to pass down some of this inspiration in the book.
Put aside an hour each week to work on my novel
Rather than setting a goal such as, ‘Complete my novel by the end of the year,’ I’ve decided to instead put aside an hour a week to work on the novel. Little by little, I hope to make progress on it. It might not be finished by the end of the year, but hopefully it’ll be a lot closer to completion than it currently is.
Drink less alcohol – have at least three nights a week that are alcohol free
Over Christmas and New Year a lot of alcohol has been consumed, and I’m certainly starting to see how bad it is for me. I get seriously bloated after a bit of boozing – sometimes uncomfortably so – and I know it’s unhealthy for me.
I’ve also noticed, surprise, surprise, just how less productive I am after a binging session.
Hopefully by travelling to Bali – where they are infamous for their lack of quality wine – it’ll entice me to cut back on the boozing a bit.
Eat less meat – have at least two nights a week that are meat free
Rather than quit meat all together – which is certainly been a challenge for me – I’m happy to just cut down my consumption of it.
We humans never used to eat meat every day, it was previously a Sunday roast once-a-week treat. It’s so cheap and accessible now that we don’t give eating it a second thought. But we should. It’s damaging the environment, not to mention killing a whole host of animals unnecessarily.
Eating less meat also makes me feel physically better too. I’ve noticed, for example, that my skin really clears up when I eat less meat.
So please, pass the veggies.
Do some volunteering and give back to the community in some way
We really wanted to volunteer in Latin America last year but we unfortunately run out of time.
When we’re in Asia there’ll be ample opportunity to volunteer our time and there’s going to be no excuses this year.
A few years ago, when I was an overseas orphan for Christmas and Dave was working, I volunteered on Christmas and Boxing Day at a women’s homeless shelter. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Not only did I feel like I was making a (small but beneficial) difference, I learnt loads too.
It permanently altered the way I view homelessness. So bring on some more volunteering in 2015!
Make twice as much money in our business this year than we did last year
You might scoff at this being a bit of an ambitious goal, but after the success our business had last year, I really feel like this goal could be achievable this year.
If it is, it means we’d have enough money to move back to Perth. This isn’t necessarily what we want to do, but it’s nice to have the option and the flexibility.
We are setting ourselves individual business goals – one of them is to diverse our client base by finding new ones, and finding more ways to make money from our blog and travel writing – but we’ve already received news from our existing clients that they’re keen on upping our work load this year.
Full speed ahead then!