So it’s the beginning of a new year and my social media feeds have been flooded by articles about new year’s resolutions. I’ve read some interesting things the past couple of weeks and thought I’d give my 2 cents.
I generally think that if you want to improve something in your life or reach certain goals, you should go right ahead and do it rather than wait for a new year to do so. Still, I recognise that a new year can be a strong motivator; a time to reflect upon the last year and tackle the new year with a clean slate and fresh motivation.
There was an interesting article by Ben Hardy, where he argued that in order to really achieve your goals long term, you should already be planning for 2018 now. I see the value of long term planning, but I don’t necessarily think you need to plan that far ahead. The most important thing is that you focus on becoming the person you want to be and pursue the knowledge, skills, opportunities, relationships and lifestyle necessary to achieve that.
One of the best ever articles about new year’s resolutions is ‘6 Harsh Truths that Will Make You a Better Person‘ by David Wong from Cracked. The article is very direct and illustrates how our true nature should be mirrored in the actions we take and the decisions we make. It’s a must read!
Anyway, Tim Ferris recently released a podcast about how he does a ‘post match analysis’ at the end of every year to determine his goals for the new year, so I decided to do something similar.
2016 in Review
Despite being considered by many as one of the worst years in the past decades, I think that 2016 was one of the best years of my life! I didn’t achieve all of my resolutions from the last year and there were obviously ups and downs, as with any year. Overall though, I really think I achieved a lot of what I wanted to do. I’ve broken the year down into ‘travel’, ‘business’ and ‘personal life’.
Travel & Adventures
2016 was an amazing year for travelling. I visited 20 countries, of which 13 were new countries that I had never been to before. I had some great adventures, saw unforgettable things and met some amazing people. I ‘lived’ 5 weeks in Spain (Malaga), 3 months in Denmark (Copenhagen) and 5 months in the Netherlands (Amsterdam). The rest of the time I spent mainly travelling around Europe and Asia, visiting Morocco, Thailand (twice), Cambodia, Vietnam, Hungary, Iceland, Finland, Sweden (twice), Germany (twice), Myanmar, Nepal, India, UAE (Dubai), Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia and Ukraine (technically in 2017).
I spent much of the year working freelance as a digital nomad, which taught me a lot about passive income and gave me the chance to really travel around a lot.
Highlights of the year include discovering Thailand and Vietnam, visiting Angkor Wat in Cambodia, road tripping through Iceland, travelling through Finland, discovering Myanmar and accidentally crashing a Burmese wedding, tracking wild rhinos in Chitwan National Park in Nepal, skiing in the middle of the desert in Dubai and spending the last day of the year in the Caucasus mountains in Georgia.
It’s been an amazing year in terms of travel and I hope to continue travelling throughout 2017!
Business & Work
My goal in 2016 was to figure out what exactly I wanted to do with my life, which is why I wanted to do the whole ‘digital nomad’ thing and travel while working remotely. I wanted to prove to myself that I could earn money online and sustain myself while travelling. I also wanted to take time to think about what exactly I want to do afterwards.
In many senses, this was a big success. I spent 7 months working as a freelancer and building passive income sources that I managed to sustain throughout my travels. I also managed to develop my side-projects further and monetise the blog for the first time! Working successfully online took off a lot of pressure and allowed me to really think about my next steps.
As for figuring out what I want to do career-wise, I figured out that I would like to work in tech. I have been working with startups and digital marketing for a few years and I decided that I wanted to take the leap and apply to tech startups in Amsterdam. I managed to find an awesome job working as a Growth Hacker for Growth Tribe. I am learning a lot of new stuff every day, meeting interesting people every week and making a good living.
In the long term, I still think that I will one day start my own business once I feel that I am ready and know exactly what I want to do.
Personal Life & Health
In terms of personal life, a lot changed in 2016. I lived in Copenhagen with my girlfriend for 3 months and we moved together to Amsterdam in August. Living in Amsterdam has been great and I am still discovering more and more of the city every day!
I met a lot of great people while travelling, including a bunch of other digital nomads who have shared their stories and experience with me. After moving to Amsterdam, everything went very quickly and I had little time for a social life. Since then though, I have made some more friends in the city and have visited friends in a bunch of different countries.
The transition from the total freedom of working remotely to having a full time job was tough at the beginning, though it has been worth it. It took me a while to find a good balance in my day-to-day life and I am still looking for the perfect rhythm.
My main failing this year has been health and fitness. I planned to get into shape and did very little to achieve that, which I have felt in the last quarter of this year as my immune system has been significantly weaker. I did practically cut out tobacco and significantly reduced my alcohol consumption though, which are positive steps but not enough.
All in all 2016 has been an adventurous, exciting and life-changing year. I hope to build on that in 2017.
Resolutions for 2017
2016 was a year for finding myself and figuring out what I want in life. I’ve come a long way and now hope to continue into 2017!
Travel & Adventures
I am determined to travel a lot this year, despite having a full time job. I want to prove that even with full time work and a fixed ‘base’ I can go on adventures and discover new countries, even if my tally might be less impressive than in 2016.
I already started the new year in Tbilisi (Georgia) followed by a day of exploring Kiev (Ukraine). I will try to travel to Spain to see family for a weekend as well as to Cologne (Germany) to celebrate carnival. I also plan to visit Belgium, France, Hungary and the UK to see friends.
In March I will travel to Japan and South Korea for the first time, spending just over a week in both. This is gonna be a big bucket list trip for me so I am super excited to discover 2 of the few Asian countries I have not yet visited!
I will also hopefully travel for work and discover more of Amsterdam and the Netherlands.
Business & Work
I am really enjoying my job and see myself staying here for the foreseeable future. I want to learn as much as possible and start saving up some money for the future.
My side-projects have gone well so far and I hope that they continue to be successful in 2017, especially Affairs Today, which we will try to monetise and grow this year.
The blog has been a bit hit and miss. On the one hand, I managed to determine the direction of the content and even monetised it for the first time, which was nice. On the other, I didn’t produce anywhere near as much content as I wanted to and didn’t work enough on building a following. That will be a big priority for 2017!
My plan for this year is to learn to code and to get more into UX Design. I think that these skills are going to be most relevant for my work and most useful for the future. I also want to get more into AI and automation.
In terms of saving money, I want to try and save €10,000 by summer and hopefully even more by the end of the year. I have been looking more and more into property and other forms of investment and passive income, so that might be something to work towards.
Personal Life & Health
In terms of personal life, I want to meet more people and make more friends in Amsterdam. I also want to make an effort to visit a lot of friends who are scattered across the continent.
The main personal development will be in terms of fitness and health. I have to be honest, my first week of the new year has not been a good example and I am committed to make some serious changes. I want to start cutting down on sugar and carbs and start going to the gym on a regular basis. I need to lose 15kg to achieve my ideal weight and I am determined to make that happen this year. I also want to get back to practicing the Wim Hof Method to boost my immune system, increase productivity and bring some peace of mind.
I also noticed that by the end of 2016, I was more on edge and more stressed than usual. Now that I have learned the ropes and settled in, I want to work on achieving a good life balance and bring in some routine to free up time and make sure my priorities are in order. I particularly want to start getting up earlier and doing both workout and meditation before work.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations and thanks for taking the time! I don’t know how interesting this is for others, but I wanted to write all of my thoughts down and have some public accountability to put some pressure on me to achieve my goals and resolutions for 2017.