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Last year I didn’t do any reflection and I think that showed in my performances. I wasn’t as focused as I normally am, and my recollection of the goals I achieved versus failed at wasn’t as good either. This year I’m borrowing the structure from James Clear to perform my annual reflection. By answering three simple questions I hope to get a bit better clarity of where I’m standing right now and where I am heading in the next year.

What went well this year?

Habits. I got into many successful habits during the year which helped my personal growth. Towards the end of the year I started bullet journaling. This has been great because it gives me a space where I can reflect daily on the small things I need to do, what I need to get better at and what I’m doing good at the moment. The full list of good habits established includes:

  • One minute plank exercise every morning
  • Meditation for ten minutes
  • Reading every day
  • Journaling in the morning
  • Exercise on a regular basis

Travel. I actually didn’t travel as much as I would have liked to. But other areas of my life was taking priority so travel had to take a step back this year. Still there were some very nice places I got to explore and experience.

I got to see Florence for the first time in spring. And in summer Linda and I went to Visby in Sweden, that was also a first for me. This short trip allowed for some breathing room before we flew up north to visit my family in Sundsvall. But two weeks in total was a bit short for visiting family and friends, I felt I had to hurry around a lot. I could not settle down and get into my usual calm while I’m up there.

In September Linda and I went to Lanzarote to relax and just recharge our batteries. After a lot of extra work for me in both summer and autumn this was a welcomed trip. The sun and swimming made good and we could go back to Switzerland recharged and ready for the rest of the year.

My last trip was in December when I went with the Smilecom team to Budapest. It was another first for me and I was positively surprised about the pulse of the city. It had this eastern flare to it and with the many spas it was a hit. A great time for me to reflect and think a bit about my current situation.

Work. I’ve been doing many interesting projects over the year but my far biggest challenge has been the consultant role at the UBS Investment Bank. For the last 6 months I’ve been working with a team of skilled backend developers, business analysts and UX architects at the bank. This has been a huge learning experience for me to be around so many skillful people. I’ve been able to focus fully on my frontend practice and implementing VueJS applications.

Health. In November 2017 I started going to the gym for the first time. I love doing the cross fit and finish off the session with some rowing. I went with Linda regularly at around 3 times a week until beginning of June. There I paused a bit because the summer was so hot. I rather wanted to be outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. In the autumn I came back and went regularly again until the end of October. I feel in better shape than last year but there is still much to do. A focus for 2019 should be on nutrition and how I can find out a diet that will work for me.

What didn’t go so well this year?

Writing. I haven’t focused very much on writing this year. It’s a shame because I know how important writing is to me. It clarifies my thinking and helps me grow. This should definitely take some priority in the new year.

Travel. Another thing which is important but took a step back in 2018. A change of scenery, an opportunity to explore something different, breathing new air. All those things are important nourishment for the soul. I already have a few trips booked for the new year. It feels good to focus on travel again in 2019.

What did I learn?

I learned to take a break when I need it. When you hit a wall, don’t keep pushing. It’s better to go for a walk and let the solution come by itself. Your subconscious will work it out for you. Don’t force it.

Best books

  • Never Split the Difference. This book turned me into a better negotiator. A topic which I’ve despised most of my life. But negotiating well is an essential skill to have. Will reread it in 2019.
  • The Bullet Journal Method. Reading this book probably introduced the biggest shift in my thinking. Every morning I now sit down and reflect in my notebook. It’s such a relief to get away from digital screens and tools.
  • The Daily Stoic. Philosophy for how to live. Tobias introduced me to stoicism last year and this book is pure wisdom. It contains a meditation for each day for how to reflect and act.

Things I write.

Personal blog by Johannes Holmberg.
Thinking and musing.