In the wider world, it seems like 2016 has been disastrous in many ways. However, for me, 2016 was really a chance for a redo of 2015 as I’d originally wanted it to be.
As it draws to a close it feels like it’s been the foundational year where I finally found all the edge and corner pieces I’ve been looking for. 2017 is where I’ll start to put the jigsaw together.
It’s still, and always will be, a work in progress but I’ve finally created daily routines that work for me, turning them into habits that enable me to make plans and action them.
The year started out with me aiming to meditate consistently. I signed up to try Headspace and it took most of January and February starting and stopping to get into it. Building it into my daily routine as the first thing I do upon waking cemented it. I’ve maintained several unbroken streaks and as of January 1st 2017, it will be at day 170. The calmer and clearer foundation it provides has definitely helped form the basis for the rest of the changes this year.
Meditation is now a daily part of my life. I am joining others in a 365 day challenge to meditate daily. Hopefully by the end of 2017 I will have a total unbroken streak of 535 days
The next major win for me is a better writing habit. The catalyst was Marc’s 30 day writing challenge in April. I had learnt from previous experiments to only take on one new habit at a time. Meditation was fairly well cemented by April so I committed to writing a post per week for the challenge. Setting this realistic amount that required a little pushing to succeed set me up nicely to meet (and slightly exceed) this goal and it didn’t burn me out. Whilst I’d like to have kept up that pace I’ve allowed myself some leeway because I was figuring out other areas of my life out during my allocated morning quiet time. Overall, I’m happy that I’ve published as many personal articles in 2016 than in all of my previous attempts at blogging combined since 2006.
My aim for 2017 is to double that by publishing at least twice a month. I’m aiming for a yearly target of around 30 posts on my personal site.
A side-benefit of writing more is that my thinking has improved — though there’s still plenty of room for betterment. It sets the stage nicely for doing more writing for business and pleasure in 2017 too.
Throughout the year I kept coming across references to the 5 minute journal and finally took the plunge in September. I fill it in most days. It’s a quick, simple way to reflect and appreciate what you have, and what you have done. It really helped cement the daily planning I need to do in order to make progress on the things that matter to me. I plan to continue with it for the foreseeable future and would recommend giving it a try yourself.
Health and Fitness
I’ve generally been pretty healthy this year although I’ve let myself go on the diet front since losing a lot of weight in 2014. My exercise régime has also been quite hit and miss. I’ve had a few good stints and then I’ve done nothing for periods and have to start from scratch again. Suffice to say that I still haven’t reached goals I set in 2015. Now that I have other habits better in place I am making exercise and eating more healthily a higher priority again for 2017.
In keeping with the rest of the theme of the year, 2016 was all about consolidation. Whilst our 2015-16 financial year ended with our best revenue figures yet there were many things we could have done better. I have spent this past year analysing exactly what we do for our clients, and what is profitable and what is not. We expanded the team so we’ve also been learning how to work better together and get our internal processes tweaked and tightened.
DYF (clients and conf)
I retook the revised DYF Clients course giving it the time and attention it needs. This kicked off the first half of the year and as a result I’ve learnt a lot about positioning and how to better market what we do, putting a better sales funnel into place. A first quarter goal for 2017 is to kick this new positioning and marketing into a higher gear and start building a bigger pipeline of work.
In June I went to Sweden for the DYF EU Conference, which I wrote about here. There are still many ideas that I took away from that which I’m yet to implement. They’re on my roadmap for 2017. It was an amazing, inspiring conference and I’m already booked to go back again in 2017.
I’m now lucky enough to be in two great mastermind groups. The first with Marc, Darren and Alex has now been running for a full year. In 2017 we’re going to work in seasons and really focus on shipping things.
The second group with Blair, Francesca and Marian (whom I met at DYFConf) is just as good - but in a different way.
It’s hard to quantify the benefits of having like-minded groups of people to lean on and bounce thoughts and ideas off. All I do know is that I wish I’d had this support years ago and I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings for us all.
Leadership and Business Mentoring
Another thing that 2016 taught me is that no matter where you are in your business, and no matter how well you’re doing having a mentor can help you achieve more. Throughout 2016 I have had the wonderful Marcus Blankenship to mentor me. With the help of his insights and advice I have a happier and more focused team and we’re now able to serve our clients better than ever before.
And the rest
I read a lot of books — fiction and non-fiction — I love reading and I’m going to continue that in 2017. I already have a pile to read as well an ever-growing list to purchase. I have started to be more mindful of the non-fiction books I read by making notes and taking the ideas and putting them into action. I shall be continuing this in 2017, publishing them here.
I have been poking around the edges of Stoicism this year, it really interests and intrigues me. I’m going to learn more about it and build the practices into my daily life in the coming year. I also want to teach its principles to my children to give them the right skills to prepare them for the highs and lows of life.
Finally, if there’s one thing I’m taking away from 2016 it’s about doing less but better. I’m shelving several ideas and side-projects to concentrate on my business first. I’ll still be doing more 30 day challenges and documenting them for the 30 days to anything book idea but everything else is on the back-burner for the time being.
All in all, it’s been a pretty great year for me and I’m looking forward to bigger and better things in 2017.