Forget New Years Resolutions — Try this instead. Annual Reviews: 2018 in ˈrɛtrəspɛkt: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

What a year. I wrote this a while ago but never posted it, so although 4 days late.. I’ll get it out on time next year. Today, I’d like to recap and share my highlights, failures, successes and biggest life lessons of 2018. It’s been the best year so far but that doesn’t mean everything was going my way.

Highlights

  • Sashayed my way down a catwalk during Africa’s London Fashion Week
  • Started writing my own book
  • Explored Phuket, Thailand
  • 2 x 2016 startup investments broke even 2018
  • Ziplined 1km, @ 80mph, from 170m up over the Marina
  • Explored the Phi Phi Islands
  • On a panel for Women in IT, watched myself on TV
  • Had the best Q1 and Q2 ever, got a new office location
  • Got a provisional (YIPEE, late I know)
  • Picked up in RR Wraith for a dinner with a friend in Mayfair
  • Some blog posts got sponsored
  • Experienced a drive in an i8 in June
  • Hosted a show for the first time with 50+ people
  • Spoke to 100+ in March for IWD
  • Dived into the Andaman Sea, with no knowledge of how to swim
  • Watch Shakira marry Soj and Zak marry K!
  • Chilled with Monkeys in the Buddha Cave @ Wat Suwan Kuha

Failures

This year I had a lot of failures. Life goes on. This year I failed to:

  • Stay consistent with the gym
  • Invest early in more assets
  • Wake up for 4:30-5:00AM everyday
  • See my Sheffield family
  • Publish consistently on my blog
  • Grow my blog readership and email list
  • Launch my video channel
  • Launch my podcast
  • Get involved in charity work
  • whatsapp image 2019-01-04 at 12.36.48 pmLaunch my clothing line
  • Get a car
  • Invest time in value producing assets
  • Invest time into the right relationships
  • Maintain a better relationship with my family and close friends
  • Filter what I expect from people
  • Limit my access to social media, emails and news
  • create long-term healthy habits
  • permanently quit substances that do more harm than good
  • fight feeling like an imposter
  • feel like I deserve everything I have
  • set clear priorities
  • write daily
  • acknowledge my lack of time keeping and habitual routines
  • hire the right staff, destroying my finances in Q3 and Q4

Successes:

  • Stayed relatively in shape
  • Hot Air Balloon with Falconry during sunrise in Dubai
  • Travelled over 2 continents: Phang Nga, Phuket, Dubai, Cardiff, Camargue, Rotterdam
  • Successfully project managed an event with over 70 guests in Liverpool with big names
  • Improved my self-awarenesswhatsapp image 2019-01-04 at 12.31.05 pm
  • Yoga and Pilates are successfully habitual
  • Learned a lot listening to podcasts
  • 28 weddings in 12 months!
  • Maya took me to Mariah Carey – first concert ever!
  • Read 10 books over 52 weeks
  • Totally cut down on Music, only Audiobooks on phone
  • Published 10 posts over 2018 with over 900 readers in 16 different countries
  • Learned how to use Wondashare Filamora to edit videos
  • Started using my DSLR for photography, up-leveled my understanding with a pro photographer
  • Learned Lightroom Classic CC to edit .jpg and RAW images
  • Pilates and Yoga consistently over the summer
  • Understood what I want in my life right now: deep work, deep love, discipline, community, commitment, stability
  • Got an idea of what leisure time I like: Pilates, ATV’s, long walks, hiking, extreme thrill sports
  • Understood that I don’t want to chase numbers and want to do things my way, on my time.
  • Learned a tiny bit of Arabic

Lessons of 2018:

Wealth is created slowly. Save one-tenth, live below your means, minimize expenses, invest and make your money multiply.

Only invest in the fields you know something about. An alternative way is to have an expert you can trust, otherwise, your investment will turn into a very expensive lesson. I’m still debating whether it was worth it but the lessons trump everything. like a visual blueprint I’ve set for myself.

I’m not entitled to anything. It’s hard to realize and face the truth that what was given to me can be taken away at any time, especially when I’ve worked so hard on it. In most cases, it will make someone very angry and will cause a lot of pain. Stop asking why me, start asking what’s next? That’s the motto.

Sometimes I’m not the best person. Tendencies of overpromising and underdelivering are not healthy long-term. Being resourceful comes from understanding what people need and going over and beyond to make it happen, but just as quick and easy that is for me, is as quick it is for me to lose all motivation to do it. When I’ve overpromised to make something happen, and the full weight hits my shoulders, I will drop it with no hesitation and no regard for the consequences of how anyone else gets affected.

Nothing is worth my peace. I’ve learned this year that I hate confrontation. It’s not like I can’t back myself or scream and shout. The person I am today took a lot of hard work, patience and graft to get to, so it has to be something colossal to have me back in that head space. It took a long time to pull myself out of that place, so anything that jeopardizes my peace and mental wellbeing, I will stand up and physically walk away from. You’ll get no reaction. No drama. I’ve walked away from my best friend this year, because of pain deflected onto me. I’ve walked away from friends that slipped up or put me in danger. I’ve walked away from hissy fits and miscommunications and misunderstanding or tone-deaf people. I’ve suffered and paid the price with losing my peace of mind before. Nothing is worth my peace. Silence, my friends, can sometimes be the most eloquent reply.

Nothing is permanent. The only constant is change. Move fast, take as much as you can and don’t get angry when things change. My job is to adapt and respond in a way that doesn’t alienate my core value and philosophy in life.

Not the destination, but the journey. Life’s motto. Enjoy the process. You grow in the dynamics of progression. Develop. Your foundations get stronger. You fall and learn the value of commitment. The doing is usually much more important than the outcome and who you become, essentially is the key. I’ve learned that I’m molded into somebody when I grow through what I go through, and the skills transfer to new problems. The journey holds the key to unlocking other levels in other chapters of my life.

It’s not my job to take action for other people. I want good for my family, friends and loved ones but only they can take action to improve their lives. Type of person I am, resourceful coming to mind, I’m all up in your business when someone wants or needs anything. What can I do? What needs to be fixed? How can I make this better? I’ve used resources, burnt bridges, made connections, burned through my pocket and purse, bent over backwards to make something happen. My job is to plant the seed of the change, support their thinking, fears and beliefs and be there when they’re ready. Don’t take it personally, don’t force it.

The most important work sometimes takes less than you think. Starting up a business takes less than a week. Creating yearly content plan takes an hour. Defining a clear goal takes less than a minute. Choosing to change your lifestyle takes split second. Just because it doesn’t take long it doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. I’ve got to focus on staying focused in my focused moments, and get the work done.

I already am who I want to be. You’re an actor, writer, singer, entrepreneur, athlete, artist, photographer, traveler, coach, friend, and lover. I am a friend, connector, the damn plug, a sister, daughter, engineer, aficionado, gym enthusiast, writer, traveler, daredevil and inspirer. I just need to do my job and carve it out. What I want is already inside of me. Let it out. Daily.

Allow myself to be a beginner. I’ve got to give myself permission to suck. I got back into Engineering again and came back fresh out of the industry for 4 years. Learning the basics again has been a journey, and it sucked. I expect better of myself. I’m always trying to run before I crawl. A friend of mine in the same field talks to me about work and I feel to level up always. Like a baby in the field. I need to suck. I owe it to myself. Create my worst work ever. Set up profiles wrong. Build a server that fails. Design something I’m proud of, show it to people and see how it’s being thrown out of the window. Hear people say it’s the worst thing they’ve ever seen. Once I do that, there’s nowhere to go but up.

Don’t take it personally. Whatever that is, an opinion, comment, feedback, insult. If people talk bad about me, they’re spreading their own crap. A projection of their own reality. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you’re not a victim. You can’t change their sh*t. You can’t remove it. You can’t even deal with it. I always say “Do something about the things you can control in your life. You cannot control what people say about you, what you can control is what you do about it. Your actions. Your beliefs. Your reaction.” Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. Their point of view and opinion come from all the programming they received growing up. When you take things personally, you feel offended and your reaction is to defend your beliefs and create conflict. You make something big out of something so little because you have the need to be right and make everybody else wrong. My breakups mean I’m not a bad person, we were just not the right fit. If someone screams and shouts, it ain’t me. Their dealing with mental anguish they’re deflecting onto me.

Stay single forever. Or a long time. Men ain’t sh*t. That is all. I’ve just grown tired of the whole restart and learn someone else’s likes and dislikes, habits and routines. Someone else’s baggage and drama and lack of emotional intelligence. Someone else’s intellectual disability or inability to consider anyone but themselves. Trust your gut and intuition, it somehow knows what you should do way before you. Listen to it. God removes to replace, and I’m grateful, but please hang on till 2020 though please God. I’m not emotionally ready.

Communication is everything. Even if it’s uncomfortable and uneasy, it will do you no good to hold everything in.

What you surround yourself with matters. Surround yourself with better people, food, information, energy, diversity, and ideals. You’re only as strong as the environment around you. If you surround yourself with champions, movers and shakers, healthy, hardworking, honest and knowledgeable people, you’ll become one too. It’s easy to eat healthy when the healthy restaurant and organic market is next door.

Notice the little things. I’ve learned the art of noticing how people thank me, how they express their feelings, how happy someone feels, noticed how friends have progressed on weight loss journeys, or how my local barista honors her craft. I notice how strangers speak to each other, the glint in their eyes, drivers stopping to let mothers cross with children. My friends who call from Qatar and spend hours filling me in. How the sun comes up in the morning, how the world comes to life. I notice the little acts of kindness and its everywhere and beautiful. It needs more attention. Life will go right on by if you don’t.

Fear is part of you and that is a good thing. It stops you from doing stupid shit and ensures you live another day. It serves you. But to a certain extent. We, humans, have completely redesigned the world and the threats that our lizard brain sees doesn’t exist anymore. Notice when your lizard brain speaks and don’t let it stop you from expressing your opinion, pitching an idea, telling people what you think of them and most importantly creating art. My motto is Feel the fear and do it anyway. Challenge yourself more.

You get what you focus on. I was telling my friend this recently, “you steer where you stare.” Its inevitable. If you focus on crashing into a pole, trying not to, that’s where your focus and energy goes and that’s where you’ll go. You’ll crash. What you focus on, manifests. In this instance, you should focus on where you’re trying to be and not what you’re trying to avoid. Same goes for victimizing yourself and blaming others. If you focus on eating healthy, you eat more veggies, drink more water, start moving and cut sugar. If you focus on writing, you read, you sketch, you write. If you focus on being a better friend, you make more calls, you listen, you put others first. You can’t focus on everything but focusing on nothing will get you nothing you want.

People come and go. Make sure you let the special ones know what they mean to you. Let them know they matter.

There will be times when life sucks. From a rollercoaster year, down mostly to the people and the wrong choices, this one speaks volumes. I’ve lost more than I’ve gained this year, but its much easier to just let it be. It has a lesson. Most of life is made of boring moments. No need to artificially be happy about it. If it sucks it sucks. Learn, love, live.

Breathe. Picking up Pilates and Yoga this year has been beautiful and by far the best investment I’ve made. Meditation is not just sitting in a lotus position and making weird sounds. It’s a mindful breathing and exercise for your brain. Your body doesn’t care about your fears, motivations and TV shows. It needs oxygen. Give more of it and your body will help you get what you want.

If you don’t challenge yourself, you’re already dead. Death is coming for you and me, sooner or later. I tell myself “Don’t die before you’re dead”. Take chances. Challenge yourself, take calculated risks. Someone once said, “Don’t live the same year 75 times and call that life” and another said, “Some people die at 30, but are not buried until 80.” Do things that make your blood curdle or heart uncontrollably pound.

Change it up. I’ve changed food, routine, houses, the people I hang out with. I’ve always been around different groups of people, the chameleon of some sort. The broke friends, the ones forever with female problems, the rich and wealthy friends, the business minded, the hungry. You don’t have to keep it the same way, just change it up from time to time to experience it fully, to appreciate things you take for granted. Change is good.

Get dirty. I sometimes go out and run in the rain, jump in the puddles, crawl in mud, jump on an ATV and ride through the jungle like I did. Only then do you feel alive, you feel how fun it is to play, only then you realize how fun it is to shower and lay in a clean bed while drinking tea and reading your favorite book.

Be yourself but don’t push other people by entering their personal space. What you stand for and what you believe in is all about you. Never give up on these things.

Sometimes you need to get really cold to understand the meaning of warmth. Same goes for love, money and purpose.

Every day you get to start over. Paulo Coelho once said, “One day or day one. You decide.”

Don’t expect everyone to understand. People see life through filters of their environment, past experiences and current situations. Nobody sees life through the same filters, even reading this – no two people will read these lessons for me the same way. So why expect someone to understand you, or understand how you truly feel about anything I go through or believe? Not everyone will understand how you need to be loved, or how you need to be heard. Dare I say, nobody will. Don’t waste time trying to verify yourself, or fishing for anyone’s approval. Your you, and that is your magic. I learnt that no friendship or relationship will exceed, match or reciprocate any of my expectations in being understood. Funny world isn’t it, that my biggest lesson is that your alone in it all. Its my strength.

You’re not the victim unless you choose to be. There are horrible, inhumane conditions and circumstances. But only you define how you operate in these circumstances. Don’t be a victim, don’t let others determine how your story ends. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

What are some of your 2019 resolutions and 2018 lessons?

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