A look back at 2014 and A look ahead to 2015

2014 has been a good year and I wanted to review some progress I have made, some stumbling blocks, and discuss a few things I would like to accomplish in 2015.

Social Assertiveness
Perhaps the most significant change in 2014 has been a growth in my assertiveness. I have been perhaps my own harshest critic. I used to beat myself up (not literally) over my mistakes, my shortfalls, and every time I would fail at something such as resisting junk food, candy, etc. In many ways, it was like carrying a bat around with me and hitting myself over every thing I did wrong. However, I never expected the people around me to live up to a certain standard as well.

This last year changed that. I have gone from being a bit of a pushover, to the other side where I demand more from others as well. Perhaps a bit too much. I have had people tell me that I can come across as abrasive, rude, and offensive. I am fine with this, because the pendulum had swung too far in the other direction where I would stretch myself too thin for others and risk my own happiness. Asserting myself, leading from a place of honesty (even if it hurts), and asking for more from others have been ways to develop my internal power.

I shall now work towards striking a balance. However, going from one polar to another with this issue has been immensely helpful in my growth this past year. I am still going to approach from a place of honest and forthright intentions, especially when it comes to meeting women and relationships. It has been easier for me to move on if the compatibility is not there. This confidence and ability to weather rejected has undoubtedly been a positive thing.

Social Media
I quit Facebook in the fall of 2013, and I have been able to stay off it all this year. I have also quit Instagram, but have been struggling with Snapchat. I expect that I will continue down this path of removing “social” media type connections, and moving towards more actual social connections. This includes using my phone less, YouTube less, and less random internet browsing. Ironically, here is a sketch on YouTube that highlights how big of a problem this has become:

And here is a recent article in New York Magazine about our addiction to the validation wagon of social media. I have perhaps noticed this most when I have gone out with girls (one instance of that posted here). People are having a hard time being with another human being where they have to make an effort to be social, when the quick validation from a selfie (by say a pretty girl) is enough for them to feel they got their social fix.

Men are not immune to this of course. I have been with many buddies who are quick to reply to every single message they get on their phones, even during important one-on-one conversations. I am guilty of this as well, and I shall be working on this.

It is not enough to remove this habit of course. I have to fill it with something. I want to spend 2015 actively cultivating more rich in-person relationships with people. To meet new people again who I want to get to know. This is remarkably difficult after university where spontaneous meetings with new people are a lot easier. I will undoubtedly have to grow well past my comfort zone and actively go after social activities where I can do this. I am most looking forward to this area in my life.

Health & Fitness
This has been another area of positive growth. I started off the year being a raw vegan, eating a high carb low fat diet. I soon could not eat enough fruit to stay full during the day. I then transitioned to a cooked diet with very little fat (no oil at all) based in starches (still completely vegan). I came to this place after much reading. I am grateful I finally have a eating pattern that is easy to maintain, fills me with a lot of energy, and keeps me in shape. I started the journey by reading The China Study (the largest epidemiological study of nutrition), Forks Over Knives, The 80/10/10 Diet (which put me on the raw vegan path) and The Starch Solution by John McDougall (which finally helped me eat cooked foods again, while keeping the right macros). There are many other books/articles I am probably omitting, but this has been a good place of growth for me. I have experimented and failed at my approaches to diet and nutrition over the last 3-4 years, but the entire picture makes sense to me now.

In terms of fitness, I started the year doing crazy 6-day workouts in a week with programs like Insanity by Shaun T from 2013, but I have since transitioned towards more HIIT over fewer days in a week. I am currently working out 3 days/week, and I am satisfied there. I have finally come to the acceptance that exercise and fitness is something that will happen over my entire life. Programs such as Insanity, P90X, etc are 30/60/90 day programs, and I would always fall off the wagon with them. I was trying too hard to turn my fitness around in 30-90 days at a time. That sort of mindset was destructive as it made me think that fitness was a destination, not an on-going practice.

I experimented with going to the gym, but I have since found that working out at the home is the best option for me. I save a tremendous amount of time a week this way, and I have a lot more flexibility at when I can work out.

I expect to have the greatest gains in health and fitness during 2015 now that I have a sustainable and consistent path to follow. I would like to re-introduce yoga into the mix, because I really enjoy it tremendously.

Misc
I now only shave with a straight razor. James Bond style. It had a steeper learning curve, and there were many many cuts in the first few weeks, but I wouldn’t shave any other way.
There is a major life-altering goal I will start working on near the end of 2015, but I expect that to unravel in its own way.
I experimented a lot with side projects in 2013 such as the children’s education subscription box business The Travelling Monk (which got some great reviews and great customer traction). I did not pursue anything of that sort in 2014, but these side projects really added a lot of zest to life and really helped me grow. I expect 2015 to have more side projects to keep me busy.

How have you grown this last year and what are your areas of focus for the upcoming year? Any comments/criticism/questions about what I shared above? Share below! And don’t forget to subscribe to this website.

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