First and foremost I want to wish you the best in this new year for
- Your health
- Your wealth
- Love and relations
- Your career
- Your happiness
Isn’t it frustrating how every year after a festive season we start the new year with the best of intentions and are fully motivated by our usual resolutions : Lose weight, change career, eat better, read more books, save money… only to give up on the 1st of February (hey you managed two more weeks of intensive exercise than last year after all).
We have all been there, right? I have as well and that is ok.
Well friends, the change of year is also the perfect occasion to reflect on the past year and to share some of the great stuff I experienced, learned and that inspired me in 2017. I strongly believe some of this packed goodness will help us all achieve our goals for 2018 and beyond. So without further ado here they are :
- For several years my focus has been on quality food, as clean as possible (vs. processed) and in addition to lose a few kilos. The quality food part has not been a major struggle but losing weight has. In August, I woke up one morning and went “enough is enough!” I started to apply real changes to my diet and although I have not reached my target yet, the results are visible on the weight scale and surprisingly enough not that hard to achieve. Was I not committed enough previously?
- I have managed to stay consistent on my exercise plan which makes me feel better and energized on a more regular basis. My trick to stick to it more than 1 month has been to make it easier for me to get started : I have chosen a subscription at the closest gym, shortened my sessions and my sports bag is in the hallway always ready to be picked up.
- Thanks to a Belgian initiative “Tournée minérale” (foundation against cancer), I experimented one month without alcohol for the first time in 20 years. I realized again it was much easier than I thought it would be and that a nice meal tastes so much better with a matching wine rather than with water. The positive long-term consequence is that I have reduced my alcohol intake and appreciating my drinks more.
- One of my hobbies is this blog and although I graduated from an excellent Business school I am still constantly learning and experiencing with various topics : Stocks and bonds, real estate investing, corporate bonds, savings and other alternative ways of investing such as Legos, women purses, trading cryptocurrencies by applying technical stock analysis (testing and pushing my risk-tolerance which is very different from the usual “buy and hold” approach),…
- What I am gaining from this hobby is : Expanding my knowledge and entrepreneurial skillset, the satisfaction of delivering value to my readers, the courage to expose myself and make me vulnerable, the start of many interesting conversations (mainly about Bitcoin lately, what a surprise!) and mostly a lot of fun.
- In case you wondered, my go-to resource for value investing is none other than Warren Buffett. The principles he advocates make sense, stand the test of time and apply, in my experience, to almost any type of investments. When choosing your mentors, resources, keep it simple and just like Sir Winston Churchill, be “easily satisfied with the best”. Don’t settle for less! (interesting fact : they often already offer a lot of value for free in your specific area) For my part last year, I have gotten a lot of value from listening to the Tim Ferriss‘ show during my gym session, reading Ramit Sethi‘s hilarious and at the same high quality articles and from a few other public figures such as Richard Branson, Tai Lopez (whatever you may think of him),…. If you feel a public figure is too far fetched for you then look around you, there are great potential mentors in disguise in your existing network : colleagues, friends, neighbors, previous teachers, and family members.
- In addition I’d like as well to mention a special note for my “mentors” with regards to the Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies: Ivan Liljequist from Ivan on Tech and Nicholas Merten from Datadash. Two truly impressive and inspiring personalities in the crypto space that have helped me a lot connecting the dots regarding this new phenomenon (revolution?). I will register this week for Ivan’s Blockchain Technology course. I trust I will learn from him, I believe in the technology and its application in my career, he deserves my money and the course is on sale before 1st of February.
Love and relations
- My main takeaway from 2017 when it comes to relations is to make the people you hold dear a priority.
- Time is a precious commodity and life happens now so although it may sound cliché, now has never been a better time to get things done. Have that age-old conflict with your cousin discussed, go and ask the person you fancy for her/his telephone number, make peace with your childhood friend, say I love you to your dear ones, let go of the grudges you hold against that colleague who got that promotion instead of you, etc…putting order in your relationships will help you free some mental energy and sincere reconciliation will do wonders to your own well being.
- When was the last time you spent quality time with a friend without checking your phone? This is an area I want to make progress on. It is simply not showing consideration for people around you and constant interruptions are harmful for your focus on the present moment.
- You have heard it time and time again : “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” by Jim Rohn. So connect with the people that lift you up, that will support, help you towards reaching you goals and distance yourself from the toxic people that will bring you down and absolutely bring no value to your life. In the last year it became clear to me that our time on this earth is short and that we should spend it with people who deserved our precious time. Letting go is healthy too.
At the dawn of this new year I would like to give you some food for thought
Would you still pursue the same career or thrive at your current job if all your financial needs were covered? Would you still have the same drive and passion for your job? Would you like to continue bringing value doing what you are doing for free ?
- This is a question you should be brutally honest about and that I have been asking myself last year.
- If you answer yes to all of these questions : Congratulations ! You can skip to the end.
- If you are not exactly in that situation and one of your resolutions this year is to change jobs or departments in the same company, get promoted, look at taking more responsibilities in your current position, start an entrepreneur venture,…Great 2018 will be the year you will reshape your career towards your goals! My sincere hope for you is that the way the question is framed helps you to think of where you really want to take your career.
- I would say that when it comes to mine I am very grateful for the opportunities that have presented themselves in the past years but that I feel the time has come to expand my procurement, financial and project management skills further. This has in turn led me to follow additional courses in procurement, Excel for finance, read articles from the balance and follow the advice from Linda Raynier a career strategist. Investing in yourself continuously is a must these days and is the 7th habit of highly effective people as described by Stephen Covey. In addition, I am as well considering a relocation closer to my family.
- During the past year, I have worked on my habits and improved my personal systems focusing mostly on the morning routine and time planning. Part of the morning routine involves counting my blessings. Focusing on the positive from the moment you wake up gives your day a boost and I encourage you to try it. Start with a 5-minute routine and add more elements (exercising, reading,…) as you develop what works for you.
- I watched “Living on one dollar” and I recommend you do too : This is the story of 4 students making a trip to the pueblo of Pena Blanca in Guatemala. They are going to experiment living on a dollar a day. They face illness, poverty, undernutrition, get microfinancing for their radish plantation,…They are integrating in the village and trying to understanding the locals way of living and making a living. It is both interesting and touching. You can also see how families manage expensive purchases such as a cooking stove or house upgrading through group loans, how they cannot pursue their dreams due to lack of money,… One of the most powerful moments of the documentary is when Antonio father of 6 kids living on 10 dollars/day invites the students for the dinner. He already has so little but goes the extra mile to offer them a “luxury” dinner. The generosity is simply incredible. So if you have Netflix, definitely watch it, absolutely worth your time!
- The other Netflix documentary that made an impression on me this year is “Minimalism“. The documentary particularly resonated with me as I have moved several locations and with every move comes decluttering and throwing unnecessary piles of things that add no value to your life.
- I have had a lot of fun reading Harry Potter The Order of The Phoenix, the thickest book I have ever read. And yes, I am 37, the books are written for children and I consider myself mentally sane.
- One aspect of my personality I am constantly working on is to increase my comfort zone. Every new experience will help you get past previous fears and help you to increase your productivity, creativity and confidence. For the technical stock analysis fans : “previous resistance becomes new support”. Last year I have taken some bold moves in a few areas such as cryptocurrencies, my career choices, opening myself more through my articles, challenged myself to be more direct and open in my communication, “came out of the closet” for my passion for Lego thanks to my friend Jean-Pierre (both the bricks and the company),…
- Whatever you want to achieve and your comfort zone level, start small and take it a step at a time. Before going on a holiday to a new country learn a few words, try the food, watch a documentary. Stressed for a job interview? An important negotiation meeting with a business partner? Prepare and rehearse prior to the meeting with someone you feel comfortable with. If you want to learn to dive, start with snorkeling,…
What is in store for 2018 for me? What will I work on?
I will continue to work for my goals in all areas, continue experiencing, expanding my horizons, following my mentors, improving my articles and activities around the blog, testing new resistance levels for my comfort zone,…I have defined some goals already but for some of them I still need to tweak, adjust and break them down into achievable steps.
- I will continue to adjust and tweak my morning routine, and in addition I want to start on my evening routines.
- Regarding my location-independent career, if interesting opportunities arise I would be thrilled to move back closer to Belgium.
- Cram my social media activities into mini-blocks of time and have proper shut-off times.
- Allocate a block of time in my schedule for catching up activities (thanks Ramit!)
- Apply more lifehacks : one-time decision that will remove your mental bandwidth for trivial decisions such as automating finances, binary decision processes (“If it is not a Hell Yeah, it is a No”), have my gym bag always ready, choosing a shirt in the morning,…
- Read 18 books, or more specifically The Half-Blood Prince, The Deathly Hallows and 16 others.
- Increase the level of my passive income and more specifically focus on stock dividends and pay extra on my mortgage every month.
- Play guitar more often, I have kind of let Isabelle Schecter
- and Marjorie Ibanez down this year (yes, I have named my guitars, maybe it is time to have that mental sanity check after all)
- Contribute to charity in a more active way : Although I have given to various charities and even volunteered on some occasions I have not found a project where I really connected with the purpose and the way of helping. The documentary “Living on One Dollar” touched me and is steering me towards Microfinancing projects such as Five Talents. And why not find a way to fight poverty thanks to the blockchain technology as presented by Ivan on Tech.
- Last but not least, are you also tired of receiving the same messages every year : “Happy New Year YOUR NAME, I wish you good health prosperity and hopefully this year you’ll meet that special boy/girl”,…so maybe something to “work” on too in 2018 for me :).
Bringing it all together
Whatever your goals for 2018 are, make sure you dream big enough! It is never too late, just start small, take baby steps, develop the right habits, follow through and get inspired by the people who are already where you want to be. The key is to get started and keep on pushing just like J.K. Rowling who was a broke single mother before gaining tremendous success with the Harry Potter series.
I personally still have some way to go to achieve my long-term goals but not only do I already feel tangible results along the way I also wanted to demonstrate that not only the famous people we admire can be successful, you and I can too!
So my friends, have you made your resolutions for 2018 yet? How will you implement these? I am all ears!