2017 Review: Learning Mindfulness
2017 has been quite the year. It has been wonderful and fun, but it also has been one of the most challenging years of my life. Some of the best events in my life happened in 2017. I got married, traveled, saw my family a ton, and it was a great year at my job. However, inwardly I have had to work through and face things that I haven’t had to face before. At times I felt stagnant and like I was declining as a human rather than growing. I would look back at my life from a few years ago and wonder where that guy went. I failed a lot, and failed a lot at the same things over and over again.
A main theme for me this year was learning to be more mindful in all aspects of my life. Relationships, work, free time - it all is improved by being more mindful. I saw my lack of mindfulness during 2017, and a big part of 2018 for me will be fostering a more present mindset.
I have really come to love this time of the year with the introspection and transition into a new year and new ideas it presents. Each December in the last few years I have spent more time reviewing my current year, and setting goals/changes for the upcoming year. So here are some of my thoughts on 2017, and what I’m looking forward to in 2018. I hope you enjoy it, and thank you for reading.
I use my phone too much
This has been PRESSING into me for months now, nagging at me to put the phone down every once in a while. I allow the phone to distract me from relationships, hinder my productivity at work, read less, create less, and be overall less effective in life. Perhaps my biggest goal in 2018 is to make a drastic change in cell phone use.
I need to create
I have found in the past that I get fulfillment simply from the act of creating something. Whether it be writing, drawing, videos, or woodworking, I have always enjoyed the process and end results of those endeavors. Plus, I need to feel like I’m contributing something to the world, and my words are the only art I can make with any sort of skill. For a long time I barely did any sort of creating, and I felt the lack of fulfillment. Early this year I got serious about launching a blog and started to write, finally launching in the fall. Writing and sharing it with the world has given me a lot of joy, and I look forward to more creating in 2018.
Part of the reason this year was difficult is because I felt so stagnant at times. A big reason for this is because I was cruising through the day without much purpose or intentionality. I wasn’t focused at work and I wasted time at home. I let the day run me over, and over, and over. The beat the passion of life out of me. I was stuck. I learned that I need to be purposeful each day and act with intention.
I need to be outside more
Being outdoors is one of things I enjoy most in the world, and I didn’t maximize it this year, and I think it made me a little stir crazy at times. I plan to camp, hike, bike, and be outdoors more in 2018.
I have words worth sharing
Everyone has a voice and words to contribute to the world. I think everyone should have a blog or creative outlet, even if the content is short and simple. I have problems, challenges, and questions that I face every day, and I know that are people out there that face similar things. If my words help one person understand their life better, then that is enough.
Meaning isn’t automatic
I think in the past few years meaning came a little easier for me, but this year felt different. It felt like at times I had to scratch and claw to feel deep and find meaning, but I think that’s a part of entering the “real world”. The people who seek meaning will find it, and I think you have to be purposeful about finding it.
You get the life you are willing to choose
I have come to believe this year that how much you enjoy your life is entirely up to you. You get to choose your mindset and how you go through the day. No one gets to tell you how to live your life, complaining and wishing something to be different isn’t going to help. If you don’t like the way things are, either change your circumstances or change your mindset.
I owe a lot of my year to Tim Ferriss. His book and podcast, Tools of Titans and The Tim Ferriss show, directly or indirectly led to a lot of things I learned this year. I believed in my ability to affect the world and build a life in new ways because of Tim or the people in his books/podcast. Now that I really think about it, there’s no way I grew as much as I did in 2017 if I didn’t receive Tools of Titans this time last year. Thank you for the ideas and inspiration Tim.
A lot of the time Jocko frightens me, he is tough and disciplined and has seen things I will never see (he’s a former Navy Seal Commander). However, his books and interviews have really hit a nerve with me this year. In a culture of with a lot of excuses and laziness, Jocko says to go relentlessly towards your goals. How do you do it? Just start and have the discipline to keep going.
My dad and brother have been huge fans of Seth for years now, but I really just started reading and listening to his stuff this year. Seth encourages everyone to create something and contribute your gifts to the world, because everyone has something good they can share. Seth wants the world to be as great as it can be, and it starts with us sharing what’s in our hearts and minds. Seth is another big reason I started mindfulsquad.com.
Best Things of 2017
Honeymoon in Jamaica
Attended 10 weddings
Best fitness year of my life
Lots of travel
It’s hard to put your finger on the feeling of being stagnant, but that’s how I felt a lot this year. I’m a pretty emotionally driven person, and I had a hard time feeling that this year. I felt like I was drifting in some mindless world. Sleep. Exercise. Work. Waste time on phone. Dinner. Clean. Sleep. Repeat. I thought I didn’t any time to read, write, rest, or do any other thing I want.
I think a lot of people feel this way at times. Maybe it’s a lack of purpose, maybe it’s a lack of intention. I have found that when I am more intentional in one area of life, it tends to bleed over into others. The more I do productive things like read and write, the more I want to do more beneficial things.
Learning to be a Husband
I got married in August of this year, and marriage is awesome, but it also is a big learning experience. I’m now fully accountable to another human equally. Carolyn relies on me and I rely on her. This is hard work to learn, but it’s good work.
Productivity at Work
This was actually a great year at work, but it was not without its challenges. I think I did well this year, but I know that I could have done more. I could have been more productive and efficient. I was distracted too easily and didn’t plan enough. I’m grateful for this year and it’s success and failures, but I will be better in 2018.
Many other small challenges
Life is a great mix of small and big challenges, and I’m grateful for them. Without the challenges and the failures, I wouldn’t have had the growth and successes I had in 2017.
Ideas for Big Changes in 2018
While thinking about 2018 and how I can make it great, one question I thought to myself is “what are some big changes I could make in 2018 that would change my life for the better in 2018?” Ultimately my goal is to be a person of depth that makes the world a better place and loves people well, and I want to do the things that take me closer to that person. Here are some things I thought of that would help me accomplish that:
Delete all social media apps on my phone
Meditate every day
Read a lot more books
Create each day
Call/FaceTime a long distance friend (or two) each week
More phone on airplane mode
I don’t know if I will do all of these, but I definitely plan on testing each and seeing what has the most positive results.
More & Less Goals
In 2018, More:
In 2018, Less:
Peanut butter (I eat too much of it)
What a great year it has been, I’m thankful for the challenged and blessings. Life is always changing and evolving, and that makes it a lot of fun. Here’s to great year in 2018 filled with risks and growth.