2015 was my first full year of:
- mobile lifestyle
- travel hacking
- professional online work
- location-independent income
- owning my own business
I had seven major goal categories I wanted to achieve in 2015, relating to A) Income, B) Savings, C) Physical Health, D) Spiritual Health, E) Social Support, F) Freedom and G) Languages
In some areas, I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams, and in others I failed hard, though rarely for lack of trying. In this blog post I will share with you a deeper look at both.
2015 – What Went Well
My biggest successes in 2015 revolved around becoming comfortable with my Freedom-oriented lifestyle. I nailed every single one of my goals in this area. I honed my travel hacking skills and made numerous trips to gads of new spaces and places, including three new countries (Nicaragua, Philippines and Indonesia). I lived in Asia the majority of the year. I feel comfortable moving at the drop of a hat, and making new friends wherever I land. I am as happy to work with a globally-distributed online team as a bunch of folks in person, and began to excel in the tricky-to-navigate waters of online communication.
The crown jewel for me of Freedom success was when I was able to leave from Taiwan to the US with less than 48 hours notice to help a family member in need. This is exactly the reason I wanted this mobile lifestyle in the first place – to be able to be wherever I most need to be at that particular moment. And at that moment, I was able to be present and help my family member through her surgery. And it felt great.
Another rousing success is around Spiritual and emotional health. I meditated almost every single day of 2015 for at least 15 minutes, and actively practiced gratitude almost as often, which helped maintain my sanity.
I expected Social support to be an area where I failed in 2015, since my lifestyle makes it so hard to stay in contact with loved ones. However, between moving into an apartment with friends in Taiwan, actively giving and receiving love and maintaining my blog, I have felt thoroughly supported throughout the year, including through death of a family member. There are about a gazillion people I wish I could have spent more quality time with this past year, but on the whole I feel loving and loved, and that is what matters most to me.
Another main ingredient behind the secret sauce of my “social” success was surrounding myself with like-minded individuals. One conference I attended focused on raw food, yoga and beginnings of online entrepreneurship, and another focused heavily on business masterminding in the online sphere. Both blew my mind and opened me to the possibilities and put me in contact with amazing people that have supported my journey, and I theirs. Near the end of the year I joined Cody McKibben’s online mastermind group, which is catapaulting me into 2016, which I predict will be my best year ever in so many ways.
My final success is in Mandarin. I went from ground zero to “pretty damned good” conversational fluency. I can hold my own in most one-on-one conversations, though natives speaking to each other continue to flabbergast me. I can read and type the majority of what I can speak, though hand-writing remains beyond my current ken. Importantly, I have enjoyed the process, and feel energized to continue learning even more as I continue in my linguistic journey.
2015 – What Didn’t Go Well
I utterly failed to meet my financial goals in 2015. I am like an injured athlete, primed to fly among the stars through her fantastical prowess, but instead limping along, just barely crossing the finish line. My income just didn’t measure up to what I was expecting or aiming for, and I amassed no significant savings. To be brutally honest, I didn’t even come close, and it’s been my biggest challenge all year.
And it’s sure as hell not from lack of trying.
In 2015, in addition to my positions at Trialfacts and Walden, I engaged in side-hustles in teaching by doubling my university student load one semester, accounting in the family funeral business, sales of yoga teacher retreats, launching an online video course called Hack Your Life, health care as a nurse practitioner at Marana health clinics, and I feel like I’m still forgetting a few.
I have been hustling hard all year, but it’s just not cutting it financially.
I also failed to meet on most fronts to meet my Physical Health goals for 2015. I had high hopes of feeling healthier, healing from injuries faster, going mostly vegan, and getting off all my allergy medications. I wanted to establish an exercise and body movement regimen that I could take with me on all my travels. I wanted to feel better about my body, and simply feel more self-loving and self-taking-care-of as a human being.
Don't get me wrong; I made efforts on all the above, and great strides. I joined Curves gym in both Tucson and later Taiwan, netting a great physical exercise routine for nearly four months. I ate healthy part of the time, especially in Taiwan, where healthy vegetarian eating-out options are plentiful, and my blessed great-cook-of-a-roommate offers up delicious foods to share together in exchange for others doing the shopping and dishes.
But I simply fell short on most areas, especially whenever I was traveling, which was over half the year. My exercise routine fell apart the moment I left Tucson, and then again when I left Taiwan. My nutrition became woefully inadequate, and I have not dialed in a good way to bring healthy nutrition habits along with me, especially in difficult-to-navigate gastronomic spheres filled with heavy meat-laden dishes and junk food.
I also failed to start singing lessons, which constituted a major part of my spiritual goals for the year. I did, however, rejoin my church choir in Tucson when I was in town, and attended numerous musical events. I even applied for a professional singing gig (children’s songs), though I never heard back. Overall I do feel like I worked hard on this area, but I’m not satisfied. I want more, since singing is such an integral part of my core self.
The final area I feel dissatisfied with is Languages. While I nailed my Mandarin studies, I had goals for a number of other languages that I almost completely failed to meet. I maintained my Portuguese, but all my other goals/languages backslid, especially my Japanese, or never materialized, and I feel disappointed in myself for that.
When I assigned numerical scores to each of my planned improvement categories, I ended up with exactly 7/10.
You might think I’m being unnecessarily hard on myself, especially in the Languages section. And you’re probably right. But that’s the way I like it.
If things get too easy, above 8/10, I feel bored and unfulfilled. If things get too hard, below 7/10, I get frustrated and angry and overburdened. They say if you’re not failing at at least one major thing each month, then you’re not aiming high enough. And I’m aiming for the stars, so I push myself hard. I do feel I could have been more gentle with myself and aimed for closer to an 8 than a 7, and will be mindful of that in the coming year so I don’t burn myself out.
Despite the struggles, 2015 was an amazing year, and I feel deeply satisfied with my personal and professional progress.
Now that I have looked carefully into where I landed at the end of 2015, I will begin looking into goals and challenges to overcome in 2016. Stay tuned for my next blog post, where I discuss exactly that!