Some Practical End-of-Year Thoughts (2023)

end of year thoughts perspective

Last update: December 12, 2023

Here we are. It’s December and another year is almost coming to an end. Let me share a few general end-of-year thoughts with you.

Since 2015, when I started living a calmer and more mindful life, I’ve been taking time each year to reflect on the past year and look ahead to what’s next.

This year I’m going to publish a separate post with my 2023 annual review, so that’s coming later. Every year, I look back, and think, “A lot happened.”

That’s a good thing. I don’t want to look back and think the opposite, which means I didn’t do anything.

Now, I’m not the type who makes New Year’s resolutions. I haven’t changed my habits in the last eight years. When I’m talking about planning the year, I’m talking about potential changes in my business, career, or personal life.

Always be present

While I’m looking forward to a new year now, I’m also fully present and focused on enjoying life. I must say, it took me years to work myself in a position to do that.

Because we always have to stay practical. We still have to pay our bills and still have to take care of others. I never walk away from my responsibilities.

But no matter where you are in life — when January 1st comes, we’re all equals. That’s how I look at it.

Every year you have the chance to start with a clean slate. You can hit the reset button and do things differently. It doesn’t matter if you had a good or bad year.

Celebrate. Cry. But never forget that life moves forward.

  • What do you want to focus on in the new year?
  • What do you want to do for your relationships, career, and yourself?
  • What will you do when things don’t go according to plan? (Never think that everything will go well. Be prepared for setbacks.)

This leads us to the “right” way of setting goals. Because without actionable goals, it’s easy to waste a whole year doing nothing (or being preoccupied with things that aren’t truly important to us).

Aim for a major goal each year

I started blogging in 2015. Since I was starting pretty much from scratch, I focused on learning. I read almost 110 books, followed courses, read articles, talked to mentors, etc.

In 2016, my focus was on exercising and writing. I exercised over 300 times and wrote a little over 150,000 words. This consistent execution helped me cement the good habits that help me succeed now.

2017 came around and I focused on saving more money than ever and buying a new house. I also updated my online courses and aimed to increase sales.

Fast forward to 2022, my focus was to set my life up in a way that I could travel more and solely focus on writing (and less on creating new courses, videos, or other activities). I also focused on getting in better shape than ever after coming off 1.5 years of gut problems.

Between October 2022 and March 2023, I lived in the south of Spain. That was an interesting time. I learned a lot about myself. And I met my partner there.

I did focus more on writing, but not as much as I wanted. I spent all my energy on finalizing my next book, The Stoic Path to Wealth, which took a lot. But I’m very pleased with the result, which is all that matters to me.

Looking forward to 2024, I want to keep up my current work habits and processes. I still want to focus on writing. And slowly expand to other channels (potentially video, audio, or social media). But writing remains my #1 priority.

Plan your goals according to actions, not results

You’ll notice from the above examples that whenever I plan my year, I focus only on setting targets that I can directly influence. I don’t say things like:

“I want to earn X-dollars by X-time period.”

I can’t directly control these results. What I can control are my actions. So instead, I tell myself things like:

“I’m going to publish two articles a week. And I will spend one day a week promoting those articles.”

That’s also how I operate my business. It’s all about aiming to consistently execute actions that will help get what you want.

You can’t control how many people buy your products/services. Or how many subscribers/readers you can get. But you can control your effort and skills. Let’s say you want to start a (side) business and eventually make it your full-time livelihood. That means your sales should be enough to earn you a sustainable livelihood. So ask yourself:

  • What skills do I need to develop?
  • What steps should I take consistently to execute this?
  • How do I improve my sales/readers/viewers? How do I add the value that my target audience is looking for?

These are the things you can influence more.

Be mindful of the short-term and long-term impacts

A year is enough time to make a lot of things happen. But at the same time, we also tend to overestimate what we can achieve in a year.

I started this journey in 2015, and eight years later, I feel that things are falling into place a little bit more every year. First, I mastered my mind, then my career, then my finances, then everything else. And I feel that my social life is also better than before.

My relationships with my friends are better and deeper. The same is true for my family. And romantically, I’m also in a better place.

But all these things only got better in the past two years or so. If you asked me around 2017 or 2018, I would say my career was going well, but other than that, it was slow.

Most of us also underestimate what we can achieve in the long term. If you work hard every day for years, you can make a big impact.

No one can make a big impact by doing something for a week or a month. Mastering skills, working on your character, and building relationships take time. A long time.

If you’re chasing your dreams, never quit too early. Keep at it. But at the same time, also know when it’s time to quit or pivot. That requires self-awareness.

And self-awareness is a skill that takes years to develop. Do you see? Life is full of paradoxes. There’s never one truth or ‘right’ path.

The only path that’s right is YOUR path.

Let’s start thinking about the new year, but don’t forget to be in the moment during the final days of this year. Have a good time and enjoy the company of others.

And when January 1st comes, wake up, get to work, and keep looking forward.

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