A new year begins | Just Reflections - Issue #26
The new year is here. Time to pull out James Clear's Atomic Habits and get our motivation up. When the year started I was in the middle of the cryptocurrency series — I hope you enjoyed it by the way — so I didn't talk about it then. But now that that's out of the way, let's talk about New Year's resolutions.
Most New Year's resolutions fail. That said, I'm big on New Year's resolutions. I know you can make changes any other time of the year and do great with it, blah blah. And sure, on New Year's day, it's another day like any other day. But everything feels like it has a fresh start for me at this time of year, so I like to take advantage of that feeling to think about what I want to do differently and how I want to grow. It also helps that I usually stick with it and achieve my resolutions. And even where I fail, I go long enough into it that I, at least, learn a lot. Sometimes, in trying to achieve a goal, I learn that it wasn't a great goal and that's also valuable in my books.
This time around, I want to hold myself accountable to all of you. So today, I'll tell you about my new year's resolutions and why I chose them. Then we can all laugh together in the middle of the year when it has all fallen by the wayside. But hopefully, the stars will align and I'll get the right motivation from on high and end the year in celebration. We'll see.
One more thing. Thinking about resolutions reminds me of a book I read in 2021, Angela Duckworth's "Grit: Why passion and resilience are the secrets to success". So I'll pepper the articles with a few quotes from it to get us all in the mood.
“When you keep searching for ways to change your situation for the better, you stand a chance of finding them. When you stop searching, assuming they can’t be found, you guarantee they won” ― Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
But first, a look back at 2021...
By far my proudest achievement of 2021 was this newsletter. This is issue number 26 meaning I have been writing consistently every week, whether rain or shine, for 26 weeks. I can't think of any other habit I've kept up this consistently for this long when it has no immediate material reward. My biggest takeaway from it is that for creative things, the best way to start is to just start. Stop the endless planning, stop thinking about what equipment you'll use or whether you're good enough or whether anyone is going to see it or what they'll think. Just do it!
“...interests are not discovered through introspection. Instead, interests are triggered by interactions with the outside world. The process of interest discovery can be messy, serendipitous, and inefficient. This is because you can't really predict with certainty what will capture your attention and what won't...Without experimenting, you can't figure out which interests will stick, and which won't.” ― Angela Duckworth, Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success
I had many fears about what people will think. I had many doubts about my writing skills — I still have them. But despite all that, I have things to say and I'll be writing about them some more in 2022. If you want to know more about my plans for the newsletter, check out this issue.
“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.” ― Angela Duckworth, Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success
My plan in 2021 was to read 24 books; I only read 12. I'm fine with that. 12 books are plenty, and most of them led me into some really fascinating rabbit holes. Despite failing to hit my target, I read more intently and even covered some of the books here. I did, however, realise that 24 was a little ambitious with my schedule, so the target for 2022 is 18 books. I'm off to a terrible start.
My resolutions for 2022 fall into two categories; health and business.
When I was renewing my medical aid membership in 2021, the blood tests showed that my cholesterol is high and I was advised to make some lifestyle changes otherwise, I risk some pretty undesirable consequences. I didn't make any meaningful change, in fact, I got a little depressed and ate more unhealthily and became even more of a slouch, which led me to gain even more weight. Fortunately, I've snapped out of it and I am taking back control of my health this year.
“It isn’t suffering that leads to hopelessness. It’s suffering you think you can’t control.” ― Angela Duckworth, Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success
According to the internet, my ideal weight is 70kg max, and I started the year at 85kg. According to this video, most people fall off the wagon of their health-related new year's resolutions by March, so my goal is to lose 10kg by my birthday in April just a month after the laziness bug hits. But hopefully, the bug would have stuck so that I manage to hit 70kg by the end of June.
Second, I really have terrible sleep hygiene. When I've done really well, I sleep 6 hours, otherwise, my average sleep time is around 4 - 5 hours per night. The biggest problem is that I am most productive at night. So when I'm grinding away in the a.m.'s it's really hard to disconnect and sleep. I keep telling myself 30 more minutes and before I know it it's 5 am and my workday starts at 9 am.
Despite sleeping 4-5 hours on average, I feel fine most of the time and I'm able to function normally during the day, which probably contributes to the problem. However, I've learnt enough about sleep this past year to be pretty convinced that this isn't healthy. So 2022, I want to sleep more. My goal is that by the end of the year I should be consistently sleeping, on average, 8 hours every night.
I don't want to die before my time because I failed to sleep enough. Well, I don't want to die before my time for any reason, least of all this one.
I can't count how many times I say, 'I am not a business-minded person.' I've never viewed myself as someone who is business savvy. Sure, I have some great ideas from time to time — as many of us do — but I never think I am the one who can bring this to life. Sure, I can work and build products for other people as long as I get my paycheck at the end of it and someone else deals with all the other stuff. If I'm being honest, the thing that's always stopped me from starting a business is fear. I don't have the courage to just take the plunge and do something that has a lot of uncertainty.
2022 is the year I change that. I am going to step out of my comfort zone and build a business in 2022. From the ground up. And deal with all the business things that I've never thought I have the neck for. And I will do this whether or not I find a co-founder.
How exactly am I going to do it? You ask. I do not know. But I will learn what is needed and do it. I've figured out many other things, so why should this be any different. If statistics have any credence, the likelihood is high that the business will fail as most new businesses do. If it does, I will try again until something sticks.
“In other words, we want to believe that Mark Spitz was born to swim in a way that none of us were and that none of us could. We don’t want to sit on the pool deck and watch him progress from amateur to expert. We prefer our excellence fully formed. We prefer mystery to mundanity.” ― Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
That's it. If by the end of 2022 I have achieved only these things, then the year would have been successful. But I won't wait till then for the results. Since I said I'll make myself accountable to you. I will keep a log on this newsletter on my progress. I'll put it at the end of everything so that I don't annoy anyone who's not interested. On every issue, I'll add my weight on the day, my average sleep time for the week and a little update of what I've done on the business front (I don't know how I'll measure this one yet).
That’s all I have for you this week. Are you someone who makes new year's resolutions? If so, what are your resolutions this year? If not, I'd love to know why not. Either way, hit reply and let me know.
If you like the newsletter, consider sharing it with others on Twitter, WhatsApp or Facebook. Hit the thumbs up or thumbs down below to let me know what you think.
I hope I’ve given you something to think about this week and I wish you ever-increasing curiosity.
Until next week.
Average sleep duration last week: 5h 8m.
Business: I am working on an app that I want to launch to launch in February to a limited testing group. More details to come later.