2021 yearly review time! Regardless of how my year has been, I embrace the yearly review. Even if I haven’t achieved my goal for the year, if I go through what you achieved there is generally much to be happy about. For 2021, If I had to give myself a grade for my performance on goal achievement it would be 7.9/10.
2021 was again another COVID interrupted year. Living in Melbourne meant that we have endured six lockdowns of various lengths and have spent 263 days in lockdown since COVID hit. Four of the lockdowns were in 2021, totaling 109 days. And this doesn’t take into count the paced easing of restrictions that happen after the end of each lockdown.
This year has had significant challenges but I am super proud of how the kids applied themselves through lockdowns to their studies and their work – I could not have asked any more of them, especially our daughter in year 12 who has two severely interrupted years for her VCE.
As someone who already worked from home and is a bit of an introvert, lockdowns are not as hard for me as they are for some and I truly believe it is much much harder for the kids. Choosing a goal that was about doing the inner work to be able to give more to others could not have been more perfect for the year we had. I did spend significant time and mental energy making sure the kids were doing okay, smoothing waters where needed, leading in a positive mindset and pre-empting and diffusing issues.
We will definitely have some wonderfully fun and happy memories of lockdowns – most evening meals we had everyone in attendance and had card games after dinner. And we certainly will have some memories of testing times of personal space and internet speed issues!
Coming out of lockdown in late October means you are really thrown into the deep end. Going from hardly leaving the house to the traditionally busy time of the year with the added bonuses to the calendar of rescheduled events. This did mean by the time it hit time for holidays and heading away mid December I was so looking forward to it and having a break.
Overall 2021 was still a positive year in many ways despite the challenges and I believe it has helped me have a greater appreciation for many things in my life.
2021 yearly review summary
- My gratitude practice was super solid for the year with the exception of small patches here and there. What I like most about how I went about my gratitude practice this year was that I also connected it to my faith which made it even more meaningful to me. 9.5/10
- When I decided on choosing the habit of participating in a weekly faith based activity, I thought out of all the habits that I was setting this would be the most challenging for me. In the end it was the one I was actually most consistent with and that is because it ended up being a daily activity that came with a plan. For those interested in this type of thing, I can highly recommend doing the The Bible in a Year podcast with Fr. Mike Schmitz. I am pretty sure they are going to kick it off again on January 1 2022 or you can go back and start from Jan 1 this year. 10/10
- My meditation practice of meditating in the morning for at least 20 minutes was going great until our long lockdown kicked off in June. I reduced the time back to 10 minutes and then did a guided meditation at night as well but I could have done much better on this. 6/10
- While I think my habit of learning and speaking Phil’s love language well and daily was the area where I performed the worst, it was still a big improvement over the year. My key learning from this experience this year was that what the love languages process does is make you focus on your partner’s needs and how you can best communicate with them. It is about really listening and watching and understanding the way you connect on a daily basis and whether or not this is happening enough to feed a healthy relationship. 6/10
At the end of each year, I like to ask myself an additional series of questions because while I work towards a goal each year there are plenty of things that happen outside of this area that are worth noting.
What were your successes?
Adapt Drinks is not only still going but growing so this is a huge success to be able to achieve during such an interrupted year. There is still a long way to go but I am super excited and energised by what I have been able to achieve so far with Adapt.
Again like last year reflecting upon how we managed as a family during Melbourne’s strict and extended lockdown, I consider this to be a great success. We have lots of people in our house and not that much room to find space on your own so I got creative with how to work with what we have to keep as many people as happy as possible (most of the time!).
When Gold Coast Marathon was canceled on the Tuesday before the Sunday race I thought my chances for running a marathon were over. There was however a Sri Chinmoy race the following weekend in Melbourne doing laps around Princes Park and I made the decision to run it.
I had the most unbelievably amazing support from my running group, coach and family and that combined with a very solid training block helped me run a PB finally after seven years from running my first and what had been my best marathon time. My official time was 3:10:44.
I also ran over 4000kms for the year, did on average two strength training sessions a week and four short yoga sessions a week. Strength and yoga have been key for me to be able to keep the kms up.
Despite the craziness of lockdowns and restrictions, I made it to Mildura at Easter and Christmas to spend time with family and friends which was an absolute highlight. I want to make sure I take plenty of trips to Mildura next year. Not being able to get there due to restrictions etc made me realise how much I love being there.
What didn’t work out?
This is obviously a much less fun list to write but necessary so I can learn and grow:
- The first three production runs of Relax for the year all had quality control issues and were very costly for the business. It definitely set back progress by many months as I was out of stock on a number of occasions. I have since changed manufacturer and the first run went super well which gave me much relief.
- I applied for a start up accelerator program but did not make it through to the final selection process. This was disappointing but I learnt so much from the process and having had time reflect on it, I know exactly what I need to do to improve my chances next time.
- The 15 year old missed the pivotal camp experience that the school has in year 9 which was sad as he has now missed two camps in a row.
- This was the second year in a row I planned to run the Gold Coast Marathon but it was cancelled. One day I will get to run it!
- I didn’t spend as much time with key friends as I wanted to. I could blame this totally on COVID but there were times when I could have made more effort.
- I can still be too reactionary at times (often well intended) which can end up causing issues that didn’t need to be there in the family. Defintely an area I need to work on.
- Most of the time I was positive and very much glass half full but this year there were a few times when I could have been better at this.
What made you happy?
My family makes me incredibly happy. Yes during COVID it was challenging to have so many of us all in the same space pretty much 24/7 but even with this they still bring me so much joy and happiness. They are all growing up and I am loving seeing their personalities grow, their interests become more refined and their sense of humour develop. We have some excellent dinner time conversations! I really do feel so lucky to have them all.
As you can probably guess from my note in what didn’t work this year, working on Adapt Drinks in 2021 was challenging. Despite this though, I love working on it and I really see the potential it has to be a positive contribution to the beverage space.
Just like last year running made me happy, particularly during lockdowns even if I only could run for an hour and had to stay within a 5km radius of my home, it still made me happy. I learned to love running over hills throughout the last lockdown and loved running in the park near my house, it made me super happy and grateful to have it so close to me.
Warm weather and being outside in the sunshine is always in my top five list of things that make me happy. I continued to chase the sun in the house when I was working, so even if I couldn’t be outside in it, I could still have it shining in on me.
What made you unhappy?
Following on from the point above, grey days make me really unhappy. I can cope with the cold but the bleakness I really don’t like.
Not responding the best in the first instance to issues in the family made me unhappy. Knowing that if I could have taken some moments to think about how I wanted to respond and I would have responded better and the outcome would have been better was disappointing.
I had some poor patches of productivity this year which really made me feel a bit flat. They were during lockdowns and I know others felt their productivity drop too, but there is such a different feeling when you step away from the desk at the end of the workday when you know you have focused well and your output has been great, compared to when you have been distracted and things have taken longer than they should have.
What did you want to do more of?
Sunshine and warmth. I feel so much better when the weather is like this.
Greater periods of focus then time for relaxation as opposed to a merging of these two. I need to tighten my boundaries for work.
Having an impact with Adapt Drinks. The survey I conducted in early December showed that 87% of customers who drank Relax actually felt more relaxed after the drink. And 81% of customers who usually drink alcohol said Relax helped them reduce their alcohol consumption! I want to be able to help more people feel relaxed and reduce the amount of alcohol they drink.
Time with friends and family that I love and care for. I need to be smarter about what I say yes to so that I have more time with the people I care about most.
What were the key takeaways from your 2021 yearly review?
|Connection to goal - Do the inner work to be able to give more to those around me.
|Quote - “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” - Carl Jung
|Meditate in the morning for at least 20 minutes
|I have been meditating for a number of years now, but lately it is often left to the end of the day and I listen to a guided meditation before I go to sleep.
To reap the real benefits of meditation I want to practice in the first half of the day, non guided and for a minimum of 20 minutes. In this time emotions, feelings and issues will come up and I will need to learn to not react to it, simply observe it and focus on the meditation session.
|“The more regularly and the more deeply you meditate, the sooner you will find yourself acting always from a center of peace.” - J. Donald Walters
|This practice dropped off completely when I went away mid December. This is a practice I do find hard to do when I am on holiday staying with other people.
I already take time out for running/strength/yoga on my own and feel like it is too much to add it on in the morning as well. I think this speaks volumes about where I place meditation in the hierarchy of my activities. Something I will need to look at.
I did listen to a meditation each night though so as of Wednesday 29th December I have 299 consecutive days of meditation.
|Participate in a weekly faith based activity
|I have a strong personal faith but feel that it needs a recharge and refresh. Immersing myself in more faith based activities will help me achieve this and to examine my spirituality at a deeper level.
|“Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.” - Khalil Gibran
|I am currently a little behind in my reading but I am only back at work in a reduced capacity so am making this reading a priority so I can catch up.
My weekly in-person activity is having a break over the holidays and will start up again in mid January. I will definitely continue on with this.
|Write in a gratitude journal daily
|For some reason I stopped my gratitude journal process in the latter half of 2020 and I have noticed its absence. Part of my journal entry in the evening is to note down how I could have made the day even better. Reflecting each day on how I can improve is an important part of doing the inner work.
|“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.” - Christina Baldwin
|Much like my meditation practice, this dropped off once I went away on holiday. Well, it did in its written form but I was so grateful every day I was away, especially when I was running in the glorious sunshine and blue skies that made my heart feel so full.
I cannot remember a time when I was happier to be back in Mildura. I feel so lucky to have a gorgeous sister that lets my family invade her house for weeks at a time - I have such immense gratitude for her and her family.
|Learn and speak Phil's love language well and daily
|I read The 5 Love Languages® by Dr. Gary Chapman a few years ago and loved the concept. For some reason I never got Phil to do the quiz and work out his love language. I will re-read the book and get us both to do the quiz .
I will then focus on making sure I am speaking Phil's love language on a daily basis.
|“Love is a choice you make everyday.” - Gary Chapman
|This month was a classic example of where I know the right thing to say and how to respond etc but I just don't do it as well and as often as I should.
I have been listening to a great short podcast regularly now which is helping me keep this more in focus and front of mind. Definitely plenty of room for improvement for me.