At the end of December 2015, I set out some focus areas for myself in 2016. Today I wanted to review how successful I have been in these focus areas for the year. You may question why I am writing this post in early November. The simple answer is I want t clean the slate and start preparing for 2017, instead of dwelling on not so stellar results.
The Focus Areas
There were six area’s that I wanted to focus on for the year. These areas included wellness, travel, collecting experiences, Geocaching, photography, and this blog. I outlined each area in a post here and will just do a quick recap now.
- Wellness – I wanted to focus on improving my wellness in ways such as food, exercise, and self-education.
- Travel – I wanted to travel more, with an expectation to be visiting another country early in the year.
- Collecting experiences – I expected to collect one experience each month throughout the year.
- Geocaching – I was rather non-specific in what I wanted to achieve here.
- Photography – There was the desire to get motivated again to go out and take photos and share a lot more throughout the year.
- This Blog – Bringing all my blogs together on this one site was my goal for 2016.
That about summarizes the focus areas for 2016 and leads me into the next section, how I performed.
Focus Area Performance
I am going to approach the overall summary of performance like ripping off a band-aid. Which is to say, I totally failed at almost all of it. With the only exception being the area of wellness, where I did have some success.
The problem is that I failed not throughout the year, although I have made little to no progress on any of the areas. But I failed when I first outlined the focus areas, through a lack of direction.
When I look back at the original post, I can see some clues that I would be writing this post now. The post gave almost nothing of substance to work on.
A look at the area of travel shows nothing but a comment I am planning things. Nothing robust and actionable to measure my progress.
Likewise, the area of collecting experiences is even worse. I say that I have ideas, but also mention being “not fully committed” to anything.
My focus areas mainly lacked any ability to measure my success. Without an ability to measure progress I was lost before I even begun.
2016 Small Successes
Right now I see that I have failed in all but one focus area. However, there were a couple of small successes. The area of wellness was the one area I believe I succeeded to some degree. Along with small successes in travel, and this blog.
When I look at how I framed the focus area of wellness, this could be some of the reason why I had success here. I mentioned a focus on the food I eat, exercise and self-education. I have been very focused on all three of these.
About one week into the new year I decided to try cutting all sugar out of my diet. Although I have reintroduced some sugar, the ultimate result has been positive. I started the year with a weight of 86.3kg, and presently my weight is around 79kg. I do not attribute the weight decrease entirely to removing sugar from my diet.
I have also maintained a high level of exercise, which helps to maintain a lower weight. The first aspect has been walking 15,000 steps every day. In 2016 I reached my goal of 15,000 steps every day for a year. Ultimately going 392 days walking 15,000 steps every day. So far this year I have only missed two days at reaching this goal.
The plans that I had been considering for travel had been quite significant. While I did not discuss them in the original post, I did later expand on this in another post “2016 Travel Thoughts“. As it stands at this point, I have not left Australia this year. I think there may have only been two occasions that I have even left the state of Queensland.
The extent of travel this year has been short 1-3 day trips. There have been a couple of occasions staying in Tweed Heads in February and March. A three-day trip to Ballina in May. Also a three-day trip to Toowoomba in August. In total maybe 10-15 days away from home.
There is also some potential that there will be another short trip before the year ends. However, nothing like the sort of plans that I had for the year or even at a couple of different points throughout the year.
I started out the year wanting to combine my three blogs together into this one. Everything stopped for a few months and then I went the complete opposite direction. I started working on first one of the other blogs and then the other.
It was not until August that I came back around to this blog. When I needed to choose where I was focusing my time for a conference I attended. In the end, it was at that conference that I realized this blog was the perfect spot to bring everything together.
At this stage, I am starting to get more consistent on posting on this blog. Working to build the social media profile for myself and the blog. Also hopefully getting everything into a good position to continue into 2017.
Focus Areas 2017
A part of why I wanted to write and share this post now is to clear the slate. I know that 2016 has not been the most successful year for me. Instead of trying to create a last minute flourish of activity, I would like just to move on and prepare for next year. I can dedicate some time to planning my focus areas for 2017.
In some ways, I have also used this post to identify and understand what went wrong in 2016. I have been able to see that the biggest problem was around not being clear about what it was I wanted to achieve.
In other words, it is great to say I want to focus on Photography. But without a clear objective, what am I working towards, how do I know what success is in this area.
As such in identifying my focus areas for 2017, I will take this very much into account. I will be looking to include some specifics about what I want to achieve with measurable targets. At least to create some accountability and expectation.
Frequently Review Progress
The final aspect that I have come to realize from this process is my lack of review. I started reviewing some progress back in February, but while I almost finished the post, I never posted it.
For 2017 this will be a very different aspect, I will commit to reviewing progress on a monthly basis. As such I will be looking to have at least a starting goal or position to gauge progress. I will also look to modify any goals or focus areas that are no longer serving me. Frequent Reviews could have served me well over the last year and identified a problem earlier.
Keep Up To Date
I would love to hear about how you approach your focus areas or goals. You can leave a comment below or find me on social media at Twitter – @joel_travels, Instagram – @joel_travels, Facebook – Joel Travels & Pinterest Joel Travels.