After doing a bit of planning ahead for 2024, I felt like reflecting on the year 2023 so far. In January this year I set myself a goal. My goal was and still is to create the foundations for a new business that hopefully and eventually can give me a ‘retirement’ income.
The job I have at the moment is not a bad one at all. I work online and as long as there is good internet, I am able to work where ever I want. No need to commute and to spend money spent on office outfits. A huge disadvantage is the lack of time freedom as it is essentially a job from 9-5.
So the aim is to ‘fix’ that with other income streams. I am aware that this is for many people a dream goal and it may not be as easy as it sounds. I am having a go and the year 2023 was the year to set up a few structures and work towards that goal.
Moving forward in the year 2023
During the first three months I have been focussing on my health and decluttering. Not literally decluttering but shifting unnecessary baggage from my mind and my computer. They do say, if you get rid of un-necessary clutter, you create space for new things. And somehow that happened and an iPhone photography course showed up in my social media feed.
It was affordable and I got stuck in to it when I finally caught covid in June. This little critter made me feel very tired so doing a course seemed a good way of passing the time. I even followed it up with an editing photo course. Very creative stuff and it motivated me to take pictures in a more focussed way.
I have to admit that I dabbled at photography since I was an eight year old. I grew up in a house with a dark room to develop pictures and I had a go at graphic design and photography at art school. You can read more about it at a later stage.
Being on a roll
Since then an online Finnish magazine chose two of my pictures and and published them in one of their online editions. One is the feature picture for this article and the other one is just below. I also have created an account with a stock photo company and I have now submitted close to 20 pictures.
To date, they have accepted 9 of them with a good rating and these nine pictures are now for sale. One photo got a rating of 4/4 and it happens to be the same picture that the Finnish magazine chose. Maybe it is indeed a good photo and you can see it just below.
I feel I am on a roll. I have even gone so far as making the decision to create a photo gallery website. And after a few weeks of brainstorming a business name with friends and family I have now registered a domain. More about that to come!
So if I draw the year 2023 to a close, I have done two photo courses and have 9 pictures for sale on a stock photo website. Two of my pictures are published in an online magazine and I registered a domain for a photo site. I feel that is a fair bit of progress!
There is more in the pipe line but I am not ready to get that off my chest. After all the year is not finished yet…
Since I have been tracking my habits on a daily base, I have become aware of a few obstacles that could stall my progress. The habits I am tracking are exercise, sleep, alcohol intake, just to name a few.
To be precise, these obstacles are examples of self sabotage that unfortunately stop me from getting ahead. By tracking all kinds of things in my daily life, I have become alarmingly aware of some of my ‘lesser’ thoughts and actions. They must have been around for most of my life and I see how they have affected many aspects of my life.
My worst obstacles in a list
1.The first BIG one is procrastination. I realised that tracking and making daily notes, helps to reduce procrastination. As soon as I do not track, whatever I plan for next week is on dangerous grounds. Whenever a more urgent matter pops up, it seems to get more priority. Even if I write my intentions down, it is sadly not a guarantee I will do it.
Once certain behaviours become a solid habit, I tend keep to them as I don’t want to break the chain. A relevant example is doing daily steps. I have now been doing a minimum of over 5000 steps per day since the beginning of February. It has become part of my day and I don’t like to see a day with only 2369 steps so I make an effort.
2. That bring us to the next one – priority. I probably don’t give enough priority to my dreams and as a result they remain just that – dreams. Typically, I plan around a few aspects of these dreams but I don’t seem to make real progress. To be honest I am still not really clear why I do this but it is a stubborn recurrent pattern.
I feel that I let everything that ‘seems’ more urgent, come in the way of my goals. As if I ‘found’ an excuse not to have to commit. I say ‘seems’ because as a matter of facts I can say no, but often I give in and don’t. This not only refers to external requests from other people and situations, it also concerns my own choices. Will I write a blog post tonight or watch Netflix? Will I do yoga or sit on the couch? Familiar patterns to all of us, I am damn sure!
3. Number three has to be ‘feeling overwhelmed‘. I obviously want to do too much and have not a clear oversight of what I want to achieve. Maybe I need a coach! That kind of bugs me as I am always coaching other people successfully so why would I need a coach for my own stuff? This has to be a flaw of many coaches and counsellors. After all, if you can help others you must be able to help yourself, right?
I wonder if that is really the case. I am in the middle of all my thoughts, plans, intentions and dreams and as a result I obviously lack overview as I am part of it. So how do you create sanity in this chaos that you are part of yourself? How do people do that?
So obstacles or not, here is a quick recap – I have made 2023 a year of planning and creating the ground work for a future online business. And here I am making a fuss about not being able to ‘see the light’ in March. Do I ever learn? No wonder it does not make sense
4. So that brings me to the next obstacle – impatience. There is a wonderful quote by Tony Roberts about this.
Putting it in perspective
Instead of working steadily on this plan, I obviously imagined to have it ‘done and dusted’ by the end of March. That is quite ridiculous. So to put it in perspective, I have done a quarter of this year and so far I have worked on my health. I make sure I have a regular sleep pattern, minimise alcohol – in fact it is virtually zero at the moment. I do my daily steps and work my muscles, I meditate 4-5 times per week and I journal daily. All these things have become part of my daily routine and are no longer cut short by any obstacles. Not a single thought of procrastination in sight! An interesting take on how to beat procrastination is described by Mel Robbins. She reckons that the cause is avoiding stress.
If the above were the achievements from another person, I surely would applaud them. Yet, I don’t do this for myself and I wonder if how common this is…..
So to sum this up, I am in motion and I am making progress. Quarter 1 of 2023 was all about health and awareness of my physical condition. Now I have to plan what quarter 2 will be about – my gut says defining my NICHE.
During February I have been busy tracking a lot of my activities on a physical and mental level. My previous post was about habits and keeping track so I can find out what could do with a change.
I like to follow up with how that worked for me during February. The idea is to explore a few things in my life. One of them is how to become the type of person who is capable of setting up an online business by the end of 2023. I intend to reflect on that process once per month in a blog post. This is my first reflection.
The first thing I did!
One of the things that I implemented during February was tracking. I had my birthday in January and funnily two of my presents were tracking devices. To be precise, a Fit Bit and a really fancy planner called the Happiness Planner. Both of them are perfect to track a variety of things and that is exactly what I have done.
From a health perspective I tracked my sleep pattern, my heart beat, my water intake, my daily steps and exercise. It is quite cool to see what you can measure with such a thing. Furthermore I noticed something interesting.
While I was tracking my behaviour and my habits, I became more aware and motivated to do the behaviours I had chosen. For example, I decided to do every day 5000 steps as a minimum. Before I set the actual number as a minimum on my Fitbit, I did not achieve 5000 every day. Since I set the 5000, I make sure I walk that extra mile as I want to tick it off the list.
Tracking – does it work?
I love updating spread sheets and marking what has been done. Tracking steps, daily exercise and water intake seems to make me do what I need to do. It definitely helped me with measuring my progress and I did not want ‘to break the chain’. I wanted to show up and add to the chain. On top of it I really enjoyed doing it and was amazed how I managed to fit it all in.
Filling in the Happiness Planner is a similar activity. It asks me to think about intentions, habits and awareness to name a few. It also focusses on self love, gratitude and what to look forward to. I have noticed that I am natural good at tracking factual things such ‘to do’s and what to schedule.
When it asked me to reflect on ‘what I love about myself’ and ‘good things about today’, I have to dig a bit deeper. However, as such questions are asked on a daily base, I can’t do anything else than fill them in or at least have a go at it.
I am reading the well known book Atomic Habits and in there it says, that for a habit to stick, you have to feel successful even if it is in a very small way. I do have a feeling of achievement about last month – a sense of small wins. In reality not much has happened but I know now that I can walk every day 5000 steps. I make an effort to drink between 1-1.5 liters of water and my heart rate is behaving like it should.
Additionally, I have been doing a short meditation every morning after waking up, did the yoga sessions I scheduled and filled in my planner. I did this all before I started to work so getting up in time was crucial. Simply the act of tracking sparked my enthusiasm to continue doing the things I had set out to do.
All this has given me a sense of fulfilment. Above all it forces me to stay honest with myself as tracking acts as evidence of the progress I am making. To be honest, it is almost a bit addictive. And it means I have stuff to write in my planner.
On my list was the write a monthly blogpost about all of this and there you go! Here it is!
Feel free to let me know if you are the type of person that tracks! Even if it is just to see how you actually spend your time. There may be a dark side to the habit of tracking and that is that it becomes more important than the purpose of doing it. I surely keep that in mind!
January is usually the month where many of us tend to review our habits. Full of hope we set New Year’s resolutions and we hope to become a better version of ourselves. Unfortunately most of us will have forgotten about our good intentions by the end of the month.
Lately I have seen a new trend where people object to setting New Year’s resolutions. Instead they decide to set intentions and hope they have more chance of getting a successful outcome.
Believe it or not but intentions don’t seem to work either. None of these things are effective unless you back them up with measurable goals and a solid plan of process.
I also have set New Year’s resolutions in the past and forgot about them soon after. Looking at my goal setting history, I realise I may have to make a few changes to my approach if I want to be effective.
Therefore, I have decided on the following. Instead of setting goals and focus on the end result, I will concentrate on the process that I will need to go through. In addition, I am going to assess my beliefs and habits and see if they are congruent with the outcome I am aiming for. I am pretty sure my beliefs and habits are not as helpful as they could be. Consequently they may need a bit of ‘reframing’.
The plan is to do this with the help of the famous book ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear. I have been wanting to buy this book for a long time and for some reason it did not come my way. Until recently when I found it at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam.
I started following James Clear almost a decade ago. At the time he was a photographer, a blogger and a body builder. Looking at his track record, he is walking the talk when it comes to creating new habits or getting rid of unhelpful ones.
Habits and identity
What appeals to me most is what he writes about the role of identity. This is not the first time I hear this but it comes down to the following. If you want to achieve certain things, you will have to become the type of person that is capable of achieving such things.
An example close to my heart is alcohol. If you are interested, you can read my blogpost ‘What is the best decision you made in 2022’ right here.
For instance, if you want to stop drinking alcohol, you will have to become a person who does not drink alcohol. It is not enough to remain someone who tries to stop. Another example that interest me is creating a successful online business. In order to do that effectively I have to become the type of person who knows how to create and market an online business. I obviously won’t be successful if I have have a go at it without having the necessary skills, strategies and timeline.
I have a few ideas for an online business. My intention is to explore how to become the type of person who is capable of setting up an online business by the end of 2023. I intend to reflect on that process once per month in a blog post. Writing about it will hopefully help me to keep on track and may give you a few ideas to act upon for yourself.
I hope you’ll find it inspiring to read and follow my experiences.
Have you ever dreamt about relocating within your country or abroad? Chances are many of you may be perfectly happy with where you are. On the other hand there will be some of you who can’t help having an image of seeing yourself living in a different state or country.
Longing for a different and better life is often an inspiration for a move to a different location. Maybe you like a cultural or climate change or want to immerse yourself in another language or just crave for an adventure.
Relocating from a romantic perspective
Many people from the ‘New World’ countries have a romantic expectation about moving to older cultures. Australians tend to see spending a period in France or Italy as one of the ultimate achievements in life. Many retired Americans move interstate, to Mexico or to Europe for a longer period to find out whether such a move could be off permanent nature. British people have a reputation of seeking out a new beginning in many South European countries.
Such moves are usually driven by positive motives. Yet on countless occasions more critical reasons come into play – war, recession and wanting to escape a political regime can all be reasons to move elsewhere.
The practical reality
Aside from the romantic notion, the practical consequences of ‘relocating’ can be daunting. As a matter of fact settling in another state may separate you from loved ones. Moving countries could strip you from your professional credibility and your qualifications may not have the same status as they have at home.
If your new country has a different language, it is likely to cause you severe stress. It will frustrate you that you don’t know how to do things. Your new local community might not immediately accept you or with great hesitation. Obviously, these are just some of the ‘issues’ that may arise after settling in a new country.
Whatever your motives are for relocating it is wise to spend time reflecting on a couple of essential things. Moving requires a lot of preparation, organisation and the willingness to start from scratch. In other words, take your time to prepare yourself mentally and physically.
Challenge yourself before relocating:
Firstly, take time to assess your big ‘WHY. Brainstorm your motives, emotionally and rationally. Assess the things you will lose or gain and how you and your family will handle that.
Secondly, plan a temporary move. Rent a house in the location of your choice. Live the local life for 6 months and see how you fit in.
Thirdly, consider the practical and emotional consequences for you, your partner, your kids, your jobs and other essential things in life.
Having gone through a handful of moves myself, I urge you to take the above tips seriously. In conclusion, explore your motives, consider the consequences and try it out without committing or burning bridges.