2015: My Yearly Review

Every year, I conduct a review of my year to look back, celebrate what I achieved, what didn't go to plan and what I learnt. I usually do this by focusing on three questions: What went well? What didn't go well? and What did I learn?

This year I've also added in more detail & data with specific sections focusing on those questions but in different areas.

Summary

What went well?

My life significantly got even better this year and I believe a large part of that was down to creating better habits, networks and studying more. I lost 16kg of fat and got more lean and ripped, I read over 15 incredible books, visited 3 amazing countries, earned 3x more money than the previous year, tripled the size of my YouTube channel (producing some of my best content so far) and spent more time with the people I care about.

As I look back at this review I’m grateful and super blessed to be able to say I am living the life I would want to and sharing it all with some wonderful people.

What didn’t go well?

There is no “perfect” year and this year I also made lots of mistakes and overcame a lot of obstacles, which I learnt a great deal from. I wasn’t able to complete my reading challenge of reading 25 books, I did a lot of work but at times didn’t spend as much time as I would have liked developing my relationships & being social, I wasn’t as effective or consistent as I could have been in my videos & business and I also experienced heartbreak, shock & pain in two key relationships at the beginning & very end of the year.

What did I learn?

This year I learnt a lot about the power of consistent small habits to make significant progress towards improving any area of my life. Want to lose weight? It’s simple, track your food, eat healthy meals and never miss workouts. Want to learn more? Read a book every evening. Want to increase revenue in business? Want to feel happier? Meditate for 10 mins every morning and do fun things with cool people.

I also learnt about the power of self love, learning more about what I am not responsible for — what isn’t for me to worry about or try to “fix”.

Your happiness comes from you and its not my responsibility to take on other people’s burdens and worries as my own or to allow my happiness to depend on them. Those things are out of my control, all I can focus on is being as loving and kind to myself and others as possible.

Fitness

This year I was super consistent in my workouts, completing 202 over the year, tracking my diet consistently for 405+ days using MyFitnessPal, losing 16.3kg of weight.

In previous years, I’d been quite relaxed about my diet and only looking back now do I see how much extra fat I was carrying.

In June, I hired a fitness coach and joined a community of like minded athletes using science based training methods to keep me improving and be more effective. I kept my habits going when travelling, even when there were no gyms, started doing some running and improved my nutrition/health massively.

Next Steps:

  • The before and after looks great, but over the last month I’ve carried an extra 4kg and gone from 61.5kg to almost 66kg. The next step is over the next 8 weeks get my calorie intake consistent once again, continue meal prepping and add some extra cardio to gain more leanness.
  • Remember to keep taking progress pics (I still resist them and find them uncomfortable) and slowly add some flexibility & stretching into my routine over the course of the year
  • Being happier by acknowledging the progress made. At this point I’m only really tweaking small percentages. I feel it’s important to remember I’m already in an elite bracket of people and I already look and feel great. Anything beyond this is a bonus. Fear of slacking stopped me from acknowledging this before. So this year I want to be more mindful that I’m already looking, feeling and doing great.

YouTube

This year I was far more consistent in my videos too, creating 106 of them in total.

After re-launching my videos in mid Feb, 5,792 people subscribed to my channel over the last year, putting me now at 7,000 subs in total and 12,500 projected by October 2016.

That’s more growth than any of the previous years combined.

My videos were viewed 1.1 million times in total last year, 76% of them coming from one video alone. I tweaked the thumbnails, SEO, the cover art on the page, learnt from some of the best & even have a sketchnote artist making notes from my videos for 2016!

Some of my favourites from the year were:

Not surprisingly, these are all the best produced videos which I put the most thought and time into creating and editing.

Next Steps

  • Improving the content and being consistent. At various points I was testing different volumes of content (daily, 2 a month, 3 a week etc) and this year I am focusing more so on improving content in every way — so much it is now a section in my yearly review! This means saying no to all other projects as I’ve learnt how time consuming the whole process is and to be all in, I am going to say no to 90% of other projects I’m asked to do.
  • Ads have been turned off. One because I don’t want other people’s ads annoying my audience and two so I can really develop my business model around this platform. This means I’ll need to think more about how each video is supporting my business and what ROI it brings and what value I am sharing by putting out content.

Reading

This year I completed reading 15 books and wasn’t able to hit my target of completing 25. This is still more consistent than before but this is a habit I am going to really boost in 2016 and prioritise more.

In previous years I simply had a big list of books I wanted to read and read randomly. This year I was more purposeful and identified 25 I wanted to read first, and had a spreadsheet on my PC & was more active on Goodreads to help me track my progress.

I made notes whilst reading this year, and wrote reviews on what I had learned which is a big win. Something I’ve never done before. That said some of those notes are still incomplete. I also read in spurts, where I was consistent in reading often for weeks, and then inconsistent and not reading at all.

Next Steps:

  • Make reading more of a fun event/day out by spending my Sunday mornings in the library and dedicating half a day to getting lost in what I’m reading. Not creating the time & space consistently is what stopped me last year. I was reading when I could “steal” time — on the bus, audiobooks while driving, on the train etc. This year I am going to make it much more scheduled and deliberate.
  • Write notes as I go along. I assumed last year after finishing a book, the best way was to go back over it and write notes but this adds more work and I have lots happening already. Highlight and writing notes as I realise & learn is more effective
  • The challenge for 2016: read 50 books! And combine this with video creation. The books I read directly impact my life, work & business and approaching them as part of the video creation process will deepen my commitment further.

Wealth

This year I made more money than ever in my business and managed to let go of some financial barriers mentally that were stopping me being more successful in this area. My income has as a result gone from ~£3.5k in 2014 to ~£10k in 2015. Its small but still something and a huge leap forwards.

For the first time, I now have a regular salary every month and have also more money in savings than in my current account. I am no longer in my overdraft from month to month and this freedom is something I am still getting used to.

I am able to do things like pay for bills & shopping in my family home, buy gifts for friends & family and also myself. Whereas before it was something that restricted me, I no longer worry about how much I’m spending or if I can buy things.

Part of this lies in shifting my money beliefs over the year by taking more risks, and realising how to sell my services & products much much better.

25% of every months earnings I receive goes into savings, with the rest being spent only essentials and things which bring genuine improvements to my life. My income could also have been higher, but I’ve chosen to take only what I need and invest everything else back into business growth.

Revolution Hive has grown and evolved, with a new website and several national contracts being delivered. I’m also now thinking more broadly about hiring a team and what I want to focus on more, and what needs to be outsourced.

Next steps:

  • As mentioned above, to say no to 90% of the external projects coming my way and focus on what is a 10 for me. By developing my YouTube business model & coaching practice, I already know what is possible this year. Not being afraid to “sell” removes a lot of barriers and now my aim is to triple my income again, and build a team.
  • Nothing particularly new other than consistency. Sometimes its easy to think you need to do things different or tweak things, but I’m getting results and its all about optimising rather than doing anything wholly new.

Relationships & Fun

Last year I identified that the work/play balance wasn’t quite right — I was working more and playing/being social less. This year was mixed. When you love what you do, and work is play, its easy to get lost in your own world and forget about seemingly “lesser” things like playing video games, going to the cinema etc etc. Sometimes I had the balance right, sometimes I didn’t.

But this year I went to Belgium, Berlin & Kenya, the latter being one of the best trips in my life so far where I had the chance to do some epic things with amazing people and really make a difference. It reminded me how much I love international development, grassroots volunteering & travelling to new places & cultures.

As mentioned in my summary, this year was more painful than for a long time. At the beginning of the year and at the very end in particular I went through some challenges emotionally but these have also been the moments of the most growth. I learnt a lot about myself and had some deep awakenings about my perception of the world, and of myself which have been profoundly eye opening.

Next steps:

  • Focus on being engaged and developing relationships. I make a lot of friends and meet lots of amazing people and sometimes it can be a pattern of you meet, you have a blast and it ends there. As my YouTube presence has grown this has only expanded with even more demands being placed on my time & attention — but one person can only give so much. In 2016, I am going to focus on less people, the ones that really matter, and work at being more open and practising love & fun in those spaces
  • Go back to Kenya with my squad. Obviously. And a trip to India at the end of the year. I’ll also be working 9 months and taking 3 months off this year to work on a book, videos and exploring.

Small Note on Identity

I’m noticing a shift in my identity — I’m passing my 20s fast and in 5 years will reach 30. This makes me feel more like I want to pay things forward and invest in the next generation, and also play more of a big brother/father kind of role in my life and work. I’m not the young person looking to people anymore (yes I am young) but I feel ready to be that responsible adult and to just be more responsible.

I’ve also in recent weeks , realised how people and life is/are flawed and beautiful. Life is unfair and we create our world. This pragmatic approach has helped me to be less expectant and more kind with the people around me. No one is perfect and why should we pretend to be. We’re all as hypocritical and messy as each other, but we do our best. Sometimes the people we look upto aren’t who we think and relationships can be hard and complex to navigate through.

Despite it all however, what you can still do is choose your own happiness and focus on finding that independent of everything & everyone around you.

If you read this far, thank you for taking the time to. And I encourage you to write your own — its not too late to. Greatness takes time to create.

Read my previous yearly reviews here:

2014

2013

2012

2011