How to review your 2018 and plan your life like a boss

Key principles, processes, and my own example

At the end of each year, I follow the steps below to adjust course:

  1. (Re)set my five-year dream state and breaking it down to yearly milestones. (process outlined in this free “Get Your Stuff Together” workshop).
  2. Review the previous year in key areas. The process helps me reflect and identify the good, the bad, and the ugly of the year.
  3. Together, step 1. and 2. help inform my next year’s direction and goals.
  4. Identify sustainable habits and routines that’ll make the goals a reality.
  5. At the end of each month, I set my goals for the following month, recap my progress for the previous month, and review the goals of the year (from Step 3.) to ensure they still align with my priorities.

This post is on Step 2 to help you review your 2018 like a boss.

I’ll start with key principles of the review process and then an example of my own. Key principles:

  1. Follow your heart and identify key areas that are important to you: This is not a rigid process or homework with one right answer. Feel free to use my example and add or change per your need. Make the process serve you.
  2. Acknowledge your wins: Societies urge us to feel “not enough” at times, so it’s extra important to acknowledge how far you’ve come.
  3. Identify key processes and habits from the previous year: Luck and circumstances are mostly out of our control. To truly make success (however you define it) a “sure thing”, we need to focus on our own efforts and processes. Ask yourself, “if I continue this habit, would it get me where I’d like to go?” If yes, keep on doing it; if no, change it until the answer becomes yes.
  4. Be honest: Acknowledge where you are right now is the first step to making a change.
  5. Be grateful: None of us can be where we are today or get to where we want to go alone. The love and support around us can become invisible to us at times like the air we breathe. The annual review can be a great time to take an inventory of everything you’ve taken for granted and show your appreciation. I promise your heart will be all warm and fuzzy afterward.

Below is an example of my year-end review for 2018:

2018 is the most challenging and rewarding year of my life. I was lucky that no physical tragedy stroke me or my family while the journey was an emotional roller coaster.

Mental health — key words: pain, depression, healing

For a major part of the year, I was battling PTSD and depression. In a few moments, the ideas and planning of ending my life came up. The heaviness of the past was weighing me down. Ultimately, I’m grateful that I stuck it through with the help from my partner, new therapist, and my friends.

After going through 300+ meditations, daily journals, 48 books, EMDR treatments (what is EMDR), 70 therapy sessions, psychedelic trips, Landmark courses, conversations with loved ones, and changes in my daily routine in 2018, I’m able to let go a large chunk of the past and forge a new future for myself. I also start to experience less anxiety and stress by becoming more present and peaceful with the present moment (more on Spirituality below).

In 2019, I look forward to healing more from past traumas and step into a happier self.

Learning — key words: Rapid growth through books and Landmark…

In 2018, I finished 49 books ranging from business, self development, psychology, communication, spirituality, fiction, trauma/healing, biography, science… After the Landmark Forum and the Breakthrough Seminar in 2017, I took the Advanced Course and Self-Expression and Leadership Program. They have completed shifted my view on life. In many aspects, I’m a completely different person since the start of the year thanks to them.

I started practicing Capoeira for the first time. It combines many of my favorite activities: dance, martial art, mental games, improv, live music, and playing filled with child-like wonders.

In the new year, I want to continue the habit of reading, get back to improv acting, and learn to play more music.

Adventure — key words: Life is exciting slightly outside the comfort zone

Me dressed up as Daenerys Targaryen at DAYBREAKER

I moved to a more friendly and convenient neighborhood with more space and light.

I traveled to Texas, Seattle, Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone for camping. I got to see bears, moose, bison, and many other animals for the first time in the wild. I also hiked in Syracuse and camped by the Delaware River .

I also got to dance at The Get Down and DAYBREAKER multiple times this year. Each experience left me invigorated. The interactive play, Sleep No More was an incredible and noteworthy adventure on its own.

In the new year, I plan to spend more time in nature and travel to more places.

Habit Building — key words: Early birds, journal, reading, meditations

This is also the year when I picked up the habit of getting up early again at 5am. I start each day now with reading, planning the day, making breakfast smoothie, meditating, visualizing the future, journaling, and reading mantras.

In the new year, I’m aiming to reform my evening routine with yoga and piano and continue my morning ritual.

Physical health — key words: Smoothie, Crossfit, joint health

2018, I started each day with a veggie+fruit+nut smoothie (half a pound of spinach, 3/4 pound of mixed berries, 1/4 pound of raw almonds, vitamin c powder, and a banana before workout). The smoothie gives a ton of energy and saved me time cooking and eating. Plus, it’s super yummy!

I start doing CrossFit three times a week, which has made me stronger than ever before. e.g. I’m able to front squat with pretty much my body weight. Strength trainings and soft tissue massages returned my healthy joints. I went from having to crawl down stairs to hiking 10 miles without pain for the first time in years. Thanks coach Andre!

In the new year, I’m aiming to build up my strengths and building more muscles by managing my evening food intake habit while continuing the smoothie and CrossFit training.

Love and relationships — key words: Best ever ❤

Taking a break during a long hike in upstate New York

I didn’t expect that my dream relationship could get even better. After eight years of being together, the love of my life and I grew even closer. We are now able to communicate our needs, share openly about our fears, accept each other’s emotions, understand each other and our own struggles, love each other deeply… Above all, we let go of the obsession to be right and allow love to come through first.

As a result, we can show up rawly and authentically in front of each other more than ever. We trust that the other will love and accept us as who we are without blame or judgement.

I’m also fortunate to have amazing friends, mentors, coaches, colleagues, supporters on the planet. We shared laughs, joys, encouragements, insights, love to empower each other to be the best version of ourselves and see the powerful and magical beings as we truly are. Special shutouts to StartingBloc, Stack Overflow, and Landmark for the incredible communities and people they have.

In 2019, I want to spend more time with my family in China and grow my roots deeper with my communities.

Relationship with myself — key words: self acceptance, blind spots

My inspirational self-portrait

I became more aware of the identification with my own ego and started to dissociate my identities with the voice in my head. As a result, I became more present. I started to accept myself and grow at peace with my own being.

I started to recognize more blind spots. For example, with increasing awareness of my fears of failures and success, I got to step out of my comfort zone and started to play bigger games (See Contribution below).

In the new year, I want to step up my game even further and see myself and others as the magnificent beings that we truly are.

Spirituality — keywords: most unexpected growth area

Getting more connected to the present moment, thanks to teachers like Eckhart Tolle, Tara Brach, psychedelics, and life. My conscious expanded.

I also contemplated a lot about deaths and losses. After many fearful conversations with myself and then awakening moments, I recognized the sacred and timelessness of beings; I started to let go of attachments to form. I started to reconnect with the sacred beings that passed away in my life and their spirit felt more alive to me than ever.

In the new year, I can’t wait to grow more in this area that I just started to scratch the surface of.

Finance — keywords: a well-automated system, better relationship with money

I got one step closer and stayed on track to financial independence and early retirement. I grew a more balanced view of money and let go many of my scarcity mindset.

In the new year, I’ll continue the upkeep of my existing financial processes and I hope to expand my abundance beyond the limit and goals I have set for myself.

Contribution — keywords: I’m ready for more!

My mission to contribute is more important than the fear of failures. I launched my first webinar on productivity; amazingly, ~300 people signed up and ~100 showed up at the event. I’m excited to make bigger strides here.

StartingBloc New York 2018 ❤

I got to mentor at StartingBloc NY’18. It was gratifying to support the growth of many incredible leaders and human beings.

We adopted our foster kitten. She was saved from dying from an infection and/or the winter at just two months old. Now she gets to cuddle and play with two loving kitties every day. ❤

Contributions is an area I want to expand a lot in the new year by using my talents and resources to help more people live their full potential.

How about you? How did you feel about your 2018? What are you most looking forward to in 2019?