2016 is history, and before I get too far into 2017 I thought I should take some time to reflect on the year just passed, and the things I value most that occurred within it.

Health

When I say health I really mean fitness and exercise, and how much of it I actually did. I managed to pull this one out of the bag late in the year, because up until August I had done very little consistently. I just couldn’t find the motivation to workout with any regularity. It wasn’t until our holiday to France in August that I strung together more than a few days of workouts in a row. There, I set a goal to run everyday, and in the end managed 11 out of 14 days of running, building 1km per day from 5km up to 12km and then starting again.

It took a month-and-a-half upon returning from holiday to get back into a routine, but I’m happy to say that I did. From October through to the end of the year I exercised on a LOT more days than I didn’t (43 of a possible 61 days in November/December). I created a “Don’t break the chain” calendar on a whiteboard on the wall of my garage, which helped provide visual feedback and maintain my motivation.

A key ingredient in my success late in the year was returning to early morning rises and getting my workouts done before the kids get up. Leaving a workout until after the kids had gone to bed in the evening more often than not resulted in “I just can’t be bothered” (and then regret the next day).

Writing

It was a disappointing year of writing. I only published 14 posts on this blog, well short of what I envisaged at the start of the year. One of the main reasons I’ve failed here is because I haven’t scheduled the time to write. Unless I block out chunks of time in my schedule dedicated solely to writing, that time gets consumed with the day-to-day stuff.

Writing is one of the key things I’ll be focussing on in 2017, starting with this review of 2016. I’ve got a few strategies to overcome my failings of this year, learned from some of the books I’ve read recently.

Reading

Again, disappointing. I didn’t read nearly as many books as I’d like. The majority of the reading I did do this year was technical content on my Feedly feed. These are the books I can remember:

Family

Parenting is difficult, full stop. The year in which my kids turned four and two certainly brought its fair share of challenges, as you’d expect from kids this age. But it also brought so many joys and memories that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.

Late in the year I read The Whole-Brain Child, which has really shed some light on how my little one’s brains work, and how to work with them.

Waking up early has also been a really positive change for me with respect to my children. Getting my workout and a number of other things done before they wake up means I’m happier and less stressed by the time they get up, which means I’m not half-asleep and rushed when I’m getting them ready for the day. Now I take the time to read to them, play with them, and talk to them calmly; a valuable change from rushing around and and shouting in order to get us all ready.

Career

Probably the biggest win for the year was the progress I made in my career. I applied the principles I learned in Deep Work — carving out large chunks of uninterrupted deep work time — to get some really valuable work done. The results from which were acknowledged and I’m starting to reap the rewards. I’ll most definitely applying these deep work principles again this year in order to take even bigger strides forward.

Personal Development

I finished the year off extremely strong. I picked up the Miracle Morning in October and did my first Miracle Morning on 12th December. I’m really noticing the positive affects of waking early, Silence (meditating), Affirmations, Visualisation, Exercise, Reading and Scribing (writing). Routine and consistency seem to be the cornerstones of success of the book and my ability to maintain it (thus far); I thought I would find doing so a lot more difficult than it actually has been.

2016 Takeaways

  • Wake up early. And…
  • Do the difficult things first. You won’t do them later.
  • Do less. The more you try to do the less you actually achieve.
  • Slow down. Especially with your kids; they need time and patience.