Reflecting on the Year Past and Glancing at the Map

By Ethan Maurice | January 6, 2016

I'm not a big believer in setting rigid and specific goals. The best things often come from unexpected places or in ways we don't foresee until the future we're attempting to plan for has become the present.

However, as 2015 has come to a close and a new year lays unwritten before us, I think it's beneficial to reflect on the year past and consider how we might best use the time ahead of us. Not to chart a path and blindly follow it, rather more of a stopping for a few minutes to study the map, make sure we're heading in the right direction, and boldly continue on in our journey of life.

A couple days ago, I broke out a notebook and made a few lists. Lists of what I did over the past year, what went well, what didn't, and what I want to carry over into 2016.

I decided to publish those lists and make my ambitions known. I find ambitions kept to myself easier to let slide. If I put them out there for the world to see, there's more incentive to follow through.

Here's my year in review and the direction I plan to head into the future.

What I did:

Spent Three Months Working on a Cruise Ship

  • Piloted a friggin cruise ship

  • Handled dock lines

  • Experienced the entirety of the US East Coast

  • Made great friends and lived among like-minded people

  • Learned to change oil, clean filters, control generators of the ship

  • Made and saved $10K enjoying myself and learning

  • Know that I can always work on private yachts if my grander schemes don't work out

Lived on the Big Island of Hawaii for the Summer

  • Learned to mentally slow down a bit and enjoy the present more

  • Lived in my own private cabin on a farm

  • Almost got blown out to sea in an aluminum row boat

  • Snorkeled with sea turtles

  • Realized how little I actually need to be happy

  • Explored the island with one hell-of-a adventure buddy

Launched The Living Theory

  • Overcame the fear of openly baring myself and my ideas to the world

  • Started sharing and writing about subjects important to me

  • Designed a minimalistic combination of writing and photography to convey ideas

  • A project of passion, where time spent stokes the fire of my soul

What was good:

  • Traveled for 6 months of the year

  • Further overcame my fear of heights by skydiving with my grandma

  • Launched a website I'm incredibly passionate about

  • Dove into adventures without even testing the water

  • Learned how to earn free flights with travel credit cards

  • Laid the groundwork for a startup business for 2016

  • Read many books and started my own commonplace book

  • Worked at a cool restaurant with cool people

  • Gave back as a national fundraising coach for a CMN Hospitals

What wasn't good:

  • Spread myself too thin with work impacting the quality of all projects

  • Haven't expanded my social circle as much as I'd like to in Phoenix

  • Still want to read more books

  • Feeling that many of the people I spend time with have such different wants and priorities

  • Didn't find and connect with a girl who has a similar outlook on life

  • Denied some opportunities to follow my fear, drawing back into a feeling of safety

What do I want to replicate from last year:

  • Travel for months at a time

  • Live somewhere amazing where I can work productively

  • Continue writing weekly for The Living Theory

  • Passionately work on my business startup

What I can do better this year:

  • Follow my fear, using it as a compass

  • Not take on too many projects at once

  • Market The Living Theory better and guest post on other sites more often

  • Find or create an environment more conducive to focus and creativity

  • Surround myself with like-minded, driven people that inspire me

  • Read 2x per day instead of once before bed

  • Have a better goal for my workouts as opposed to directionless lifting and running

I encourage you to take a look at your past year. What went well? What didn't? What direction are you heading in? On our journey though life, it's important to stop for a minute once in a while to examine the map.




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