I had a very successful 2016. It was one of the best years of my life. And I have had some great years.
In 1983 I broke out my shell in high school and started college. In 1987 I had a lot of fun working as a co-op student earning money, becoming a good engineer and having a lot of fun in my spare time. In 1988 I graduated college and had great time. In 1992 I become very good with the ladies and met my future wife. In 1994 and 1998 I had my children. In 2000 I got a great job. In 2007 I found the courage to leave my wife. In 2012 I got the best job of my life. In 2013 I finally found a way to successfully deal with my ex-wife and get her out of my life.
All great years. All had something special.
But what was missing in those years was sustained success and continuous happiness.
I reflect back on those years and there was a great event in each of them, sometimes multiple great events like 1987 and 1992. But there was still something missing.
The missing ingredient in a successful year is multiple memorable events, continuous happiness and the confidence that the following years can be just as good.
There might have been an extremely great event like the birth of my children, but as you know, the day to day life when you have children is not one of happiness and joy, but one of day to day exhaustion and toil mixed in with joyful experiences and some satisfaction.
In 1992 I was in the best shape of my life, was doing well at work, had a lot of fun with my friends, had sex with beautiful girls with no strings attached and met my future wife.
But I also was bored with my job, had extreme aches and pains from over training, could not go out in the evening alone, still had body image issues, would get upset if I spent a weekend night at home and felt the societal guilt to give up my fun playboy lifestyle and settle down.
What was missing was the consistent happiness that I have now.
First a quick look back at a successful 2016 for me. You may find these successes a little tame, but this is my life and I choose to define my success my way.
The main thing to notice from this list is that every month I had something really good happening and that every month there were multiple events to list. I did not even get into all the other good things that I did last year, like the girls I met, dated and had fun with. I just listed the main things.
I try to think of my life in terms of themes. I learned this from James Altucher. Instead of setting a bunch of random goals, set some larger, general themes. From there you can set goals that make sense that match the themes.
Themes I set at the beginning of 2016
I was successful with these themes
Spend some time now over the next few weeks setting the main themes for the upcoming year. You will be surprised at how well this works.
My only regret is that I did not push myself for higher themes. But now I know that I can set an even more advanced themes for next year.
I do a lot of writing. I have a planner book where I make notes of the highlights on my calendar. I also have a small hard sided journal that I store in my planner book pocket. I call this my success journal.
I also have a Travel Journal where I note in much more detail the highlights of my travels and tape in brochures, pictures and souvenirs from my trips.
I use this website to help me keep track too.
Of course I have tons of pictures of my successful 2016.
The more I keep track of my successes and notice what makes me the happiest, the happier I get and the more success I have.
How can you know what makes you the happiest if you don't make some effort to track it?
From Danger and Play
Mike's reflection on one of the best years of his life.
It is critical to reflect on your past year. It helps you to appreciate how far you have come and develops your gratitude. It points out areas that you might have grown away from and no longer need to deal with.
More importantly, it sharpens what you need to focus on in the future year. You may have missed the mark in some areas because it was not the right time or some other obstacles. Sometimes, good things come to you at their time, not yours. So go over last year and build on that for the coming year.
I have now written about my successful 2016 and can start to refine and hone the vision and themes I have for 2017.
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