Reflections on 2014

2014 was a tough year. The toughest year for me, yet. I’ve been debating for a few days whether or not to write a reflections post. I’ve just returned from my first gym session of 2015, and feel pretty positive, so I reckon what better time than the present to write this.

This year past brought several life challenges I’ve never had to endure, until now. These challenges are deeply personal and not entirely appropriate for this blog, so I won’t go into specifics. One interesting characteristic of a challenge is how it forces you to re-examine and re-evaluate other areas of your life. Large portions of 2014 were spent reflecting inwards, inspecting myself and my lifestyle and making small, yet highly impactful, changes to how I approach the world. One of these changes was to hack myself and get my fitness lifestyle under control. While this happened from late 2013, 2014 was the year where I kicked this into high gear… and it feels great!

Throughout work and life, there has been a lot of focus on goal setting and making sure to reach for the stars and find the key wins. Through this, I’ve learned a lot about setting S.M.A.R.T goals. These are goals which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Combined, these traits transform a goal such as “I will lose weight” into “I will lose X kg by Y date”. Something realistic. Something specific. A clear goalpost to work towards.

This approach has greatly shifted how I approach every task. Rather than focussing just on the “grand outcome”, I break down tasks into smaller steps and focus on each has a unique goal. Sticking to this approach is in itself a goal of mine for 2015.

This year has also been one of much excitement for me, getting more involved in the local startup community here in Cape Town. Attending the first ever Lean Startup Machine event in Cape Town, making a bunch of new friends and helping to run the first ever Do Action: Charity Hackathon event are just some of the great activities I’ve been fortunate to be a part of. These events go hand in hand with a large part of what I do at WooThemes; working with our production team to create products to help people succeed in online business.

I’ve found that applying the LEAN methodology to areas outside of business has also been extremely beneficial. No longer is an idea something that just sits on the shelf and does nothing. Applying the LEAN approach, it’s possible to take an idea and prove/disprove it in next to no time at all. Whittling an idea down to it’s purest form is an excellent way to get to the heart of the problem and find the best possible solution. Rounding back to gym for a moment, applying the LEAN approach allowed me to see that the problem wasn’t the workout itself; it was getting through the door in the first place. If I have to pack a bag for gym, I automatically feel less likely to go. So I stopped packing a bag.

Sitting here on day 1 of 2015, I have a few SMART goals in mind which I hope to achieve early in the year, to make room for new goals. I look forward to actioning my plan and sharing the experience and results with you all. Have a wonderful 2015, everyone!

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