Thoughts For The Year Ahead

Thoughts For The Year Ahead

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There were some interesting posts from finance bloggers posted around the new year. Lessons learned in 2018. Resolutions for 2019. Anti-resolutions.

I toyed with the idea of writing a post setting out my own reflections on lessons learned in 2018 and resolutions for the new year but stopped short of doing so. I must agree with Casey Mullooly. Beating myself up about my shortcomings last year seems counter-productive. I know where I got things right, and where I fell short, and overall, I think I got more right than wrong, and I’m good with that.

That said, although I’m someone who very rarely has regrets (you can’t change the past so just learn from the error and move on), I have regularly kicked myself for one thing I view as a definite fail in 2018.

In June I was lucky enough to attend the EBI West conference in California. It was an opportunity to meet several of the #FinTwit community that I’d got to know a little online, and sure enough, I did meet many of them. But, while I was happy to seek out those I had engaged with on Twitter, I found myself too intimidated to introduce myself to someone who didn’t know me – Josh Brown. I am a great admirer of Josh and the whole team at Ritholtz Wealth, and while I did get to meet many of the team who were there, I just couldn’t pluck up the courage to bowl up to Josh and say hi. What a wuss ☹

Moving on.

I was struck by an email from Shane Parrish just before the end of the year in which he said: “The end of December is a time for resolutions for many but more important than any resolution is to take time to reflect on the life you’re living.” That seemed like a more positive approach, and I have given a lot of thought to five questions he posed, and I’m going to cover them here.

1 . What did you do a lot of this year that you want to do less of next year? 

In considering this question I first thought about what I wanted to do MORE of this year, as I found that helped me think about what I NEEDED to do less of to do so.

I did a lot more writing in 2018 than in previous years, and I plan to do even more in 2019.  I’ve read a certain quote many times which resonates with me every time I see it: “I write to learn what I think.”

I’ve also found that to write more (and in an effort to improve my writing) I’ve needed to read more, which has been wonderful. I have read an eclectic mix of books in the last couple of years (I read very little about investing), and I plan to do the same in 2019. 

The one thing which sprang to mind that I’m pretty sure I did a lot of last year and want to do less of this year is to waste time. I realise that I’m at that point where I have fewer years ahead of me than behind me, so I need to make the most of how I choose to spend my time.  I can be an absolute expert at wasting time. I plan to try hard to do less of that this year.

2. Did you spend your time in a way that was meaningful and conscious or were you ruled by habits and defaults?

Despite my ability to waste time, I did feel as though I did quite well on this one. I am a naturally anti-habit person. Doing the same thing over and over bores me very quickly. Like everyone, I have a few habits I’d like to change, but overall, I think 2018 was probably the first year where I frequently questioned what I was doing and whether it was the best use of my time, and if the answer was ‘No’ then I stopped doing it.

3. Did you invest in the right relationships?

Setting aside the epic fail detailed above (which I plan to find a way to rectify in 2019), I think the answer to this one is an overwhelming ‘Yes’. That said, this is a never-ending process, and I need to make sure I allocate enough time to do this.

4. Are you living deliberately and consciously?

More than in any other year, I think I got closer to cracking this in 2018. I plan to continue doing so.

5. Did you go after what you want, or did you hope it would come to you?

I am a naturally proactive person, so while I can beat myself up slightly about my lack of social skills with strangers, I did seize the opportunity not only to cross the Atlantic to meet new people but also agreed to take part in one of the panel discussions in a room full of complete strangers (and Americans to boot! 😊).  Overall, in 2018 I believe I pursued opportunities rather than passively expecting things to happen from doing nothing.

So that’s it. Welcome to 2019. Here’s hoping it’s a good one.