• Tahlia Asinate

Annual Review (2020)

Early last week, I stumbled across James Clear’s annual reviews. A collection of self-reflections where he asks himself three questions about the year that’s passed.

In reading his reflections, I was taken back at what a remarkable idea this was. Where through answering three simple questions, one could self-reflect on the twelve months prior. And in doing so could identify what they did and didn’t do well, alongside the lessons that they’d learnt. All which could then be used to make improvements for the year ahead.

Being a student of Monish Pabrai, who regularly touts the benefits of cloning the best of what others have done. I decided to follow Monish's advice and clone James’ idea by utilising his questions to take part in my own annual review.

These questions being …

  1. What went well this year?

  2. What could I have done better?

  3. What did I learn this year?

So, without further ado here is my annual review …

What went well this year?

  • Writing — Early this year, I decided to start writing online, and I set a standard to publish a minimum of one post per week. This is something I’ve stuck to, and even exceeded (when I joined Coil), that is aside from one month when I put all my energy into writing a book. Doing this pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me more than I could have imagined. It also allowed me to see the importance of staying consistent.

  • Personal Finance — Something that unintentionally came about this year was a focus on personal finance. This saw me learn about the basics of value investing and the importance of positive financial habits. Whether it be budgeting, having multiple streams-of-income, dollar-cost averaging, or being smart with my money. I've implemented the lessons I've learnt, and have seen remarkable results in this year alone. All which I’m certain will compound for years to come.

  • Relationships — If this year taught me anything, it was the importance of staying connected with the people that mean the most to me. I focused on this particularly with my family and boyfriend, and in both cases, my relationships are stronger than ever. Also, a key focus this year was prioritising the relationship I have with myself. Whether that was through self-care, self-reflection, pushing myself out of my comfort zone or taking actions that bring me joy. From doing this, I learnt a lot about myself, my values, what I want from life and the type of person I want to be. These are things I once struggled to identify, yet are now things I’m excited to double down on as we step into the new year.

  • Committing To Sobriety — This decision was the highlight of my year and is something I’m incredibly proud of myself for doing. Committing to this taught me a lot about myself, gave me a boost in self-esteem and is a decision I know will pay dividends for years to come.

What could I have done better?

  • Friendships — While my relationships with family and my boyfriend improved, catching up with friends was something I could have done a lot better. I’ll be improving on this in the new year, especially once the lockdowns have been lifted.

  • Business — Although I went well in terms of personal finance on the business front I could have done a lot better. Why this didn’t go so well was due to split energy on my part. Whether that was dabbling between different business ideas or not prioritising revenue-generating activities. Towards the end of the year, I realised this, and I’m now fixing this for the year ahead.

  • Meditation — At the beginning of the year, I was doing remarkable with my practice. However, as the year went on it fell to the wayside. This is something I’m prioritising for the year ahead, and am already re-integrating. From this experience, I realised that I should do my meditation straight after I wake up. If I leave it for any later in the day I either get distracted halfway through or I skip it.

What did I learn this year?

  • Importance Of Consistency — In immersing myself in the work of Monish Pabrai, I learnt the importance of compound interest. Also, how small steps each day can lead to huge results over time. Over this year, I’ve been putting this into practice through dollar-cost averaging, publishing a weekly post and exercising regularly. Seeing my results over this year alone continues to enforce the importance of consistency and having a long term focus for the years ahead.

  • Everything Is My Responsibility — One of the most important realisations I had this year was understanding that everything in my life is my responsibility. That if I want anything to change or improve, it's up to me to make it happen. Understanding this has been a mindset shift for me, and has put into perspective the importance of having a growth mindset.

  • Self Reflection Is Necessary For Growth — Although unintentional, a much-appreciated outcome from publishing weekly posts has been the self-reflection and insights that have come about as a result. Journaling and writing have been my core processes for self-reflection. Both help me identify what I have and haven’t done well, and how to make better decisions. As in the wise words of Socrates, the unexamined life is not worth living … Whether through sharing weekly posts, or even writing this annual review, self-reflection has taught me so much about myself, and what I can do better moving forward.

I highly recommend you also conduct an annual review. You could even use the questions that I’ve sourced from James Clear. For inspiration on doing this, I highly recommend reading his review's too.

On that note, I wish you a Happy New Year. Stay safe, happy and healthy. I will see you in 2021!


Tahlia X