It’s been exactly one year since my last blog. Déjà vu.
In January 2017, I wrote …
OMG! My last post was in January, 2013. And that’s the third post including the auto-generated “Hello World!” when this domain was registered in March, 2011. Obviously, an average frequency of 0.333 posts per year for the last 6 years definitely isn’t enough to make me a blogger. A blogger wannabe, maybe.
This is the 13th entry since 2011, raising the average frequency from 0.333 to 1.625 entries per year. That’s a remarkable 488% improvement! And I might have just invented a whole new category of blogging.
Meet Kenny, The Annual Blogger 😊
Clearly, I’ve failed again at keeping up with a previous commitment to ‘blog weekly.’ Another futile new year resolution, along with ‘losing 8 kg,’ and ‘become ironman-fit,’ blah-blah-blah … to the point of ad nauseum.
Yes, I’ve come short again and again. But I’m not giving up. Not just yet. I’ll stay in the arena and continue to strive valiantly, as Theodore Roosevelt wrote in his famous speech known as ‘The Man in the Arena’ –
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Today, I turn 49. Inspired by a colleague’s question “What’s your 50 before 50?” … I thought of raising my own game with a little challenge. I shall go public with my aspiration and publish an ‘Annual Review’ – a process inspired by James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, whose blog I’ve been following for past few years. James has been publishing an ‘Annual Review’ since 2013 (https://jamesclear.com/annual-review) where he shares publicly his reflections on the following three questions:
- What went well this year?
- What didn’t go so well this year?
- What did I learn?
Here’re the first 5 of my 50-before-50-list (more in coming weeks).
- Publish my Annual Review
- Post 50 blog entries
- Trek the Inca Trail with my wife
- Publish my first book
- Do at least 100-hours of pro bono work
Let me start checking off Item #1.
Annual Review 2018
1. What went well this year?
- Work. BRIDGE continues to provide me opportunities to do meaning work, ranging from helping a new joint-venture company define its purpose, vision and core values, developing leaders to do well and do good (e.g. sustainable packaging for a food company), and bringing government, businesses and the civil society together to reduce sexual violence on women and children (Kalinga Fellowship 2018 @ Hyderabad).
- Family. Despite the frequent travel, I’m grateful to be able to witness the key milestones for the family. Mei Chin completed her post-grad studies in counselling; Sean became an Operational Ready National Serviceman; Dylan graduated from high school as the Valedictorian; attended my nephew Ricky’s wedding; and I became an granduncle following baby Griezmann’s arrival. Also grateful for Dad’s relative good health.
- Health and Fitness. Glad that I finally recovered from an annoying frozen shoulder and fit enough to resume swimming as well as to complete my third annual Run For Hope with Bev, my colleague and running buddy.
- Travel. Work has taken me to new places such as Colombo, Taipei, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. Managed to squeeze in two family holidays (instead of one) – a roadtrip in Malaysia and a spectacular yearend trip to Turkey – plus checking off a bucket list after ballooning in Cappodocia.
- Romance. Still blessed with a loving wife, with whom I managed to enjoy two romantic getaways – Club Med Cherating and Chempedak island.
- Personal & Professional Development. Privileged to free up from work to attend Presencing Foundation Programme in Fremantle (first time in Asia Pacific region), and get to hang out with some amazing people, including Otto Scharmer, creator of Theory U.
- Volunteerism. Completed my final term as chairperson of PSG at NUSH High and made some wonderful friends whilst we Makan Together, Exercise Together, Do Good Together, and Learn Together.
2. What didn’t go so well this year?
- Stalled projects. Managed to enrol a dozen ‘gifters’ in project I was incubating, but failed to launch it as planned. To be launched in 2019.
- Spirituality. Didn’t quite carry out my intention to resume my daily walk with God.
- Meditation. Took a course on transcendental meditation (TM) but have yet to meditate frequently.
- Lost. Lost my father-in-law very suddenly, but glad that mum-in-law is well supported by family.
- Weight Management. Instead of losing weight, I have reached a new height of 85kg. A dangerous trajectory.
- Health and Fitness. Definitely ran and swam far less frequently than desired. Losing flexibility too. Really gotta get my act together and stop the gradual decline.
3. What did I learn?
- The Beauty of Rituals. I began to pay attention to what we do annually and appreciate the beauty of rituals. Each year, friends from college days would gather for a pot-luck at Chong Teik and Denise’s home to kick-off the year and celebrate the birthdays of January babies. This has gone on for over a decade. In 2017, the Year of the Rooster, instead of bringing our usual roast chicken, my wife and I started making a 3-dimensional ‘Rooster’ fruit platter. Naturally, we followed up with a dog and a pig in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Unknowingly, a ritual was created. We now know what to make at least for the next 9 years of the zodiac cycle.
- Out of Sight, Out of Mind. As part of our annual family ritual, we practice sharing aloud what we are grateful for the year and create a vision board for the new year. While I had created a vision board for 2018 had it pinned it up on the wall, I rarely looked at them. Granted that some aspects of my dreams did come true (i.e. we ended up ballooning in Turkey), most of the items that require intentional actions such as exercise and working on my parenting offering fell totally out of my consciousness and remained as unlived dreams. I’ve learnt to make what matters more visible – and where possible, keep them in sight by scheduling them onto my calendar.
- The 5 Seconds Rule. I chanced upon Mel Robbin’s 5 Seconds Rule and absolutely loved it. Definitely life changing. It’s really simple. From the moment you have an idea, you only have 5 seconds to take action. Do it right away. Otherwise, it’s gone. In fact, this blog post is possible because I started writing right away when the idea came up. Watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI2VQ-ZsNr0
- If you don’t change your direction, you may end up where you are heading. That came from Lao Tzu. I had it written on the café wall (Gone Fishing) in 2002 and have been quoting it regularly when conducting courses on ‘leading change’ over the years. But I definitely don’t heed that advice enough, especially on the direction I have been heading on health and fitness. It’s time for change.
I find the Annual Review incredibly helpful. Wanna give it a shot?