I guess this is the day when you’re supposed to bid good riddance to the old year and shake off the hangover going into the new.
But I have no complaints, because 2015 was a really good one for me…
A year of much travel. I think 13 countries in all, several more than once: Chad expedition, Germany (2x – Cologne and Berlin), Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, the Åland islands, Sweden, Gotland and Fårö, Denmark, Portugal, England (Pershore and London), Barbados (2x), Italy (2x – Venice and Rome), and Austria (Vienna).
I had hoped to fit a couple more in, but I just got tired.
It was also a year of Outpost magazine. I published a big feature on the Baltic countries. Started a new print column about Europe’s hidden corners called Adrift on the Continent, which appears in every issue. And continued my online column Expat Life, which publishes twice a month.
My online business did a couple successful new product launches. We expanded our team by bringing several great new people on board. And we continued to grow into a more mature company while helping people all over the world get healthier, lose weight and feel better about themselves.
I also moved across the island to a really nice village in the south of Malta, which made for a much better living environment while cutting our day to day costs way down to allow for even more travel.
And, as always, I read a pile of good books. I’ll share my favourites with you on the blog very soon.
Tomoko published her first book of photography too, and set the wheels in motion for another print collaboration and a first solo exhibit early in 2016.
So yeah, I’m very grateful for such a fulfilling and enjoyable 2015, especially after the miseries and challenges of 2014.
So what’s next?
Many cool plans for the year ahead in Murdland.
I continue to experiment with lifestyle design and search for the optimal “work / life / travel” balance. I think 2016 will involve less travel in terms of countries, but longer stays in a few key locations. A long stay in Japan is on the horizon, plus Scandinavia part 2, and at least a month in Berlin.
I’m researching a couple more adventurous trips as well, and smaller Euro-trips to get new material for my Adrift column. This will also be the year for a new book (finally!). It’s about Mongolia, Tibet and Xinjiang, and it’s nearly done. I think you’re going to like it.
But that’s just the start. And I know I can pull off much better stuff this year if I crack the whip, improve my working methods, and focus. And you can too!
Because that’s the thing…
ANYONE can do this stuff. There’s nothing remotely special about me. Nothing is holding you back from creating the life you dream of living. You just have to commit — and start taking action.
Hell, I managed to do a fair bit in 2015, but I didn’t even hit all my goals.
I let too many days go by when I didn’t nail my commitment of writing first thing every morning.
I didn’t spend nearly enough time with friends — especially old friends, the ones I grew up with.
I stayed up too late, and slept late when I should have been working on my stuff.
But that’s okay, because I’ll do better this year.
One big lesson I learned from 2015 came from a book called Daily Rituals. It looked at the working habits and rituals of famous writers, artists, scientists and creators. And the big commonality that stood out for me was that the vast majority of these folks put in 3 to 4 hours of focused work on their craft every day.
Even the most prolific writers who published 20 or 30 books. They worked every day, usually in the morning when they were fresh. And then they walked away from their desks and spent the rest of the day thinking, walking, drinking coffee with friends, or taking care of administrative stuff.
Three to four hours of focused work. Just think what you could accomplish if you spent that much time on your main priority, your life’s work.
I figure if I even spend half that much time — 2 focused hours of writing every day — I’ll accomplish more in 2016 than I managed to do this year.
You can do that too. And you need to, because life is short, and it’s the only chance we have.
So what are YOU going to do in 2016? I’d love to hear your plan.
But be warned: I WILL hold you accountable.
I hope you had a wonderful New Year’s Eve, wherever you are. And that 2016 is good to ya.