Blog Post

Looking Forward


2018 has come and gone. And we’re on a new year once again. This is another opportunity for a new beginning and new goals to aspire for. For most of us, the new year brings the promise of a restart or reboot. We can start with a clean slate. The new year also brings us a more positive perspective and that confident mindset that thrusts us into yet unfamiliar territory. And, so, the new year also brings us excitement.

I started the past year with big, bold goals. It was anchored to my personal theme of “Career Year”. It’s a personal tradition that I choose a “word” (or mantra) for the year. It was Kaizen (continuous improvement) for 2017 and Daitan’na (??? ) which means audacious, daring or bold for 2018.

For 2019, my chosen word is Zanshin ( ?? ). It is a state of total awareness.

Wikipedia illustrates the concept clearer:

“In kyudozanshin means the body posture after the loosing of an arrow; the posture is intended to reflect the higher meaning of zanshin, which is a mental aspect maintained before, during, and after an action.

In karatezanshin is the state of total awareness. It means being aware of one’s surroundings and enemies while being prepared to react.”

I have no enemies to speak of. The “enemies” referenced in the Wiki does not apply to me. For me, the concept applies to everything that I do – career, professional, personal, family, work, relationships, etc.

And so, my theme for this year, in conjunction with the “word”, zanshin, is Awareness – just being aware of my actions and how they affect my surroundings so I know what are the best options on how to react. Making adjustments is the key.

Like I said, this applies to everything that I do. One of the biggest goals I had last year was technical learning. I’d like to say that I tried everything I could to learn given the situation. But I wasn’t able to go deeper than I thought I could. As they say, ” Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Kaizen has been beneficial to me on both professional and personal fronts. It has always been a part of my personal methods of improvement – that small but continuous improvement goes a long way. I have two particular systems that I integrate to my life this new year: Bullet Journal and Miracle Morning. If you’re into self-improvement stuff, I recommend these two.

Bullet Journal

It’s analog journal/planner/task manager/notebook/anything you want it to be. It’s a flexible system. Central to the system is the concept of Rapid Logging – dump everything in your brain into the page as quickly as you have them. Daily To-Do’s, Events, Notes, etc go to your Daily Log. Any future event such as appointments, birthdays, and any dated item that will happen in the future go to the Future log. The Monthly Log includes an overview of your month and tasks or events to accomplish for the month. You can have custom Collections that contain a list of books you want to read, grocery list, project to-do’s, etc.

Another nice idea built-in into the system is the concept of Migration – simply migrating undone tasks or any types of a list from one Daily Log to another or one month to another depending on the case. Threading holds the pages together although they might be on different part of your notebook.

The Index holds the system together. You don’t want to lose track of the stuff you put in the journal. You want to find that grandma’s recipe easily when you need it. I’ve always been a notebook guy – the analog type. I have multiple notebooks for different topics and lists. Bullet Journal integrates all these into one manageable system.

Miracle Morning

I am a nocturnal being. I’ve never been an early riser all my life. This changes with the Miracle Morning. Miracle Morning is a six-step routine or program that enables the practitioner to adopt healthy mental and productive states and well-being. It is based on the concept of habit stacking.

The Six-Step Routine is condensed into the acronym – SAVERS. Silence takes you to a moment of meditation or prayer. Mental priming comes easy with Affirmation. You can get in tune with your goals and wishes by Visualization. Exercise gets your blood pumped. You can use your Reading time for studying hard concepts or things that are beneficial to you. And, finally, Scriblingwhich is a fancy term for journalling.

I will incorporate systems or methods into my self-improvement system as I see fit and adjust along the way. The Bullet Journal helps me track and measure my progress in achieving my goals. I’ve got plenty of personal and professional goals this year! The Miracle Morning turns me upside down. This is something I’ve never done before. Many of the successful figures I admire are morning people. Plus, I realize that learning technical stuff is hard after most of my willpower is exhausted throughout the day.

That said, I think much of the challenges I’ve encountered during my learning phases is that I have not learned to prioritize my learning. I would delay my reading time of technical books later in the day towards my bedtime – when I am already tired and just ready to go to bed. It didn’t work. Now, that will change.

Speaking of changes, I’ve avoided non-tech posts here in my blog since the beginning. That will change as well. I used to blog about Productivity and GTD hacks in a different blog. I want to incorporate that here. It will still be true to the original theme of this blog: SQL, Code, Coffee, etc. I will have more of that Coffee and etc. part.

This new year brings us new promises and hopes of a brighter days ahead. Few integral changes can only put us to a position where we can succeed.

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