A new year beckons us! What will 2015 hold in store for you and your family? What are you looking forward to or maybe even dreading? What did you learn from this last year?

wisdom-2The start of a new year gives a natural opportunity to appraise how the last year has gone and make preparations for the months that lie ahead.

Søren Kierkegaard has a helpful quote that says, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.”

Indeed those who do not learn from the past are invariably doomed to repeat the same mistakes or find themselves getting stuck in their relationships or other areas of their life. It is so easy to reach a lid to your potential. As someone has said, there is a world of difference between 30 years of experience and 1 year of experience repeated 30 times!

There is also  a real danger of continually living in the past and what might have been. The so called ‘if only ____’ syndrome (you fill in the blank). What I think is much more helpful is the U.S. Army evaluation system:

#1 Acknowledge what happened.
#2 Learn from the experience.
#3 Adjust your behaviour accordingly.
So with that in mind how was this last year for you? What are the lessons you learnt that you are going to aim to move forward with in 2015?

I am grateful to Michael Hyatt for the following questions to appraise 2014 and look ahead to 2015. He has a very helpful programme called Your Best Year Ever which you can access here.

I will also share my answers with you to help you think through your thoughts about 2014. I would strongly encourage you to also write down your own answers and not just keep them in your head. As we write, our thoughts begin to disentangle themselves and bring clarity in a way that is otherwise just not possible.
As I share the questions below I have added some of my own reflections to help you think through your own experiences. If you want more clarification from me feel free to ask in the comments section below. My hope for you as I indulge myself in this way publicly is that you will be prompted to have insights that will put you in a stronger positions for whatever this new year has in store for you.

So here goes!

1. If the last year of your life were a movie what genre would it be?
Would it, for example, be an adventure, a comedy of errors, a romance or a suspense mystery?
For me it was a thriller with a lot of surprise and tension.
Going through my daily journal form this last year, I noticed that as a family we started 2014 watching  on DVD the funeral service of a dear friend Caroline Lonas who had died in the United States in 2013. In many ways that did set the tone for the rest of  the year. The biggest event was the sudden unexpected death of my close friend Bunty on 17 March. There were also 3 other unexpected funerals that I attended. However, on the positive side there were unexpected trips to India, France and the United States with family and on my own that I did not anticipate at the start of the year! They were a complete surprise and a wonderful way to renew and build friendships.


2. What were the two or three major themes that kept recurring throughout the year?
– The pain and finality of death. Also the recurring question of what legacy am I going to leave?
– I had opportunities to train in the GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology of David Allen and was able to do 3 practice workshops with a variety of different charitable organisations.
– I have been developing material on managing stress and promoting resilience amongst doctors.
– I had the privilege of meeting various family members and friends after a long gap. In some cases decades.
3. What did you accomplish this year you are most proud of?
– I was able to use Holosync technology to deepen my prayer life.
– Being able to celebrate my Dad’s 80th birthday and my parents 50th wedding anniversary.
– The opportuntity to bring training on managing stress and promoting resilIence to a wide variety of people. (Look out for blog posts on this in 2015!)
– Restarting racquet sports with my son Rohan and doing treadmill exercises as a part of my exercise routine.
– Although not much to do with me it was great to see two of my daughters do well in their exams. My eldest daughter has a great blog (see here).
4. What did you feel you could have been acknowledged for but weren’t?
– That I have been able more consistently to get my personal and work emails down to zero.
– Keeping this blog going every week!
– Re-starting squash and utilising an exercise machine on a regular basis.
– Using relaxation music to sleep on night flights and being able to get to work relatively seemlesly.
5. What disappointments or regrets did you experience ths last year?
– The pain and grief of the loss of a close friend; seeing friends lose their young child and the passing away of two uncles.
– Not being able to get podcasting started, but I appreciate that significant progress has been made to launch in 2015.
6. What was missing from this last year as you look back?
– I did a lot on my own and would love to find ways to involve my family more.
– I need to find more areas of overlap with my wife Sally.
7. What were the major life lessons you learnt from this last year?
Life is fragile and everyday is a gift to treasure.
You can’t control what will happen, but you can choose your attitude.
Your life is like a movie and an individual scene does not determine the final outcome.
The only truly urgent things are health and relationships.
Many of my apparent limitations are just in my mind.
With new endeavours it is best to start slowly and gradually increase commitment over time.
Plans can appear useless, but planning is indispensable.
Those are some of my reflections on this last year.
You can also see the answers to my questions from 2013 here.
In terms of what I shared last year I have continued to maintain my daily Bible reading plan, but my weight has stayed at the same level. I suppose I am thankful that it has not actually gone up! I am going to have to more resolutely apply the 5 keys (that are mentioned in those posts) more diligently.
I have to confess in the area of weight control I did not do so!
In July 2011 I weighed 76kg. By January 2013 I was 72kg, still 72kg in December 2013 and by December 2014 in spite of increased exercise I am 73kg! I am still some way off my intended goal to reach 66kg – but this is a new year! The phrase I am reflecting on in this area is that if I do what I’ve always done then I will get what I have always got. So what am I going to do differently this coming year? What kind of external structure can I bring in to make progress?
How about you? What questions or issues resonate with you? It would be great to have your thought and comments as we move forward into a new year.