I shared my 2014 Future Letter to Myself last week, and now that 2013 is fully over, I wanted to share the “results” of my 2013 annual letter. I was a little nervous about opening my letter — which I had handwritten on five pages of our nice Fernando Llort stationary, sealed in an envelope and locked in our safe — because to be honest, I wasn’t sure how “well” I did in terms of sticking to the goals I had laid out for myself.Some of the content of my letter is easier to measure than others: I either did or didn’t lose a certain amount of weight or travel to certain places. Others, not so much — particularly the statements having to do with managing stress, changing certain attitudes/outlooks and other behavioral habits.However, once I reread my letter, I was pleasantly surprised: More than three-quarters of the statements I made came true.I made 61 total statements in my letter. Of these, 31 were true, 13 were mostly true, 13 were false and 4 were not really measurable. Of the false statements, five were professional goals that did not come true because of the change in my employment situation (leaving the NGO for my current job at the embassy).So while roughly half of my statements were completely true, if I include the mostly true statements and subtract the five career-related false statements, my success rate is about 79 percent. Not too shabby.Even when I consider the other false statements, I don’t see “failures.” Two of the false statements relate to a trip that did not happen last year (but is still pending for this year). As for the others — whether they relate to as-yet unmet health and fitness goals, relationships or how I react to challenges — they serve as reminders that some things aren’t easily crossed off a list and forgotten about; they are lifelong goals that need constant attention and work.Many of my statements — true and false — have to do with marriage, relationships and other personal matters that I don’t feel comfortable sharing word for word here on my blog. Here are a couple examples of false statements from my 2013 annual letter:
Kail and I also finally took our “honeymoon” during R&R and visited Seattle, Portland, California wine country and San Francisco …I continued my group runs before work even after my running buddy left post.I was able to get to my ideal weight, my pre-wedding weight …I also wrote several guest blog posts for travel sites.
Now, on to the good stuff. What came true? Here’s a sample.
Kail and I celebrated a year — and then some — of marriage and have continued to grow together as a couple.We have enjoyed hosting many visitors in El Salvador.Through workplace and social interactions along with lessons at the embassy and self-study, I have achieved a solid level of Spanish fluency.Although we learned of our onward assignment, I am trying to stay in the moment and appreciate all that El Salvador has to offer. I am making an effort to learn about our new post and country, but I do not let that distract me from life in El Salvador.Despite a busy work and travel schedule — as well as social activities and other commitments such as running — I continued posting to my blog at least three times per week.
You might be wondering what I consider “mostly true” or “immeasurable.” There were some statements having to do with my outlook and attitude that I know for a fact have fluctuated wildly throughout the year. For example:
I remain relaxed and appreciative of all my time and responsibilities. I feel fulfilled but not overcommitted, productive but not burdened and busy not but burned out.
When I was re-reading my letter recently, I thought, Yeah, that’s probably true. But then I thought back to earlier times this year when I was stressed out about work and other things and I know I didn’t always have such a zen attitude.My letter also includes immeasurable statements like, “This is something I hope to hold onto in 2014 and beyond,” referring to the earlier true statement about my level of Spanish fluency. Another mostly true statement: “In 2013, I traveled to much of Central America, including Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.”What were the results of your 2013 annual letter/New Year’s resolutions?