2015 Intention Review: A Letter to Myself


new year's resolutions, future letter to yourself, 2015 resolutionsI recently shared my 2016 future letter to myself, and now I’m sharing the outcomes of my 2015 annual letter. How much “came true”?Similar to previous years, in my 2015 letter, I anticipated a lot of the emotions and experiences — positive and negative — of a year of much activity and transition, focusing on all the wonderful travel opportunities we had during our tour in Afghanistan (including the Maldives; Thailand, Laos & Cambodia; the Philippines; Australia, New Zealand & Singapore; and London), along with the transition of leaving Afghanistan and moving to JordanA lot happened in 2015 that I didn’t expect.So how did I do? Just under two-thirds of the statements I made came true. I made 31 total statements in my letter. Of these, 20 were true or mostly true and 11 were false. My “success rate” is about 65 percent — not as high as 2014 or 2013.I admittedly was a bit disappointed, but after looking more closely at what I didn’t “achieve” or correctly predict, about half the statements were out of my control or just not applicable due to the turn of events life took. As I wrote in my 2014 intention review:

[T]he point isn’t to get a “perfect score” or beat myself up about the things I didn’t get done. It’s to set some achievable goals to help me be my best self — as an individual, a wife, a friend, a daughter/in-law, a writer, etc. — and yes, to hold myself somewhat accountable to those goals.

I’ll start with the untrue statements first. I always fall short of my health and fitness goals (i.e. to achieve and maintain a certain weight). Here are a couple more examples of false statements from my 2015 letter:

I made it a priority to appreciate our time in Afghanistan, despite the limitations, by focusing on the positive aspects of our tour: challenging and rewarding work experiences, development of good friendships, and the opportunity to focus on personal growth.

Upon our arrival to Jordan, I managed the transition well even without an established routine, language skills or a job already in place.

I did not think about finding a job until after we departed Afghanistan, and I did not stress out about finding one even after we arrived to Jordan.

I read more books in 2015 than in 2014, and joined a book club in Jordan.

I would like to say that first statement is entirely true, but realistically, I had a pretty negative outlook while we were in Afghanistan (minus all the vacations). It was a tough place to be and I’m glad I’m not there anymore. That’s the truth. We got to go on six awesome vacations, my job there helped me get the job I have now and we saved a lot of money. But in terms of appreciating my life for what it was, day to day, at the present time, I didn’t really do that. I was always focused on other things. It helped get me through the year, but not exactly for the reasons I stated in my letter.Some of those statements — along with a couple others — ended up being untrue because I applied for and was offered a job in Jordan prior to our departing Afghanistan. I also did something I had not anticipated at the end of 2014: I started a graduate school program. Those two things ended up changing the way my transition to Jordan went, along with how I’ve spent my time thus far while here. (Like, I am not taking writing or photography classes or exploring the possibility of fitness instructor certification — statements I had included in my letter.)Now let’s take a look at what came true. Here are some examples:

I resumed and continued the practice of writing down three positive things that happened each day.

In Kabul, I continued my established workout routine, including teaching spinning classes once a week, attending regular yoga classes and going to the gym.

Kail and I have enjoyed making Jordan our new home, visiting new places in Amman and elsewhere in the country …

Kail and I celebrated three years of marriage in 2015.

My blog turned three and I continued posting regularly — at least three times per week — throughout the year.

I completed my Afghanistan scrapbook and started my Project Life: Jordan scrapbook.

As we have done in previous years, Kail and I read through my 2015 letter together and discussed it. Our marriage is always a primary focus of my letters so it’s a good way to check in and see how things are going.It was interesting to read my letter and recall what was going through my head at the time. For example, I consciously tried to de-prioritize work and career issues, for better or worse, but in reality I’ve found that work takes up a majority of my time and energy these days. I also had not considered graduate school as a possibility, but here I am. I wonder what 2016 has in store …What were the results of your 2015 annual letter/New Year’s resolutions?

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

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