I 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 Jordan. A 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.
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?