2021: Year in Review


Welcome back everybody! It’s my favorite time of the year where we get the opportunity to reflect and be grateful for the year we’ve had. Overall, 2021 was a pretty great year; and it’s my pleasure to share it with you.

2021 Year in Review Framework

So what’s the science to performing a year in review? How do you make it broad, and deep, and meaningful and thoughtful? I believe the key to a great year in review is in the quality of the questions you ask yourself, as well as the depth of the introspection you carry out. 

Here are some of the key questions we’ll be exploring: 

  • What was the goal for the year? What was my resolution? 
  • What were my results? What did I achieve? 
  • How do I feel? Emotional check in? 
  • What were some of the highlights for the year? 
  • What did I learn? Any lessons, feedback or key experiences? 
  • What is the One Thing to take away for next year? A lesson, a thought to keep present? 

2021 Resolution

The mindset I set for 2021 was the phrase: Focus

  • To do few things; well done. 
  • To teach myself to relax and take it easy. 
  • To focus on the few things that matter.

The goals I set out for the year were: 

  • On the craft side, to complete the Salesforce Certified Technical Architect (CTA).
  • On the health side, to exercise 3 to 4 times per week.
  • On the wealth side, to save 60% of my income. (stretch goal)
  • On the home side, to continue building a home with Vickie. (home renovations)
  • On the mind side, to stop tracking, logging, counting and measuring my daily activities.

2021 Review

What were my key results for the year? 

  • 100% of my savings goal. Saved 64% of my income. 
  • 63% of my craft goal. Completed 5 out of 8  Salesforce CTA certifications.
  • 50% of my health goal. Worked out twice a week for a total of 95 workouts.

2021 Emotional Check In

And how do I feel? Is it happy, sad, proud, disappointed, thrilled? 

  • I feel content with the overall results.
  • I feel a bit disappointed I didn’t set or pursue a BHAG. Not too bad, just a feeling.
  • I feel proud I could achieve both my savings & renovating my home goals in parallel.

Most importantly, I feel grateful for the time I’ve been able to step back, relax, explore and take it easy. This year I’ve seen TV Shows and played video games. I’ve sat back to listen to a music album while doing nothing. I’ve afforded myself empty space to explore new interests or even spend time; uncommitted to any specific goal or purpose. 

2021 Highlights

What were some of the highlights for the year? 

Tribe Time was great! This year I shared a lot more time with family and friends, both special and awesome.

  • Hosted the Youngs; Clay, Akiko, Grace, Matt
  • Hosted the Kutobs; Kaze, Dahlia, Layan, Mo, Dareen
  • Reconnected with old local friends; video calls with distant friends
  • Sunday Fundays with the Nephew (Teaching him to swim and shoot 3 pointers)
  • Book Club with awesome peeps
  • Coffee club con los hermanos

And to top it off, a couple local trips and outdoor adventures!

  • 2x trips to Boquete
  • 1x trip to Bocas del Toro
  • 1x Beach Day at Sea Cliff
  • 1x Beach Day at Rio Mar
  • 1x camping at San Blas Islands
  • 1x surfing at Santa Catalina

And last but not least… this year I tried to learn to Skateboard!

I went out, bought a skateboard and tried to learn the basics; just youtube videos and practice. From throwing an olly, to dropping on a miniramp; the kick-turns, the rock’n’rolls, the rock-to-fakie.. It’s been a fun time.

2021 Retrospective / Key Lessons

What did I learn? Any lessons, feedback or key experiences? 

When it comes to tribe…Make Time

  • As we get older, circles shrink. People get busy, they build families. It’s the way of life. I think it’s important to identify the key relationships in your life, make and find a way  to consistently dedicate time to them. Some of the best moments this year came from sharing with my wife, brother, nephew, and a handful of friends. I am grateful for the visitors from out of town. 

When it comes to wealth… Play the Long Game.

  • Don’t get lost in get rich quick schemes. Don’t check the stock market everyday. None of it!
  • Sustainable wealth is built over time through boring, disciplined actions: 
    • Paying yourself first
    • Living within your means
    • Betting on the overall market, not the players. (ETFs and Index Funds)
    • Time in the market beats timing the market.
    • Being patient. Knowing that compounding takes time.
    • Staying Inward Focused. Not comparing yourself to others.

When it comes to health… Start Today.

  • There really is no better way to put it. No health resolutions, no future plans to join a gym. 
  • Do not postpone eating right, drinking less, sleeping well, exercising often.
  • The quality of everything else depends on your physical and mental health.

When it comes to craft… Commit to Quality.

  • I keep coming back to this. Do things, do anything, to the best of your abilities.
  • Build a reputation for excellence.
  • Do work that is both inspiring and monumental.
  • Show care. Demonstrate passion. Infuse ambition. 
  • Allow for iteration. Optimize for feedback.
  • There is a subtle difference between good, great and excellent. 
  • Aim for Excellent. Strive for World Class.

When it comes to spirit… Slack brings Serendipity

  • This year I gave myself slack, I cut myself some slack.
  • Slack allows you to step back from Busy.
  • Slack allows you to wander, dabble, explore.
  • Slack creates capacity or freedom to go “all-in” when the time is right.

2021 The “One” Thing

What is the One Thing to take away for next year? A lesson, a thought to keep present? 

The goal isn’t to live a perfect life. No such thing; pipe dream.

The goal is to live a life with intention.

To be deliberate in our actions, and congruent with our beliefs. Intention is personal. Intention is internal. Intention stems from thoughtful introspection and persevering through the cloudy, fogge middle. Intention is purposeful. And intention matters. 

Living with intention is probably one of the few things that matter.

2021 Tally!

Some other tallies of 2021…

  • 169 Hangouts with Family or Friends
  • 95 Workouts
  • 26+ training sessions delivered at work 
  • 16 Skateboard session
  • 15 Books read
  • 14 Essays written
  • 6 Blog posts
  • 4 Uof T Engineering Alumni Mentorship Panel and Events
  • 1 Heck of a year!

2021 Gratitude

For those of you that know me personally, you know this essay post is one of my favorite things to do every year. I share it with the goal that it might inspire one or many of you to carry out your own personal reflections, notice what you’re grateful for and build a sense of clarity and purpose in your lives.

If you’ve read, enjoyed or even followed these posts throughout the years, I just want to say… I am grateful to all of those who have made this year such a special one, and am glad I can continue to share these reflections with you: 


And last but not least … my favorite part of these posts… !


One thought on “2021: Year in Review

  1. Pingback: 2022: Year in Review | Beto's Blog

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