My Review of 2011 (and Moving On To 2012!)

End of 2011 Review

I’m excited, guys.

I’m excited because 2012 is coming, and it’s less than 24 hours before that becomes reality (it’s Dec 31 as I’m writing this). I’m excited because I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and I can’t imagine what’s going to come next. I’m excited because I feel like my life has just started, and I’m discovering something new about myself and what it means to live my richest life every day. I’m excited because I’ve big hopes and dreams for 2012, and I can’t wait to see them unfold in the new year.

But first off, here’s my annual review for the year. Because so many things have happened in my life this year, I’m going to do a quick recap by way of a timeline first. This will be followed by a list of 2011 accomplishments I’m most proud of. After which I’ll share my top lessons learned this year, before I end off with my plans for the big year of 2012 ahead.

2011 in a Nutshell

If you’ve been following my blog and Facebook closely, the stuff below wouldn’t be news to you. Here is a summary of what I’ve been up to this year:

  • Jan – Went on a 21-day healthy living plan (via 21DHL), where I did my third raw food trial since 2009
  • Feb – Went on a 21-day water fast and reached my lowest weight ever (partly due to the fast, partly due to proper refeeding post-fast) for the first time since 10 years ago. I’ve since regained some weight since, which I’m happy with as I felt my previous weight was too low.
  • Feb-Apr – Began to let go of 1-1 in-person coaching clients and speaking engagements in Singapore, so I’m no longer bound to Singapore for my business.
  • Jun – Achieved final revelations which helped me become at peace with my relationship with my parents.
  • Jun – Invited to Amsterdam, Holland for a speaking engagement. Hence began my travels around the world.
  • Jun 25 – Celebrated my 27th birthday away from home. 🙂
  • Jun-Aug – Traveled around West Europe, namely Holland, Germany, France (Paris). Passed by Belgium while traveling from Paris back to Amsterdam. Stayed with different readers and coaching clients during my travels, thanks to their immense generosity. Met many great people and formed some highly meaningful friendships.
  • Aug – Permanently removed my 1-1 coaching service from my business, so I can focus on high leverage mediums, such as writing articles and running online courses/challenges
  • Aug-Nov – Stayed in London for 3 months. Visited Cambridge; Had a 4-day long trip in Ibiza, Spain as part of a work arrangement. Met *a lot* of new people and made very meaningful friendships during my stay. Had 2 amazing PE readers meet-ups. ♥
  • Nov – Was invited to speak at prestigious Wharton Business School (in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) for their annual marketing conference. As a result, I cut short my London stay and flew to Philly on Nov 7, hence beginning my US travels.
  • Nov – Traveled around US East Coast, including Philadelphia, Washington DC, New York City and Boston (Dec).
  • Nov – Overcame my long-standing emotional eating issue.
  • Nov-Dec – Stayed in NYC for 2 months. Made many new, amazing friends. ♥ Held a NYC PE readers meet-up on New Year’s Eve (today!). Celebrated X’mas in beautiful NYC. Counting down to 2012 in NYC later tonight!

My Top 2011 Accomplishments

(in no specific order)

  1. Invitation to speak at Wharton (part of UPenn), which was a significant milestone to me. To speak at an Ivy League was an affirmation that I’m on the right track and PE is no longer just a blog or a website, but a recognized entity by big wigs.
  2. Reached 1 million page views / month milestone.
  3. Made many new amazing connections around the world. Feel like my social circle has significantly broadened, both in terms of diversity and number of people I know.
  4. Generated monthly earnings higher than my previous drawn salary back when I was in corporate. Successfully converted 100% of my business revenue to passive income – I no longer trade any of my time for money.
  5. Turned my business into a non-location bound model. Able to work from anywhere in the world now, literally.
  6. Started my world travels, starting with Holland, and spanning to West Europe, United Kingdom, and now United States. Finally ventured into the western part of the world, which I had not visited up till that point. Combed a good fraction of the world in the past 6 months. Visited the key places that have always been on my agenda, which are London and New York City. As a result of my travels, have crossed off quite a few things on my bucket list.
  7. Gained a significant amount of knowledge, insights (of different cultures, people, and the world) and (soft) skills as a result of my travels.
  8. Achieved my long-standing dream to live overseas for an extended period of time (6 months).
  9. Made a lot of incredible relationships, some of which are richer than any connections I had made up till that point. Some of them I consider as close as family. ♥ While #3 referred to new friends I’ve met, this point refers to the depth of relationships I’ve made.
  10. Addressed my emotional eating issue, which I had been struggling with for about half my life till then.

Reflections / Learnings of 2011

  1. Never modify my agenda for anyone else (because that will be to put pressure on the relationship/friendship, which is not fair to the other person or yourself). Focus on building my own agenda in life and becoming a better me. In time to come, I’ll meet others who share this same agenda, and we’ll soar and move each other forward.
  2. There are times when I’m too focused on my plans, that I forget the world right before me. It’s time to be more present to others around me, their needs, and support them where I’m able to.
  3. Trust my intuition – It will lead me to the right place.
  4. Everything I’ve ever wanted in life is out there. It’s matter of whether I want to go all out to get it. (Made even more concrete when I began traveling, which made me realize the world is truly boundless.)
  5. All my life, I’ve been honing and developing my logical mind, which is quite possibly at its sharpest state now. Moving forward though, further honing that isn’t going to bring me forward. It’s now time to develop the intuitive, inner side of me, after which everything will come full circle.
  6. Love myself, because self-love is the love that needs to happen before any other kind of love can take place.
  7. Every annoyance I have of the world reflects something not resolved in me.
  8. It’s okay to let go — in fact, it’s only by learning to let go that life happens.
  9. Kindness and Drive are qualities that draw me very strongly.
  10. Don’t expect others to give, because it’s not in my place to do so. Instead ask what I can give to others. (i.e. The trigger for 30BBM, Day 13: A Day of Emotional Generosity and How To Have More Best Friends in Life)

2012 – Year of Intuition

(Note #1: Am speeding up this post because I’m at Starbucks now (8:23pm) and they’re closing in 30 minutes, since it’s New Year’s Eve. Bummer! It’s okay – my laptop battery is dying soon, and I should be heading to my friend’s countdown party right about now anyway.)

(Note #2: I’ve written about the benefits of choosing a focus area for the year before. What I’m going to share below is my focus area for upcoming 2012. I recommend you to do the same too – read: Which Area Of Your Life Do You Want To Transform This Year?)

In the past 3 years, PE has evolved into a huge community – it is now the #1 community for people who are passionate about achieving excellence in life. From starting as a small blog on Dec 14 ’08, it is now more than just a blog – it is now an online platform for growth, where people can access nearly 400 high quality articles on growth, take part in organized monthly challenges and take action on personal goals, connected with like-minded people around the world via the forums, download free growth resources such as ebooks, wallpapers and manifestos, watch original videos on relevant growth topics, among many others.

This is why I renamed PE a couple months ago from The Personal Excellence Blog (TPEB) to just Personal Excellence (PE), because we are no longer just a blog. (Note that we are just known as PE today and NOT PEB nor TPEB, which some of you are still referring by. I’ve permanently dropped the words ‘the’ and ‘blog’ from our official site name since October. Read:  Announcing… All-New Personal Excellence [dot] Co!)

I’m very excited about 2012, because I have a lot of big plans and intentions for the next year (and years ahead). Moving forward, I intend to expand PE bigger than what it is today. The restructuring of the site in Oct this year to incorporate a whole new Challenges section, plus videos and manifestos section, plus the launch of the new domain PersonalExcellence.co earlier in Oct (and subsequent removal of CelestineChua.com – fellow bloggers who are still linking to the old domain on your blogs, please update your links!), are just the first of many new things to come. Some of my future plans include having a talkshow (at some point), releasing my first published book, expanding the reach of PE to 5, 10, 20, 100, 1000 times its current reach, among many others.

But most important of all, 2012 is going to be the first year where I’m not going to set any concrete goals. That’s right. As opposed to my previous approaches, this coming new year, I’m going to have a full-fledged experiment in living. For the first time in my life, I’m going to totally let myself be guided by my intuition. I’m going to lead every day of my life in the year based on what my heart guides me to do, and I’ll follow it as best as I can. And I’m going to see where it takes me from there.

This is not an experiment in laziness. For those who are lazy to work, please do not use this as an excuse not to set goals, because you know you’re just using this as a cop-out reason to skive. This is also not to jab the ideas I share on the site, because:

  1. They do work and still work marvelously in my life, and are in fact the very reasons why I’ve accomplished everything in my life to date
  2. I’m still going to be setting goals within specific, defined contexts, for example: Setting weight loss goal to lose XX weight.
  3. If anything, it is precisely because I have lived by goal setting/goal achievement so closely in the past few years of my life that I feel I can now benefit from pursuing my intuition 100%, because goal setting has already been ingrained it into my subconsciousness, and as such is an innate tool I utilize without having to make a conscious effort to do so. So what I’m doing here is really a natural step forward in using the goal setting route, and not a step backward or a resistance of goal setting as a tool.

By not setting goals, what I’m referring to is not setting myself with a specific list of things to do by X date, and not living my life on pre-intended schedule of having to do X things in X week or X month. I’m referring to waking up every day, with the absolute full intention to live my life to the fullest, to do whatever is necessary to excel and to accomplish as many things as I can with my life, and living my life based on that intention.

I already have a broad level direction of things I want to achieve/do in the future (as I shared above, with the talkshow plans etc), and I already know they will come to fruition as long as I take the necessary steps. Just that instead of using the same approach as I’ve done in the past (i.e. the logical, set X goal, do step A, step B, step C, all the way to step Z route), this time I’m going to simply follow my intuition and see how it’s going to guide me there.

In a way it’s like letting go of the steering wheel in my life (which I’ve been holding pretty tightly on in the past), holding it gently, continuing to maneuver the car in the background using my knowledge of driving (i.e. goal setting), putting faith in the universe, and seeing where it’s going to take me. It’s going to be quite interesting, to say the least.

In all honesty, I’ve sort of been doing this, where my travels are concerned, since I started traveling June. I started off my trip with little idea of what I’m going to do in the next 1-2 months, and simply allowed the trip to create itself from there. And hence created an almost 7-month long adventure of a ride so far, bringing me from Holland, to Germany, to France, to London, to Cambridge, to Spain, to Philadelphia, to Washington DC, to Boston, to NYC. 😀 Today, I’m traveling with little to no idea what I’m even going to do next week, and I’m really just going with the flow here and letting things manifest themselves. And boy has it been an amazing ride.

Starting first Jan (tomorrow), I’m going to start living my year of 2012 on my intuition. If there’s any one big goal I want to accomplish in 2012, it’s to develop my intuition and be connected with it on full throttle (refer to #3 and #5 on my reflections for 2011 above). Making 2012 my year of intuition is definitely going to help in that.

That’s it guys. Happy New Year 2012 to all of you, and here’s to our best year ever ahead! 😀

(PS: Those who have not joined Live a Healthier Life in 21 Days Jan 2012 challenge, be sure to do so now! Signing up is completely free and you have less than 24 hours to sign up!)