• I Am Sam.

Day 365 into discovering Sam

I made it!

I have officially survived a whole year abroad. It has been amazing. I have learned so much in this one year than I have any other year in my life. I am a big believer of evaluating oneself to understand how one can improve. Self development and all that. So I did a little research and looked for different models like the SWOT (S-strengths, W-weaknesses, O-opportunities, T-threats) analysis for me to reflect and look back at the year. I found this great one by Blaz Kos that I think would help anyone (here's the link: https://agileleanlife.com/year-in-review/) that is looking to evaluate their past year, and set goals for the next one.

I highly recommend people take the time to reflect on themselves every now and then. It can be easy to get lost with events and situations that occur on our day to day lives, and sometimes taking a break and taking a step back to look at where you are can help relieve some stress. Coming up to this one year mark, I felt overwhelmed. I kept questioning the decisions I had made over the past year. Did I save enough? Could I have saved more if I didn't travel as much? Was I making the right decisions? Have I really accomplished anything? It made me spiral down a dark hole of sadness. I wasn't sure if I had really grown at all.

The Life Satisfaction Chart by Blaz Kos made me realise that I have changed. I have accomplished so much in the last year and my satisfaction rate for majority of my core life areas have improved significantly. I think sometimes we expect change and results to be immediate and that feeling can overshadow any actual progress that we've made. When I rated my core life areas again for how I'm feeling at this moment, I realised I am happy with where I am. I may not have done everything I wanted to do this year, but I have made great progress, and it's like I've always said: progress not perfection.

Here's a little peak into how my year went:

Highlights for the year:

  • I traveled to three different continents (Asia, Europe, Australia), and seven different countries (Iraq, UAE, England, Scotland, Spain, New Zealand, Thailand)

  • I went on my first official solo trip (England, Scotland, Spain), and then went on my second (New Zealand)!

  • I met up with childhood friends that I haven't seen for years (met up with Venla 18 years later, and Zach 13 years later)!

Biggest accomplishments:

  • My fitness lifestyle has improved significantly. I can finally say I'm pretty consistent with working out, and I'm incredibly proud of myself for finally making it part of my routine.

  • I'm earning more than ever before. More money, more freedom, and it has allowed me to travel more than ever before too!

Biggest failures:

  • I still have no investments (though if we're completely honest, I wasn't really expecting to have any during this first year since I had made a promise to myself that I would let go a bit and treat myself), but this is definitely something I'm going to prioritise on in the upcoming year.

Lessons I've learned:

  • You come FIRST. You're the only person that can live your life. It's about time you decide on things for yourself. Take care of yourself. Do what will make you happy. No one else can tell you how you feel, or what you should do because no one knows you better than you.

  • Let go of the negativity. It really isn't worth holding on to. Cut the negative people out.

  • Don't react to your emotions, rather, observe, calculate, then react. Sometimes our emotions can cloud our judgement. One thing I have gained a lot of this year is patience. Rather than reacting to a certain situation straight away, let your emotions subside, analyse the situation, then react to it. You'll find yourself handling things differently.

One of the main takeaways I've gotten from this year is to not be so hard on myself. Life is a struggle. I know I'm doing the best I can. Sometimes, I need to learn to be patient with myself. Results are never really immediate. Some things take time, and when you're consistently trying to be good, eventually the hard work will pay off. I need to learn to forgive myself for any mistakes I've made along the way, and most importantly, I need to remember that I'm doing okay. I need to let myself be happy, and stop with the self-sabotage.

I hope this might help some of you that want to also reflect, and review how your year has gone. You can do this any time you feel you need to. I think this would be a great tool for those that believe in making New Year's resolutions as well. Feel free to shoot me a message or an email if you want to share accomplishments or failures. Like I said, life is a struggle, and to go far, it's easier to go together.

My year in pictures: