I want to say 2023 was crazy busy, but then I think, isn’t that how it goes every year?
I mean, every year’s got its ups and downs, good times and tough moments, and a whole bunch of stuff in between, right?
For those of you who may not know, I’ve been writing an annual Year In Review for eight years – with a break last year. I did write one last year, but it was solely focused on my business. I was in the midst of a period of deep introspection, during which I lacked the energy and motivation to craft the kind of Year in Review I typically do.
But I missed it so much.
These Year in Reviews serve as more than just introspection for me, they’re a profound reflection on how I want to intentionally shape my life and so much more.
- They help me spark conversations with so-many-people (old and new). In fact, when I didn’t publish a Year in Review last year, a lot of friends reached out saying why there was no Year in Review.
- In this world of AI generated content and short form content, this is the only piece of blog writing that I actually want to preserve like the old days of blogging. Sit down in the morning with a coffee and write my heart out. There are no business goals attached to it, there are no timeline pressures – I’m writing it because it makes me happy.
- These year-in-reviews keep me excited about my life. They help me remember the good times, how I bounced back from the tough stuff, and how I made it through those messy in-between times. Life isn’t about avoiding failures, it’s about swiftly bouncing back after a setback.
- These reviews are all about self-comparison, me versus me, rather than me versus social media or others. It’s the most meaningful form of self-assessment.
- They’ve helped me evolve as a person. You can read my previous ones to see how I’ve evolved.
- I get to share what I’ve learned and hopefully inspire others to live their best lives.
I could go on with more reasons, but I’ll stop here. Bottom line, I missed it, and I’m not planning to skip a year again.
So how did I do in 2023?
I managed around 125 workouts in 2023, which translates to roughly two to three days of workout per week. It didn’t start too strong, though. At the beginning of the year, I was struggling to find time for workouts, or sometimes not working out at all.
However, I picked up the pace in the second half of 2023. If we focus on the last six months, I averaged about three to four days a week, which I’m fairly pleased with. Progress can be slow, but it’s progress, right?
So, how did I manage to turn things around? Here’s what helped:
- Filling my instagram feed with 100+ fitness influencers. I filled my Instagram feed with motivation by following over 100 fitness influencers. Those daily motivation reels they post? They’re like a personal trainer in my pocket, always reminding me not to slack off. Every time I opened the app, there was a post waiting to inspire me to get moving.
- Prioritised strength training over cardio. I used to hate HIIT cardio workouts, especially those intense challenges like 100 burpees or sprawlees. So, I decided to prioritize strength training instead. It made my workouts more enjoyable and effective. And I’ve heard it enough that we need to preserve our muscle mass as we age.
- Any workout is a good workout. On days when I couldn’t stick to my regular routine, I’d go for a swim in the summers or a run in the winters, just to keep active.
- Long-term mindset. One major mindset shift was viewing exercise as a means to age gracefully, not just as a tool for weight loss or a toned body. I want to be in my best shape when I’m 70, to lead an independent and fulfilling life.
- Having conversations with fit people also played a role. I started noticing folks (my friends, cousins, work colleagues etc.) who were busier than me, yet still managed to prioritize their health. I thought, “If they can do it, so can I.” It’s incredible how surrounding yourself with motivated folks can rub off on you.
- Joined a gym within 2 mins walking distance. I joined a gym that’s conveniently close to my house. This eliminated the hassle of driving long distances or dealing with traffic or parking. Now, my workouts are quick (usually lasting just 30 to 60 minutes) and I can squeeze them into my routine easily.
Now, let’s talk about my eating habits. They were mostly on track this year. I focused on protein sources, eating less sugar, not drinking and avoiding eating out often.
Here’s what helped:
- When you’re making plans with friends, try to think beyond restaurant outings. It’s a great way to avoid eating out too often. Especially during the winter months, I’ve started suggesting things like picnics, farmers’ markets, or even music festivals as alternative socializing options. And in the summer, meeting up for coffee instead of a full meal can be a good choice. If unavoidable, try to have about 80% of my meal at home before meeting them, so I don’t end up overindulging at the restaurant.
- If I’m going out for my own chores, always pack some food based on how long I’ll be out. For example, this year, when we were renovating our house, I had to make multiple day-long visits to the site. So, I’d pack fruits, lunch, and even some mid-meal snacks. I’d keep them in a bag with an ice pack to make sure nothing went bad. We also had a lot of hospital visits this year, and carrying my own food made those trips much easier to manage in terms of nutrition.
- Try to detach my emotions from food. I know, it’s not easy, but it’s so worth it. Take, for instance, the urge to have dessert right after a restaurant meal. I started asking myself, “What’s triggering this craving?” The same goes for late-night snacking while watching Netflix or ordering my favorite burger. Understanding the triggers behind these food choices has really helped me build a healthier, long-term relationship with what I eat. It’s all about being mindful and making conscious choices.
Let’s talk mental health.
This year, like every other, had its fair share of ups and downs. I’ve been working hard on staying in the present and not letting the future stress me out or getting too caught up in the past.
So I found a practical way to tackle it.
Worrying about the future can really ramp up anxiety and overwhelm you. We start thinking about all the worst-case scenarios in everything. To counter that, I ask myself, “What if everything goes as planned? What if the best-case scenario happens?” And surprisingly, most of the time, it’s the best-case scenario that actually happens, and it leaves me feeling super grateful.
Now, about that past… Nostalgia can be a tricky thing. We tend to romanticize it, remembering all the good stuff and conveniently forgetting the bad parts. But if you really stop and think about it, the past had its ups and downs too. It’s like we’re comparing the highlight reel of the past to the full experience of the present, and that’s just not a fair comparison.
It’s all about staying in the here and now, and it’s made a world of difference for me.
I gave Buddhism a shot this year, although I wasn’t the most disciplined practitioner, to be honest. But one thing I took away from it is that the power to change lies within ourselves.
I can safely say I’m not an atheist anymore. I’ve started believing in some higher power, whether it’s within me or somewhere else. This newfound spirituality has brought an abundance of positivity, happiness, and best-case scenarios into my life, and I’m incredibly grateful for it.
My spiritual journey this year might not have been a straight path, and I couldn’t continue with Buddhism, but I’ve learned a lot, and I’m genuinely glad I explored it.
I started the year doing my own thing and building multiple income streams including consulting, blogging, vlogging and creating digital products. I ended the year by joining Storylane as their new Head of Marketing.
First off, consulting was a big part of my year. I managed to land some amazing clients, and surpassed my revenue targets for 2023 as a solopreneur, so I’m pretty happy about it.
I also learned a ton about business development as a consultant. Consulting isn’t just about doing the work, it’s also about selling yourself, which can get a bit tiresome after a while. Out of your 40 hours a week, you’ve got to spend atleast 1/4th of that time doing business development which leaves you with just 30 hours a week to do actual “work” for clients.
Ideally, I’d love for clients to come to me inbound all the time, but that’s usually never the case. So, here what I did to get clients:
- I created content on LinkedIn
- Offered free consultation calls with SaaS founders
- Wrote SEO blogs to drive inbound leads
- Did cold outreach
- Tapped into past connections to build my client pipeline.
Below is my total LinkedIn post impressions for 2023. Not a whole lot, but I keep saying again and again:
quality > quantity
I reached the folks I needed to reach to generate a healthy pipeline of clients for myself.
All of these channels got clients for me, but I got my largest client of the year from SEO so I’ll give the award to that.
One of those client calls was with a company called Storylane (my current employer). In 2023, they tripled their revenue, 5x their customers and acquired logos like Gong, Clari, Nasdaq, CBInsights, Nutanix etc. They wanted to hire me as their first Head of Marketing.
This was too good of an opportunity to pass up, so I took it. Met the whole team in Goa!
I can’t help but feel blessed and grateful for the abundance and opportunities that have come my way in 2023. It felt like the universe was somehow on my side, aligning “best case scenarios” all the way for me. Even if things take a different turn in the future, I’ll always remember how fortunate I was in 2023.
I was really lucky to spend a lot of time with my parents in 2023. I read a hard-hitting article called “The Tail End” which discussed the amount of time we have left with our parents if they’re in their 60s and we’re in our 30s. It’s kind of shocking: the maths says that we have just three to six months of parent time left to spend together now.
So, I’ve learned to make the most of my time with my family while they’re still around. I’m pretty happy that I live within driving distance of my whole family and oldest friends. We’re all within 50 kilometer radius, which is the absolute “best case scenario”. My wife’s parents, my parents, my sister, my brother-in-law – we all get to see each other regularly. At the end of the day, being close to our loved ones is what matters most.
In 2023, my wife and I also actively expanded our social life and entered a whole bunch of new people to our lives. Netflix documentary Living to 100 inspired us to become more socially active.
We didn’t get to jet off as much as we typically do, but that was intentional. We had some major projects going on in our lives that kept us pretty occupied.
Our travel this year included a relaxed trip to Naldehra in January, an epic adventure in Vietnam in April with family, and a getaway with my parents to Udaipur. Work took us to Mumbai twice, with the second trip being the most fun. We also had a great time at Storylane’s offsite in Goa and added a trip to Manali with one of our couple friends.
So in total, 7 trips!
Looking into 2024
If I were to summarise 2023, it was the year of best case scenarios for me.
In 2024, my goals are:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle with my wife for aging gracefully.
- Execute my plans for Storylane and my own blog.
- Commit to a six-day workout routine and good eating habits.
- Spend time with loved ones.
- Focus on the present.
- Get back to daily guitar practice.
Wish y’all a great start to 2024 and thank you for reading!