Annual Review: Part II
Goals for 2021, what I want to learn, who I want to become, and three permissions
Welcome to the latest Monday Seven—fresh ideas and frameworks for a life well-lived.
If you’re new, join us by subscribing here:
Hi friends, 👋🏽
This is a special edition of our regular newsletter.
A few days ago I published Annual Review Part I: Reflecting on 2020. It was the first time I published an annual review publicly. The feedback has been extraordinary.
In this part two I share my theme and goals for 2021, what I want to learn, who I want to become, what I’m leaving behind, and the permissions I’m giving myself.
Setting a theme for the year is how I decide to play life’s game.
This year’s theme is Do Cool Shit.
Reflecting on the last chapter in my life, the moments I felt most fulfilled were spent dreaming up fresh ideas and bringing them to life. I am ready to explore that creativity again. To build and bring fresh ideas into the world.
How will I know if what I’m building is cool? First, I need to believe it and I happen to think I’ve got pretty good taste. I can also be guilty of drinking my own kool-aid. That’s where you come in. By building and living publicly, I’ll shorten the feedback loop on what I’m putting out into the world. We’re in this together.
Goals for 2021
Publish 6 essays and 26 editions of Monday Seven
The focus of my writing this year will be Getting What You Want Out of Life. I plan to publish 6 essays on this topic. I’ll explore themes of personal development, relationships, and living an interesting life. Of course, what people want out of life varies from one person to another. But, I think we all have some shared desires that I’m excited to write about it from a fresh perspective. I need your help with this goal. The best thing you can do is to let me know what you want to get out of life this year or in the next decade. I’ll do my best to research the topic and share my learnings here. The first essay is about taking time to think and will be published later this month. As a subscriber to this newsletter, you’ll also receive all my essays. Monday Seven will continue to dive into whatever I’m excited about. I’ll share the things I’ve learned and loved including articles, books, and music, but also explore different ideas on living well. My goal is to publish Monday Seven every two weeks and never miss a post.
Build an audience
My goal is 5,000 newsletter subscribers and 5,000 Twitter followers by the end of the year. Growing an audience is the highest leverage thing I can do. Over the past few years, I’ve grown audiences for the companies I built, but never personally. This means that every time I’ve wanted to build something new, I’ve had to build an audience from the ground up. If I’m lucky, I’ll always be creating in life. Having an engaged personal audience will create compounding growth for my ideas. To help me gain early momentum in building an audience I plan to do three things over the next 90 days: (i) create a distribution checklist and share my writing across different communities every time I publish, (ii) get 330 new newsletter subscribers by the end of February. We should hit this goal if each of you shares this newsletter with 5 people, and
(iii) get to 1,500 Twitter followers in 90 days (currently at 1021). If you’d like to follow along, I’m at @yasharnejati. I’ll be tweeting about getting what you want out of life.
Start the next thing and get 100 paying customers
I plan to start something new this year. I don’t know what exactly it will be yet but I have a few ideas. Whatever the idea ends up being, three things are certain. 1) It will move the world towards a future I’d like to live in. 2) It will be a fresh idea or a novel take on an old idea. 3) It will be self-funded and bootstrapped to start. I’ll be working on the project during my nights and weekends. To get started, I’m building an idea evaluation framework and placing my existing ideas in there to weigh them against each other. Next, I’ll start idea mining and develop 100 new ideas over the first 50 days of 2021. By the end of March, I’ll pick one of these ideas and share the rest with you. If what you want to get out of life is starting a new startup, I’ll help you develop one of the ideas into your own company. This is completely free. Finally, my aim is to have 100 paying customers for whatever I build by the end of the year. I don’t care if each of them pays me a dollar. As long as they pay something it means I delivered value.
Deepen my relationship with family, friends, and God.
I’m starting a storytelling series for my family over Zoom. The purpose is to connect the diaspora of my extended family, which through second marriages and closer-than-usual 4th, 5th, and 6th cousins is massive. It will be a bi-monthly event where one person will share a new life story. I plan to record the videos and post them as a private family video library. Shout out to my friend Daniel Dubois for inspiring this idea.
Many of my close friends are starting new chapters and building a family this year. Others have taken the path of entrepreneurship and building a metaphoric baby. My goal is to remain connected with them by being their cheerleader and celebrating the big milestones with them. For new relationships, my goal is to develop five new friends. These are people I’ll grow close enough with that I’d invite them to stay at my future compound (more on the compound below).
Finally, those of you who know me well may be surprised to hear about God. I’m in the “spiritual but not religious camp” but cringe that we have to define our beliefs so narrowly as to virtue signal our wokeness to others. I am guilty too. I use God with my own definition of the word which I’m just beginning to understand. God is what I don’t yet understand and may never will. Not the great creator, but the great connector. A yet immeasurable force that places all things where they should be. Not good nor evil, but just, fair, and balanced for the whole. Getting to know this God seems interesting to me and something I’d like to learn more about. This journey started in India when I wrote my thoughts on why we are here and continues through my meditation and a few books I plan to read starting with Rivers from Eden.
Learn voice acting and create a character
I’m going to learn to be a voice actor this year. This is a just for fun goal. I’m going to develop a fictional character and absolutely nail the voice. Other than amusing myself I don’t plan on doing much with this talent. A bunch of my friends are having kids. At the very least it’ll be a fun way to make the kids laugh. I’m considering sharing this journey publicly and posting my progress. Could be fun. The backstory of how this all came about is pretty interesting. It involves a childhood dream, the Simpsons, and Masterclass. I wrote a quick Twitter thread on it last month.
Get married and buy land
This is the most personal one on the list. Christine and I spent the weekend planning what we want to get out of life together in 2021 and beyond. That included a small wedding with family this summer in Vancouver. I hesitate to call it that. We’re renting a house somewhere remote and having a small ceremony and dinner with family. I’m calling it pandemic-proof wedding planning. We never planned on having a traditional wedding so the pandemic is the perfect excuse to keep it small without the social cost. We’re also planning to buy 5+ acres and build a compound on a little island of the Pacific North West . Besides inviting family and friends to stay, we want to use the land as a place to make new friends and invite entrepreneurs, creators, and artists we admire to stay with us and build their ideas. I will share more about this vision later this year.
Focus on flexibility, mobility, and funghi
Health has become ingrained as a habit and part of my lifestyle. Over the past couple of years, I focused on strength and cardio. I love weight training and cardio and don’t feel compelled to prioritize those as they will naturally happen. This year with uncertainty with gyms being open I’d like to prioritize flexibility and mobility. Turning 35 in the next few days is also a good reminder that I need to stay limber. My health goals this year include:
Move my body for 100 hours. This can be any physical activity. 100 hours is about 30 minutes a day 4 times per week.
Gain a 20% improvement on a Sit-and-Reach test. This is the best test I could find to objectively measure flexibility.
Prepare one meal a month with funghi. I eat the same meal for lunch or dinner every day of the week, so one meal a month translates to about 7 portions.
Domino's is still a vice I plan to keep.
What I want to learn
A few topics I’m excited to learn about this year:
Being a kick-ass father and husband
The art of learning and how to be knowledgeable about anything
The benefits of solitude and how great thinkers use solitude as a tool
Designing for serendipity and what we can gain from chaos
What elders with life long friends tell us about the power of friendship
Studying the most successful angel investors
Raising nomadic children
Spirituality and why we are here
Who I want to become
I’ve identified five traits I’d like to focus on this year:
When I sit down to do anything, I will only do that one thing. I want to be more intentional with every action. This includes getting up and going to get a glass of water. I hate that I check my phone in between every task or that I default to Slack, email, or checking stocks whenever I have a free moment in the day. Writing and meditation are both daily practices that will help me develop this trait. Being intentional will also help me become indistractable.
Being consistent means that I show up every day and do the reps, regardless of how I am feeling. I don’t have to lift the heaviest boulder on days I am not feeling it, but I will show up. I’ve had the most consistent energy levels of my life over the past three months and feel that I have great momentum when it comes to developing this trait.
I want to lead an inspirational life. This is not something I will achieve this year alone. A few years back I wrote that my work needs to have a direct impact on people’s lives. It can have a life-changing impact on 100’s of people or a meaningful but not-life-altering impact on 100,000+ people. With thisopenspace I’ve been able to achieve this level of impact. Thousands of hosts make meaningful income through the platform that supports their livelihood. A handful of hosts make more money on thisopenspace than I’ve ever earned in a single year. That blows me away and I love it. My aim is to create more value than I can possibly capture. Through writing, I hope to impact the lives of people and help them grow beyond themselves. To shift how they view the world and their potential within it. To feel greater optimism about life and to see the potential they have while they are here.
I hope to connect with more people than ever this year through writing. I also want to be more connected with myself, and family and friends as I covered above.
Finally, cutting back on projects and areas that need my attention will help me focus on the most important ones and work towards becoming indistractable.
Saying no, moving on, and walking away
This year, the default state is NO when it comes to new ideas and opportunities. It’s about keeping a wide top of funnel and simultaneously tightening the filter it flows through. I have a lot of ideas and tend to get excited about opportunities. By building an idea evaluation framework I’ll be able to quickly and systematically make decisions. By defaulting to NO, ideas and opportunities will have to be very compelling to pass the threshold. Other than starting the next thing and focusing on the goals outlined here, it will take a pretty exceptional opportunity to say yes to anything else this year.
Marie Kondo Relationships
There are a couple of relationships I’d like to shed this year. I don’t think any of them subscribe to this newsletter so if you’re reading this, don’t worry! It’s likely not you. I hesitated on sharing this goal publicly, but ultimately feel that shedding relationships needs to be normalized. We hang on to relationships that no longer serve us out of fear of loneliness or the social costs that come with letting go. This is likely the reason most of us are still on Facebook. Relationships come and go and that’s fine. Let’s wish each other well and create room for new.
Cutting Self Blame
I’ve struggled with self-blame for what I call “the lost years”. Between 2010 to 2015, I had a lot of energy flowing in a million directions. I often think about what could have been if I started entrepreneurship earlier. I need to remember that I love who I am today and am grateful for everything I have, just the way it is. That I would not be here without my past experiences. While it's easy to be an armchair critic to my younger self, it does not serve me moving forward. The turning point for this frame of mind was actually a breathwork exercise I did with Inward Breathwork which I highly recommend you check out.
Bye Bye Booze
I’ve never been a drinker. Christine and I dramatically cut alcohol over the past two months, limiting it to only social occasions. Since social occasions have been as frequent as a full moon, this has been an easy goal to hit. I partially attribute my high and consistent energy levels to cutting out alcohol. I plan to continue cutting out alcohol, save for a couple of drinks on very special occasions.
Three permissions I’m giving myself
To be exceptional. I can be in the top 10% of the world at my craft. It may take a lifetime to achieve, but I will get there.
To be bold. Past failure won’t hold me back from being bold and decisive.
To be disliked. Not everyone will want to join or support me, and that’s fine.
The Road to 5,000
This year, the goal is to grow Monday Seven to 5,000 people. The first step is 500 before the end of winter. It’ll take all of us to get there. If you enjoy what you’re reading, consider inviting your friends by sharing this post:
The next time you’ll hear from me is Monday, January 18.
What did you think of this post?
great blog , appreciate your efforts.