Merry Christmas! I hope you are enjoying the holiday season wherever you are in the world.
I created this post after first seeing the 20 end-of-year questionnaire up on the @dailypsych page on Instagram. I then decided to participate and write my own answers to the questions on the page, along with a recorded audio version and turn it into this blog post.
I hope you enjoy this post and consider writing your own review for the year.
1. What was a new discovery you made this year? What did you discover that you loved?
- This year I explored, hiked and camped in both Argentina’s and Chile’s Patagonia. I discovered that I absolutely loved the experience, including carrying all of my things on my back, sketching and painting the landscape where I could no matter how much I was shivering and shaking from the cold, and camping in my own tent under the stars. I now rate travelling Patagonia as one of the best things I have done in over 9 years of on/off travelling.
I also saw the planets Saturn, Mars and the Moon through a telescope at San Pedro De Atacama Desert, Chile in November. These experiences I think will stay with me forever.
2. What was one of the biggest pleasant surprises you experienced during the year?
- Discovering Ice glaciers, dense forests, panoramas of mountainous landscapes and looking at all the major sites on my travel experience in South America without first looking at photos from other sources. This has enabled me to experience a true element of surprise during travelling much more often this year.
3. What achievement are you most proud of from this year?
- This one isn’t easy to answer. I would have to say that keeping a good level of consistent discipline and sticking to my original goals as closely as I could manage over 10 months of travelling in Latin America is definitely something to be proud of. I produced a number of original drawings and paintings, all related to the places I was exploring and travelling to. And I also completed a number of large-scale murals in Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. I am proud because I created these opportunities through my own deliberate effort, organization, planning and will. All of these aspects have been areas I have wanted to strengthen in my creative and productive arsenal for a long time.
I also stood up for the first time and practiced public speaking at a highly emotional and significant event. I always looked at public speaking as something I was afraid of, but I knew I had to step up and take on this new challenge earlier this year. Now I know I can do it and have more confidence than before. I was able to make the room laugh and relate to my story. I had many individual people come up to me privately, thanking me for what I said after I spoke.
4. What was your favourite purchase of the year and why?
- My favourite purchase this year so far was probably my small, $5 table tripod, which I can use to record HD video with my phone. This will allow me to film my drawing and painting progress and experiment with video production. I was also very happy with a small, pocket size watercolour sketchbook which I can take anywhere with me for quick painting studies.
5. What was a new habit or routine you created this year that has improved your efficiency at home or work?
I think that making sure I would dedicate 1-2 hours in the morning to deliberate art practice has really helped me maintain momentum and productivity on this trip in Latin America so far. I know now for sure that the first few hours after I wake up are my most productive and focused, and also later on in the evening. I know I need to dedicate the first 1-2 hours to my own creative goals first before doing other work. This is because I have found that I feel much better working on my own goals first, and by doing so, also seems to give an additional energetic boost of enthusiasm towards other work related activities that needs to be done.
6. What did you face head on this year rather than avoiding, such as you dealt with credit card debt or a difficult conversation?
I think overall, this year I have faced fear and doubt on many occasions. I stepped up to be the one to speak publically when nobody else wanted to. I have also been travelling alone through South America, in unsafe areas.
7. What did I ask for help with this year where I’m glad I did?
I asked a friend to help me come up with creative ideas for improving my Instagram page and website. I’m glad I did this and continue to do so because I am able to get a different and more informed perspective in what I am currently doing and areas where I can improve on which I might not have seen or considered myself.
8. What relationship was the biggest positive surprise to me this year?
This is a difficult question to answer because I have had many instances where new and old friends and family have been a positive surprise to me this year. But I think I will focus on my family for this one. Firstly I have to give both of my two sisters Charlotte and Ellie credit, both have shown courage and resilience this year, along with the beginning of a shift into a positively thinking and empowering mindset, both taking action in their own ways, leading to their own personal growth which I admire. I also have to give credit to my Mum who has started to get a better grip on her own environment after some tragedy and loss this year. Also to my cousin Jack, who has continued to research and study on his path to finding truth, and how has also shown courage and strength in the decisions and actions he has made, and now planning ahead for his future.
9. Who do I need to thank for their role in my life this year?
I think I have to give thanks to my friend Ron Wallace, who has consistently had my back and has offered positive guidance, support, encouragement and wisdom on my travels this year. I have to thank Ron for the consistency of empowering messages he has sent me throughout the year, not to mention Ron has been a true supporting friend of mine. At times when I needed to laugh, relax more, rethink and re-analyse, Ron has been there for me at least in spirit as a positive guiding force on my path as I’ve travelled South America. Thank you Ron.
10. What's an aspect of self-regulation you've gotten better at this year?
This year I have made sure I have kept a level of discipline as I’ve travelled. I knew from past experience that it would be hard for me to keep practicing and developing my art during travel, and I made sure to first plan and make the intention to achieve a certain amount of study and practice per week to aim at, and I think overall I’ve done a pretty good job at it. I have made sure to record the time I’ve spent working on my art using an app and having a weekly report sent to my email address. I have also made sure to keep social media use down to a minimum level each day during the week.
11. What's a goal you gave up on this year, and you're glad you did that because objectively it wasn't your highest priority?
I don’t think I have really given up any of my goals and completely abandoning any of them, but I have come to the realisaton that being able to travel all or most of Latin America in 12 months at the pace I have been travelling at has not been realistic. My focus on art production and study as my main priority has meant that I’ve obviously had to travel at my own pace, and not at the usual high tempo that most travellers move and experience with.
12. What's a skill you have gained confidence with this year?
I think my ability to communicate much more clearly, concisely and confidently has improved. I now feel like I can more confidently speak to an audience or group of people, and I am becoming more confident at recording my own audio and speaking to an audience as with this recording for my blog and website. I have also increased my level of confidence with my ability to draw and paint murals to any scale. I would also say my general level of negotiation and assertiveness has improved.
13. What simple pleasures have you especially enjoyed this year?
I think the general sense of freedom throughout the year has been the most enjoyable. I have been able to travel freely and stay in places mostly for as long as I’ve wanted. I have also had the freedom to focus on my own development and growth. I have enjoyed the freedom to work my own hours when I have had a job to do, and create my own schedule, essentially being my own boss.
14. What was a goal for the year that you followed through on, or partially followed through on?
To travel to South America and not only enjoy the travel experience, but to also focus and concentrate myself on artistic activity, study with my online school and development as I’ve travelled. I have stayed true to this main goal of mine.
15. What's a type of technology you've integrated into your life this year and it's working out well for you?
I have been using an app called ‘Forest’ when I am not using my phone to listen to music. This app allows me to grow digital trees and potentially a digital forest for the time I have set up to focus on a particular task or productive work, and have followed through with it’s completion until the timer I set up has complete. This probably sounds a bit silly, but you have an incentive to continue with your focused work and resist the temptation to open your phone up for whatever reason, and not only that, but if you quit the timer, your potential digital tree dies, which you probably would prefer not to happen and be reminded of when you check your digital landscape. Later you can look back at the forest you have created as a result of your productive, focused work, which works as a visual reminder of what you have achieved on that particular day. This app has helped with my productivity lately this year. I have also made a start using Google Calender, but I need to better integrate it into my life in 2019.
16. What did you change your mind about this year?
When I returned back to England in April, I considered staying in Brighton my hometown for a longer period of time, potentially for a few more months. But I changed my mind at the last minute and decided to take my return flight back to Brazil to continue travelling.
17. What did you try that didn't work out, but the process of trying it moved your thinking forward in a helpful way?
I tried to run my first art giveaway. I didn’t expect too much of a response at this stage, and I knew that many wouldn’t see the post, but in the end it didn’t work out as my requests weren’t met by my audience. It has helped me think about creative ways about getting my artwork seen by more people, and it is something I will try again and experiment with in the future. There was some response and interest, but nothing materialised from it.
18. How did your self-perception change this year? In what ways have you started to see yourself more positively than you did previously?
I reinforced trust in myself that I can face my fears and grow from constantly challenging myself. I have invested more time into my art this year and have achieved more artistically which I am proud of, and my self-belief as an artist has increased. I am now planning ahead and thinking about what I can do to help advance my art career.
19. What's a thinking bias you've become aware of this year?
I have become much more aware of what is calledthe ‘Bandwagon Effect’. This refers to a group-think and herd like mentality of the acceptance and belief in certain things, and actions taken, simply because it is what the majority believes and does.
20. How has what you enjoy shifted this year?
I would say that my enjoyment for creating art has shifted into a more professional state. Not only in the quality of my work, but also my attitude towards my work, my working habits, and forward movement towards making the thing I love to do, my vocation, into my full time job and occupation.
Thank you for reading and listening!