It’s that time of year again where a year is ending and a new one is about to begin. Before we look forward to a fresh start in 2014, let’s take time to look back at 2013.
Why should we do an annual review?
We need to know what worked and what didn’t work this year. We need to make sure we do more of the right things next year. We also need to make sure we’re moving in the right direction and not backwards.
How can we make 2014 much better than 2013 if we don’t stop and give ourselves an annual checkup?
This is a great place to start. Two simple questions that will get us thinking. If we need help jogging our memory, take a look at photos, blog posts, our journal, our Instagram feed, Facebook status updates, or anything that will help us remember what we did this year.
Think about what wins we had. It could be small or big. It’s very easy to forget about those, but it’s important to remember the wins. We get to see what we achieved and it gives us confidence to go for bigger wins.
Your Year in Review Worksheet
If you want to go more in depth in your year in review, I’ve created a free worksheet that has questions to help you review your year and plan for the next. By filling it out, you will learn a lot about yourself.
Download it, print it out and find a quiet time to complete it. Don’t rush through it. These questions will really make you think. Be honest with your answers. These are just for yourself.
If you find it that you don’t have much to write down, then next year make sure you consciously do more. It could be because you’re in your comfort zone too much. Make it a goal for next year to be stretch yourself and take more risks.
If you’ve never done a year in review, try it this year. You’ll learn more about yourself. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Don’t just fill this out and put it away. I encourage you to put it in a place where you can access it and refer back to it throughout the year. Because you need to remember the parts of your life you said you needed to eliminate or improve.
This will be the third time I’ve done a year in review.
I had never done one before 2011. Before I would just made a mental note of what I wanted to accomplish in the new year. 100% of the time I never achieved what I wanted.
Since I’ve been doing it, it’s helped me take a moment and appreciate what I’ve accomplished. It also helps me to count my chips and see how I’ve been doing. If I didn’t earn that many chips, I try and figure why.
I like to look back and reflect, and help me get started in the right direction the next year.
What went well in 2013
I’m going to first mention travel because it was definitely the highlight of my year. Thanks to collecting points and miles from credit card bonuses, and taking advantage of a limited time offer, I booked an amazing itinerary. We went to Sydney for two week and Hong Kong for two weeks.
We flew from Taipei, but didn’t go the direct route to Sydney nor to Hong Kong.
We flew to Beijing, Singapore, Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and back to Taipei. Mostly in first class, some in business class, and once in economy.
I didn’t mind taking the long way one bit because we got to take more flights and more time in the premium cabins.
One flight we got to fly in Singapore’s A380 suites, which was a dream of mine since I first read about it 6 years ago. I never knew if I would be able to afford the outrageous price to experience it, but got a chance this year thanks to redeeming my miles.
I wrote a longer post about our travels so read more about it there. If you want to know exactly how I booked it and start collecting miles and points for your dream vacation, read this post.
I don’t understand people sometimes. I guess it’s best not to because if I try and understand why people act the way they do I’d get nothing else done in life.
I got a comment on a post I wrote awhile back about being featured on New and Noteworthy for Photo 365. Of course I was so excited about it. My first app got featured in the second week it was out. It was beyond my wildest imagination.
Did I get lucky? I’d be the first to say yes.
But I put myself in that position in the first place by creating an app. After that, being featured or not by Apple is completely out of the developer’s hands. No one knows exactly how you get featured. It’s not based on number of downloads or how many ratings you have. I’ve seen apps featured on New and Noteworthy with no ratings or reviews.
I really thought my second app, Gratitude Journal 365, would be featured by Apple as well. I thought the design was great and the features were nice. However it got nothing. That’s how it is for indie developers.
Here is the comment that made me write this post.
This is from another app developer. I’ve removed his link to his app because he doesn’t deserve the link or free promotion. To me, he sounds super bitter.
I couldn’t let it go and say nothing. Here is the rest of the conversation.
Since he felt like giving his “realistic opinion”, I’ll give mine.
My guess is he is upset that his amazing app didn’t get featured by Apple. He sees other apps, like mine, that have been featured and think his app is so much better. He believe his app actually does something valuable instead of letting users save one photo a day. Also he’s not making much money back on his app either, hence the comment about how much money I’ve made. He’s spent a lot and not nearing his break even point.
And really, being featured on New and Noteworthy does not determine the success of an app. Yes the recognition is nice, but it only lasts a week. Being featured isn’t going to make us rich or poor. I know developers who have never been featured and they make a comfortable living from their apps. So I’m not sure why he is so upset about the process. Complain to Apple.
Secondly if he’s going to argue it’s easier to win the lottery than be featured, at least be right.
Currently there are 900,000 apps in the App store. A lot of them aren’t even close to be worthy enough to be featured. So that eliminates a whole bunch. Every week they feature 30 apps in the New and Noteworthy section. That’s 1,560 apps a year.
Recently the Powerball jackpot was $600 million. The odds of winning that were 1 in 175,223,510. I’m not that great at math, but just looking at the numbers, I would say winning the lottery is much harder.
I’ve bought way more lottery tickets than developed apps and I have yet to win the lottery.
I posted a link to his comments on Twitter and these responses from friends.
They’re right. There are going to be people are going to hate your success. It also made me realize one thing.
Being jealous is a waste of time
People are going to be jealous about anything. They might look at someone and be jealous they have a better job, more money, more success, or more recognition. They may be working hard, but don’t have the amount of success as someone else who seemingly doesn’t work so hard and just gets lucky.
They’re wasting their time and energy if they spend it on being jealous. What good does it really do? What good does leaving a comment like the one above?
Instead of focusing on what they need to do, they’re constantly thinking about that other person. They’re not thinking nice things either so all that negative energy gets them upset inside.
I don’t want that to be you and I don’t want you to associate yourself with people like that either. The friends you spend the most time with are so vital to your success and happiness in life. If they’re nasty and jealous, that’s going to rub off on you.
The reality is there are going to be people ahead of us in life.
I’ve seen interviews of other app developers who are making way more money than I am. Am I jealous? No. It makes me focus more and work harder so I can get to that level. I don’t waste my time being jealous.
Those jealous people just try to bring the rest of us down to their level.
Maybe you have friends that see you much happier because you are doing something they only dream about. They’re going to be jealous. Why? Because you’re doing what they aren’t doing. They have a million excuses why not to, while you’re taking control of your life. Since they can’t be happy, they don’t want you to either.
So they say things about you, talk behind your back, or even talk in front of your face. They want to bring you down to their own low level.
Do no let them do that. Do not let them win.
Let them stay there complaining and doing nothing, while you ignore them. If you really have friends like that, you truly need to find new friends.
Not because of his insane martial arts skills, but because he did more in his short life than others do in a lifetime.
I’ve never forgotten about the letter he wrote to himself when he was a minor struggling TV actor. He just had his second child and no financial security when he wrote his “definite chief aim” on paper.
My Definite Chief Aim
I, Bruce Lee, will be the first highest paid Oriental super star in the United States. In return I will give the most exciting performances and render the best of quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting 1970 I will achieve world fame and from then onward till the end of 1980 I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.
Sadly his life was cut short just four years later, but in the early 1970′s, he became an international superstar and no doubt was the highest paid Oriental super star in the United States. If he would have lived, he definitely would have earned more than $10,000,000 in his lifetime.
He approached life with the same intensity and focus like his martial arts training.
And his philosophy on life is still being shared to this day and will be for many more generations.
His collection of quotes inspired me to create my next iPhone app. At the end of the post, I’ll tell you more about the app.
First I wanted to share ten of my favorite Bruce Lee quotes and how it can be applied to your life.
1. The power of positive thinking
“Choose the positive. You have a choice. You are the master of your attitude. Choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.”
You can’t control everything in your life, but you can control what thoughts you hold in your head. No matter what happens to you on the outside, you control your response to the event.
When you are an optimist you see the opportunities that are available for you. You will find a way around roadblocks. You have a belief that what you’re doing will work and that keeps you motivated to keep on pushing.
“A goal is not always meant to be reached. It often serves simply as something to aim at.”
Without aiming for something, you have no direction in life. You’re like a boat floating in the ocean and letting the currents take you wherever it goes. It’ll probably take you to somewhere you don’t want to go.
The old me never set goals. I just had a bunch of wishes floating in my head.
My life changed when I became serious about setting goals in 2011. I wrote them down. I tracked them. I reviewed them weekly. I didn’t achieve all the goals I set, but I did more that year than the past five years combined.
I doubt I would have achieved so much that year without aiming for something.
3. You life is in your hands
“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”
Ask anyone who’s had success and you’ll hear how they created their opportunities. They put in the work every day. They sacrificed.
It wasn’t pure luck. They may have had some luck, but it was cause they created the possibility of luck by doing the work.
If you want to improve your life, don’t wait for miracles to happen.
4. You are what you think
“As you think, so shall you become.”
Your thoughts dictate who you are. If you think you’re worthless, overweight, poor, and dumb, that’s the type of person you’ll be.
It’s like the universe is listening to your thoughts and saying, “Your wish is my command!”
You’ll just bring yourself to a level that you can’t go higher than. If you think of yourself as a 5 out of 10, you’re going to talk like a 5. You’ll walk like you’re a 5. People will see you as a 5.
Instead raise your standards. What’s the type of person you want to be? How would that person think, walk, and talk?
Visualize the person you want to be in your mind consistently.
5. Ready, fire, aim
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
Too much thinking about what you want to do will cause you to probably not do it. You will think about all the possible scenarios on your head. You will wonder “what if”.
Then you’ll decide to not even bother doing it.
When shooting a gun we always hear ready, aim, fire, but people spend way too long aiming trying to get it perfect. It’s better to fire, see where it hit, adjust, then fire again.
If you’re stuck on deciding something, try the three second rule to make a decision. If you think about it too long, you’ll talk yourself out of it.
6. Cut away the fat
“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”
Making changes in life isn’t always about adding more to your life, but subtracting what you don’t need.
Buying more stuff to fill your house that already has a ton of stuff isn’t going to make you happy. Instead trying being a minimalist and owning less.
If you say you need more money to be happier, maybe cutting back on unnecessary spending might be better.
If you feel like you don’t have enough time in the day, you need to remove the activities that aren’t productive.
When I read this quote what comes to mind is trying to multitask. We think if we can do a bunch of things at one time we can get more done.
Juggling multiple tasks actually takes you longer than if you were to just focus on one task at a time.
Keep things more simple in life. You’ll feel much better.
My new iPhone app is called Life Quotes
It’s a collection of Bruce Lee quotes all in one app. There are many quotes apps in the App store, but none just focus on him.
Why is it called Life Quotes if it’s all about Bruce Lee? Well I wanted to call it Bruce Lee Quotes, but I didn’t want any problems with his estate using his name so I felt it was safer to leave his name out.
I also had a different icon all ready to go and submitted my app to Apple but it got stopped during the review because I was using his image. They wanted to make sure I had authorization to use it. I wasn’t aware I needed it since it’s a drawing.
So to be safe again, I quickly had my designer create a different icon for me.
The new icon for the app. Homage to his yellow tracksuit from “The Game of Death”.
And even after the app was finally approved, I still ran into another problem I just found out about!
In the App store the app shows the new icon, but when you download the app, it shows the old icon. I made the proper changes and just submitted an update to it to Apple, but will have to wait for them to approve it again.
Other than that, the app is ready to be downloaded!
Okay so what’s the app all about.
Features of the app
Optimized for the iPhone 5 screen
141 of Bruce Lee’s best quotes
35 hand selected Youtube videos featuring the best of Bruce Lee
People can say they disagree with my blog posts, tell me it sucks, not like my apps at all, or not like me. I know I can’t please everyone.
But if someone accuse me of stealing and copying their app, writes me an email, leaves a comment on my blog post, and writes on her Facebook that she hopes she can watch karma pay me a visit, that’s crossing the line.
Screw the motto “Don’t worry. Be happy”. I can’t stand around and let it go.
In this post today, I’m going to reveal all about how I developed Gratitude 365. I know many of you are intersted in the behind scenes of it. Maybe it’ll help you develop your own idea.
However, it’s going to be about standing up for myself and disputing these this fetched, outlandish, crazy, ridiculous and flat out insane accusation.
She suggested I blog about my “tactics” so here I am. I have nothing to hide.
It’s my side of the story and let you decide who’s the crazy one.
Finally I’m going to share something lessons I’ve learned that you can take away.
“The first group kept a diary of the events that occurred during the day… the second group recorded their unpleasant experiences, [and] the last group made a daily list of things for which they were grateful.
The results of the study indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy. Additionally, the gratitude group experienced less depression and stress, was more likely to help others, exercised more regularly and made more progress toward personal goals. According to the findings, people who feel grateful are also more likely to feel loved.
McCollough and Emmons also noted that gratitude encouraged a positive cycle of reciprocal kindness among people since one act of gratitude encourages another… McCullough suggests that anyone can increase their sense of well-being and create positive social effects just from counting their blessings.”
Let me recap that for you.
less depression and stress
more likely to help others
exercised more regularly
made more progress toward personal goals
Need more reasons why?
-Research has proved that practicing gratitude reduces fear, anxiety, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Bottom line, gratitude can extend your life.
-Your relationships will improve because instead of focusing on the 20 percent of what that person doesn’t fulfill, you’re focusing on the 80 perfect that is wonderful and perfect about that person. Failed marriages can be restored through gratitude. Parents and children can form a closer bond. Your relationships will deepen.
-Focusing on what you do have instead what you don’t will increase your wealth. You will focus your mind on abundance and discover new opportunities. You will see the potential all around you. You will attract people in your life to help you. Gratitude can make you wealthy.
Do I have to write in my journal every day?
No. The important thing is that you make a great effort and not miss too many days.
How long does it take?
You can spend as little as five minutes a day. Of course the more you put in, the more you get out of it.
How to Start the Practice of Gratitude
Start each entry with, “I am grateful for …”
In the morning spend five minutes writing down what you are thankful for. You can focus on things like a good night’s sleep, a comfortable bed, a roof over your head, two good legs for walking, or being able to see the sunshine in the morning. Make it about anything you want.
There is no wrong answer.
Then at night before bed, spend five more minutes writing what you’re grateful for. It could be something that happened during the day. It could be any fond memory.
Sometimes you might not think of something new to write. It’s okay to write something you’ve written before.
If you need more ideas, don’t just think of the obvious things every day. Think of the subtle things like the smell of chocolate, or a great hug you got.
The best part is that doing this is free. All you need is a notebook, journal, or an app to help you.
- Wake up and decide that you’re going to be looking for things to be grateful for. Start the day by being in the right state of mind.
- Really feel how grateful you are for what you’re writing it down. Don’t just write without any emotion.
- If you only write in your journal once a day, do it at the end of the night. It’s best to reflect on the day you had.
If you don’t have an iPhone, just get a pen and any notebook. The important part is to just start.
If you use gratitude a little, it’ll change your life a little. If you use it a lot, your life will change even more.
I know I have many readers who are unhappy and feel stuck in life. I highly recommend you start a gratitude journal for at least 30 days.
Thanks to everyone!
Finally, just want to say thanks to all of you. It’s been one year since Photo 365 was released. Thanks to everyone who supported and shared the app. Thanks to you for being a part of the Get Busy Living community as well. I’m very grateful for it!
Please help spread the word about this app. Share this post with your social network. Tell your friends or family about it.
Maybe starting a gratitude journal is what someone needs in their life right now.
Before, I didn’t know when was the best time to do it. Now I feel like I have a lot to share after almost five months of it being released.
The success of this app has brought so many benefits. It brought recognition. It brought opportunities for interviews here and here and guests posts like here. It brought a flood of revenue to allow me to start my own business. I had my app featured in an Italian iPhone magazine.
I had someone from a startup contact me during App of the Week about buying my app. I was very skeptical because it came from a generic email. Once I told him of my concern, he revealed the company he was representing. One of the main investors co-founded Google Adsense. That was a wild time, but after exchanging some emails, nothing happened. Still cool to experience!
I’ve enjoyed getting emails from people getting started with their app. I know I’m not an expert, but I know enough to help those get started. It feels great to be able to help others.
It hasn’t been all this easy though. This journey has been a roller coaster.
The first seven months of app development were easy compared to the last five months. I’ve had to face challenges I was NOT prepared for. Nothing warned me about what to expect.
I’ve never worked harder and never had to deal with so much. There have been moments when I’ve thought about shutting it down.
In the end, I still can’t believe my luck. I am very thankful, and still moving forward.
I refuse to let any challenges stop me from making this the best app I can.
I hope my experience will help those who want to know what it’s like to manage an app as a first time app developer.
For the rest, I hope there’s something you can take away from it.