So Long, 2014! It was a year of transition and growth

Like many people, I make some New Year’s Resolutions.  They’re always well-intentioned and improvement-oriented (lose weight, do more of this, stop doing that), and I’m usually moderately successful with them, at best.  Of course, that’s because I don’t put much effort into concrete goal setting and creating action plans to really ensure that these things will happen.

This year will be different.  Following the example of Chris Guillebeau (who I discovered and started following this year), I am taking more time to do a review of 2014 and create more solid, actionable goals and plans for 2015.  More about 2015 in my next post.

Chris Guillebeau’s annual look-back consists mainly of asking two questions:

  1. What went well in 2014?
  2. What did not go so well in 2014?

Yesterday, I sat down and answered these questions.  Here’s what I came up with for me.

What went well in 2014?

I launched my wedding officiant business and performed 14 weddings.

Retire Fabulously! gained traction.  I participated in an Out & Equal Town Call, had numerous articles posted on, was interviewed for, and had a guest post published on Tiny Buddha.  I wrote lots of great content.

I achieved Distinguished Toastmaster, the highest award you can get in Toastmasters.

I had some great jazz performance and development opportunities at Paradise Valley Community College and Scottsdale Community College.  I played at the Nash.

Jeff and I did some wonderful travelling.  In February-March, we took an Atlantis cruise from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro, which I’ve wanted to do for years.  It was wonderful!  We also spent a week at each of Atlantis’ all-inclusive resorts – Cancun in late April and Puerto Vallarta in late October.

I met a lot of wonderful new people and stayed socially engaged.

What didn’t go well in 2014?

Presenting for Excellence went nowhere.

A partnership I entered into to promote an LGBT retirement village in France was a bust.  It took up a lot of time and yielded nothing.  There’s a longer story, but I won’t recount it here.  If you want to hear it, I’ll be happy to share it over drinks and/or dinner.  I did learn a lot, though.

I didn’t earn much money.  I learned that it takes much longer to build up a business to the point where it makes money than I ever dreamed possible.

I was terribly undisciplined.  I didn’t write regularly, didn’t exercise regularly, and didn’t make as much progress toward goals as I would have liked.  I wasted far too much time on Facebook and solitaire.

Although well-intentioned at the time, I spent too much time on activities that yielded little value (The Villages, SVP Fast Pitch, Toastmasters, Presenting for Excellence workshops and videos, webinars and training).

There were more unexpected expenditures than I had budgeted for.  The largest unwelcome outlay was $17,000 to replace both of our air conditioners.  There was also $1,140 to have our four palm trees skinned, over $1000 in car repairs, and more.  It’s nothing that will break us, financially, it just resulted in us having to spend more money than we had hoped.

I will probably update this post to embellish the text a little more and add a few pictures, but this will suffice for today.

How about you?  What went well and not so well for you in 2014?


(c) 2014 Dave Hughes.  All rights reserved.

Photo credit:  Ivan Klindik.  Some rights reserved.

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