Ms ZiYou Clock

As the clocks go back, what can I achieve in a year?

Good morning everyone, hope you enjoyed that extra hour in bed. I know I certainly did, although my cat was less than pleased that breakfast was served later.  Many people use the New Year to measure progress, however, I like to do things differently. So why not use an alternative method, based on the seasons to demark yearly progress?

Clocks Changing

And today is that day when we move from British Summer Time (BST) back to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). And who knows, there is talk that we may not be changing the clocks forever – and that is something I can support.

With the change comes a few personal realisations; that the UK is very well aligned with Europe time-wise, as we all change our clocks on the same day. In addition, technology has come a long way – when I was younger you had to manually change all the clocks. Nowadays most clocks change themselves automatically.

More details: Guardian – When do the clocks go back 2018


Additionally, at this time I always like to ponder the seasons. I’m very grateful I live in a place where we experience the full range of seasons and no adverse weather. In the UK it’s reliably cold in winter and warm in summer. And it also reliably rains all year round.

As society develops more and more we move further away from our hunter-gatherer and then agricultural roots. We live more in towns and cities and we have a well-developed food supply chains that remove the need for us to think about seasonality.

Now I am someone who embraces technology and new inventions, however, when the clocks go back I am always reminded of the earth itself and how magnificent the annual seasons are. They are simply breathtaking – nature can inspire so much awe and gains so much respect from me.

And I make sure to remind myself of this each year when the clocks change.

What have I achieved in the last year

So what have I done with myself this year between the time when the clocks go back? Here is a quick list I’ve put together.Ms ZiYou Steam Punk

How well do I rate myself?

Wow, after reviewing that list I am impressed with myself. I have managed to achieve a lot in the year while keeping to my feminist and frugal principles throughout. Travelling, and solo travel, in particular, was one of the themes I wanted to concentrate on. And with five new countries seen, I think I have achieved that. So a tick in that box for living the life I wanted.

However, I do need to acknowledge that these are only possible due to many privileges I was born with and hard work I’ve put in earlier in my career. Not to mention that choosing to be childfree gives me much more free time and freedom that those who have children.

Nonetheless, there were some areas where I didn’t achieve as much as I wanted. Reading and books have fallen by the wayside and I’d love to get back to reading the 100+ books a year I used to read. I really do want to get back there and need to set time aside to make this happen.

Additionally, on the outdoors side, I haven’t been camping at all and I want to get back into this. Similarly, for hiking, I’ve not done any proper long hikes all year and I had wanted to fit a few in. So in these areas, my progress and scorecard would be a big fat zero.

What do I want to achieve in the next one?

A good question. I want to build on the progress this year and maintain my progress on doing things I love. So although I am running out of new countries that are easily accessible, I will keep solo travelling. All the trips I’ve got booked are to countries I’ve already visited, some are new cities others are cool cities I want to revisit.

I plan to keep up the Chinese course and pass at least HSK4 in the next year. This will be tough as the course gets harder – not to mention it’s officially a full-time 40-hour per week course that I’m doing alongside working full time.

I’m also thinking of putting a bit more effort into running and cleaning up my diet to see what marathon times I could achieve with a bit more effort. I do love cake and chocolate yet I do want to see what I could achieve if I dropped some weight and trained harder. And I need to get back outdoors.

And I want to pick back up some of the things I’ve dropped this past year accidentally. I want to make space in my life for reading more books. I’m thinking winter is a good time to hit this goal, as the UK weather doesn’t lend itself to outdoor activities. Next camping and hiking need to be prioritised in Spring 2019 – yes I am very much a fairweather indulger.

What have I learned from reviewing my progress?

It has been an eye-opening process for me personally. I obviously knew I had achieved a lot, but seeing them all together in a list makes me smile. Yet the critical Type A person in me sees a second list, of the things I did not manage to fit in.

Overall I am very grateful that I have arranged my life to have loads of leisure time available to me to pursue my hobbies and interests.

Over to you

  • What are your thoughts?
  • How has your last year been?
  • What do you want to achieve in the next year?
  • What have you learned from reviewing progress?

Thank you for reading – please leave a comment below and join in the conversation. You can also connect on Twitter or contact me privately.

24 comments on “As the clocks go back, what can I achieve in a year?

  1. I’m with you on cleaning up my diet but I also love cake and chocolate!

    I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve achieved from a work and finance point of view – started a leadership course, got a second job working from home, started my blog, paid off my credit card, bought a rental property, started investing in an ISA and opened a SIPP (wow seems a lot when you write it down!).

    But similar to you, other things have been neglected – health and fitness, violin lessons, travel abroad – so these will be my proirities for the next 12 months.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post!

    1. Yes, that is the challenge for me – I have such a sweet tooth.

      Wow, that has been a phenomenal year for you – that is a lot to have squeezed into a year, well done. There are loads of big steps there such as paying off the debt, and Buying a rental and opening a SIPP. And taking on a new job at the same time.

  2. That’s a huge amount to have achieved in a year! I don’t know how you find the time…. To pack in even more next year, presumably there must be things you’re going to stop doing to free up the time?

    1. That’s a very good point Jo – while some things like eating less cakes are not going to take time, others need some time freed up. I still waste a lot of time, and hope to spend less time generally faffing around online. And perhaps make more use of lunch breaks and other little bits of time.

  3. Wow, you’ve achieved some amazing things in the last year! I always enjoy reading posts like this. It’s a reminder of how important it is to take stock of how far you’ve come, and where you’d like to go next. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ms Zi You, you’re weird! (I mean that as a compliment – don’t FI people like to be considered as weird… what’s up with this weird cycles for goals based on seasons and financial planning based on tax year…). Anyway, it’s an impressive list of goals you have accomplished this year! Congrats!

  5. “when I was younger you had to manually change all the clocks”

    I must be old school – I had to manually change 5 different clocks in my house and the one in my car!

    That’s a very impressive list of achievements, but as @DossersDiary says, I don’t know how you find the time!

    Anyway, to keep things consistent, I’ll be doing my review when I do my usual year-end round up – too early for me to think of this kind of stuff!

  6. Wow, these are fantastic accomplishments! I’m really impressed with your Chinese language learning on top of everything else you’re doing. I gave up on learning Thai because I found it way too hard to learn a tonal language, but it sounds like you’re doing really well!

  7. Wow, that’s a huge list of accomplishment. Impressive.
    Our time change is next week. I’m not looking forward to it at all. It means long dark days and colder weather.
    At least, I’m not working full-time now. I used to hate winter. I left home when it was dark and came out after the sun set. It’s depressing. The sun will set around 5 pm when the clock change. 🙁
    Oh, I still have to manually change most of our clocks.

    1. Hi Joe, yeah it does suck leaning for work in the dark and coming home in the dark. At least where I work at the moment has windows! And I work from home a lot which makes it more bearable!
      Best of luck for your change next week – I must be odd having no manual clocks anymore!

  8. Hello! This post SO resonates with me. I had a lot of similar goals to you this year. I wanted to learn French, I wanted to get some solid exercise in, I wanted to do several holidays, and I wanted to knock out some finance goals.

    So by the middle of the year I was doing 20-30 minutes of French a day, I was in the gym 3 times a week as well as walking 12,000 steps a day, I had been on two foreign and one UK holiday and I was on track with my numbers. I was smashing it right?

    Wrong. The thing is was that I realise that I was miserable. Instead of filling my life with consumer stuff I was filling it with busyness. It made me stop and re-evaluate what it was that made me happy. Not got the answer yet but your post give me hope that it may not be what I was doing that was the problem but the way I was doing it!

    1. Hi Caveman, thanks for sharing. And that is an interesting place you’ve ended up in, not enjoying your achievements. It does sound like the ideal time to evaluate what really matters to you so you can enjoy the journey.

  9. Great stuff Ms ZiYou! I have no idea how you’ve managed to do all that stuff plus all the FI community stuff you do as well. Don’t focus too much on the stuff you haven’t managed to do – you can’t physically do everything, much as you’d like to. That’s a realisation I’m struggling with at the moment because I’d need about 10 lives to fit in all the stuff I want to do.

    1. Thanks Mrs W – I am one of those people who love being busy – and being childfree I probably have much more free time than you!

      And yes, there is also so much more I want to do, I could also easily fill 10 lives as well.

  10. Hiya MsZiyou, Happy New Year! Hope you’re doing OK and that it’s the Chinese course (ie competition between the positives in life) that’s swallowing your time. Just wanted to say hope all’s OK and all the best for 2019. Jo

    1. Hey Jo – yeah, have been busy and away for the festive period in the rural lands with rubbish internet. But I’m still good and keeping busy – and indeed have more Chinese exam than I can handle!

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