My 2019 Annual Review

The year of turning 40.

Time for my 2019 annual review.

In this post, I’ll do my best to answer these three questions:1

What went well this year?
What didn’t go so well this year?
What am I working toward?

This post is also sparked by my post The epic year approach. The Epic Year Project is my attempt at hitting four major life events (“memorable milestones”) each and every year.

Here we go:

What went well this year?

Photography. A few years back, I wanted to do something unrelated to my career and family life and I discovered photography. Photography is continuing to surprise me; it helps me to regain focus and to relax. I’m not taking and editing photos for any other reason other than it feels highly satisfying in the moment. There are no goals, no end-game, no strategic advantage, just pure enjoyment.

Google ecosystem. I have grown quite tired of Apple (the lack of innovation, the pricing, the proprietary ecosystem). Hence, I’ve gradually started transitioning to using Google as the primary ecosystem — and it’s working quite great so far.

Turning 40. Admittedly, I thought that turning 40 would feel terrible, but it didn’t. Instead, I feel much more calm and much less restless. I care much less about most things and i care much more about things actually worth caring about. Only now am I able to recognize how pressuring it can be between the ages of 30-40 where so much is supposed to happen. And who knew that the answer was to teach yourself to care less about more?

Learnt more about cooking, physics, and chess. I used to be terrible at cooking and chess. And I have no real business in learning more about astrophysics; I will never be able to contribute (or even understand it fully), but I’ve just allowed myself to be interested of what I’m really interested in — no matter if it makes sense or not. So, when I’m not taking photos in my free-time, I’m learning new skills in the kitchen, studying chess theory, and learning more about intriguing cosmological concepts.

Removing daily frustrations yields surprisingly good results. Instead of focusing on what makes me happy, I tried focusing on removing what makes me frustrated. Long story short: This approach seems to yield better results than trying to add more pleasure.

Five years without alcohol — check. I’ve never been a big fan of consuming alcohol, but when my son was born five years ago, I simply decided to exclude it from my life completely. It wasn’t adding any value

What didn’t go so well this year?

Goal-setting: Too much brain, too little heart. I had plenty of goals set for 2019, but I quickly learned that these goals were formulated without passion in mind. It’s actually quite fascinating to realising that using only your logical brain makes you stupid.

Unable to break carbohydrate cravings. I’ve successfully given up alcohol, sweets, and snacks. I’ve also upped my daily intake of vegetables by a considerable amount. However, I still eat too many carbs per day on average. What can I say? I love bread, pasta, and potatoes. I must find a new and improved way to approach this.

I’m going back to 100% strength training. Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong, but I’ve been focused on cardio pulse training during 2019 without any significant results. Strength training seems to be agreeing more with my physiology, so I’ll revert back to that.

What am I working toward?

Grow as a leader. I’ve been in several leadership positions throughout my career and I’ve always taken immense pleasure from coaching others and seeing them grow into their full potential. Exactly how I’ll be exploring this venue of personal growth is not yet entirely clear, but I feel highly energised about this 2020 focus.

Simplification is powerful as the primary modus operandi. I love and respect complexity, but removing it makes the air easier to breathe. I will definitely simplify even more aspects of my life going forward.

Evolve my professional positioning. To many in my professional circle, I’m thought of as an expert on digital strategy. But strategic communication is really where I belong. I’ve not completely worked out exactly how to reposition myself, but I’m sure I’ll find a way.

Cover photo by Jerry Silfwer (Prints/Instagram)


  1. This format is inspired by James Clear’s annual reviews.


Avatar of Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, aka Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Communication Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

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