Simon Ekin

For a year like no other, please read this.

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”
(Sign hanging in Albert Einstein’s office at Princeton.)

It’s that time of year when many of us tend to wrap up one year and plan for the next.

This article covers:

  1. Why we do it
  2. Where it comes from
  3. My process of reviewing one year and planning the next.
  4. An invitation for you to join me in making next year a great one for you.

Why we do it now, at the end, and beginning of each year:

It turns out that New Year’s resolutions were first used by the Babylonians more than 4,000 years ago to please and win the favour of the gods. It seems logical, doesn’t it? “Please give me Y if I pledge to do X this year because last year I didn’t do so well and was a big jerk.”

It’s interesting that these resolutions were founded on agreements and promises to others – something that is missing from modern day ‘resolutions.’ Resolute means admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering. Not much of that in most New Year’s resolutions, you may agree.

Why even bother reviewing and planning?

Doesn’t it often feel like we are living in an ever more volatile, uncertain, chaotic, and ambiguous (VUCA) world? We have NO idea what we will wake up to, or what will happen, on any given day and the list of those VUCA moments sometimes feels endless.

What is it then about us human beings that we keep planning, hoping, praying, striving, doing, living, breathing, and believing, in the face of this VUCA-ness?

We are meaning seeking and making beings. We have been making things up, inventing things, envisioning, and telling stories for the past 80,000 years. It’s what we do, regardless of war, famine, and societal collapse.

My journey and process – from New Year’s resolutions.

These looked like losing weight, getting fit, getting a great job or making more money. I did this between the ages of 16-30. This would come to me about 23h59 on New Year’s Eve, and would disappear by about mid-day the next day, the first day of the year, like a dream.

It wasn’t all so bad. At least I thought about it and had an intention, however loose, about what I wanted. Like Einstein’s quote, above, there was much that could not be measured in this. Who’s to say that because of thinking about getting fit, it didn’t eventually materialise into the svelte (slender and elegant;) person I am today!?

Next up was the yearly review of the previous year and the plan for the upcoming year.

The natural progression then was to be more deliberate about the process, something I have done for the last 25 years, which I call my yearly review and plan, which has taken on different shapes but has broadly looked like this:

  1. Set goals, break them down and have a plan of action
  2. Then at the end of year, review: What were my greatest successes, and what did I learn from them? What were my biggest failures, and what did I learn from them?
  3. What worked, didn’t work and what am I going to do differently?

It was all pretty logical and well, dull. Each time I reviewed my list I felt quite disappointed, and that was mostly at the end of the year, when it was all done!

And then, in the last couple of years, I have done things differently and with a lot more success, making allowance for the mystical; the unpredictable, and the ‘chance meeting.’ It has allowed me to go with the flow more, whilst at the same time, have sufficient structure.

A note on success.

How successful have I been? What is success? I think this is a good definition by Deepak Chopra:

The realisation of worthy goals and the
continued expansion of happiness.

Whilst I have not been as ‘successful’ as I would like – when are we ever? – I acknowledge that I am successful per the above definition, and I hope you can feel that too.

What came next?

This year I read up about a slightly different approach by Tim Ferriss, of 4-Hour Work-Week book fame, who suggests a yearly review by simply going through your calendar, week by week or month by month, and identifying your list of loves and loathes for the year, those meetings, encounters, experiences that were highs and lows, and then scheduling more of those loves and avoid more of the loathes.

Whatever you do it, it’s always only and ever about the-present-moment.

All these approaches are useful to some degree, but if you take a closer look, you’ll notice a focus on the past and the future and nothing on the PRESENT, the NOW.

Which leads me to this year and my invitation to you:

My honest reflection has been that whilst I do a lot right, the missing piece is being held accountable; something I do in several areas, but not in my yearly planning, until now. Accountability works.

It’s why we have lessons, get homework assignments that get marked, it’s why we have a coach or personal trainer, a running partner, a financial planner, a wife! It’s much easier to just do it on our own, but as the saying goes, easy choices, hard life, hard choices, easy life.  

When it comes to achieving goals, consider this:

  1. You are 10% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down and review them regularly
  2. You are 50% less likely to achieve your goals if you share with people, with no accountability, because your brain has tricked you into believing you have already done it!
  3. You are 80% more likely to achieve your goals if you are rigorously held accountable for them and you commit to the process for a year and you take consistent action
  4. You are 95% more likely to achieve your goals if you are held accountable and you commit to doing the difficult s***, that makes all the difference; the stuff you don’t feel like doing, but you know makes the biggest impact, e.g. that call, that run in the cold, that next page of your book

Here is my invitation to you:

What it is:

Join me and just 10 others from my community who want to win in 2023 like never before, day by day, moment by moment, and have this year be an extraordinary one. It’s a 365-day challenge/ marathon.

Why it exists and how you benefit:

Because without this kind of structure – unless you are ultra-disciplined and even then, you are still human – you will not achieve the result of the satisfaction that you know is possible.

With a structure around you and peers to support you, it becomes more difficult to not produce the results you want that are important to you.

How it works:

  • Send me an email to with 1-3 sentences explaining WHY you want to do this. I need to check that you are serious about this, and you will stand the test and be counted on, right up to the end. Once I hear from you, I’ll give you a call
  • Once you are in, I’ll send you a payment link: it’s a monthly payment of ZAR2500 (approx. £125 or $147 as at December 2022)
  • I will send you a link to a Google Document, which your Goal sheet, outlining your purpose, vision, goals, and strategy. You will be sharing this with others, and you will see other’s sheets too. We will be a very tight outfit
  • At the end of each week, we will submit our results and actions for the following week.
  • Every two weeks we will have a Zoom check in on progress, victories, challenges, reflections, and insights, and provide tools, process, and insights to assist us on our journeys
  • You’ll be assigned an ‘accountability buddy’
  • You will receive email and WhatsApp reminders from me
  • We will touch base personally with each other at least twice per month
  • The offer closes at midnight on 31st January 2023, however we will start when you are ready from 16th Jan, and start officially from 1st Feb until 15th Dec
  • Note you will get 16th-30th Jan as a complimentary test-drive
  • Again, the next step is to send me an email here: sharing your reason WHY you would like to do this, and I will be in touch with you.

Finally, I just received this from a dear friend and the timing was perfect! It’s a great reminder that yes, all of the above is relevant, but so too is this!

No, 2023 won’t be the best year yet.
Nor will it be the worst.
You see, a year is a mosaic of absolutely everything.
Joy, fear, heartache, loss, beauty, pain, love.
Failure, learning, friendship, misery, exhilaration.
Each day, each moment even, is a tiny shard of glass in this beautiful, confusing creation.
2023 will be another mosaic to add to your wall of art.
A wall that shows the life, you are continuously gifted.
A wall that shows you are human.
A wall of survival.
I wish you many broken pieces of glass this year, my friends.
Because this is living.
And before you march on into another year of “everything”, pause to look back, at the work you have created thus far.
It is quite something.
You are quite something.
Now onwards we go, my friends.
Onwards we go.

Donna Ashworth

Good luck and here’s wishing you a great year ahead!

Mojestically yours,