Review of 2017 Goals

At the end of 2015 I organised a simple goal setting session with friends and family. We did it again in 2016. At the end of 2017 I did one small circle with family, so here’s my very late review of my goals in 2017, with an update for 2018 goals too.

Reflections on my goals for 2017

Qualify for and do the 20-day Vipassana course

The intention behind this goal was to complete two remaining 10-day courses that would then qualify me to apply for the 20-day course. I completed one 10-day course this year but did not do the second, and therefore haven’t qualified for the 20-day course either. My general feel was that self-guided solitary retreats were a better way for me to practice so this specific goal of attending Vipassana retreats fell by the wayside as I prioritised the solitary retreats instead.

Self-organised 8-week retreat with B. Alan Wallace

This retreat with Lama Alan was from early April to late May and I was following along the retreat via daily podcast. It wasn’t quite ‘retreat conditions’ because I was still teaching and being very active. Later that year at the end of July I started a 65-day retreat, which began with a 10-day course at Amaravati and then went straight into a solitary retreat until the end of September. This was planned alongside my friend Anish, who also did a solitary retreat at the same time, although I was in Hertfordshire and he was in Devon. It’s the longest I’ve ever meditated continuously before. I’m still working on a detailed write up of the experience – and what my heart is pulling me to next.

Lead 5 urban weekend retreats in people’s homes

I only led 2 out of the 5 for this goal. One Cultivating Emotional Balance weekend retreat at Raf’s home in Leyton and then a 5-day retreat at Rye with Jess. There was also the youth circle, although it wasn’t a whole weekend.

On a related note, I did attend a weekend ServiceSpace retreat hosted by Joserra, Miki and the many other amazing volunteers. There was also the one-day retreat at Ani’s with Nipun.

I also was so grateful to have attended the ZEGG Forum workshop, held by Ina and Achim. It was probably one of my most intense experiences in life so far, with the subsequent days after filled with super super vivid dreams. Such a powerful and healing process they’ve developed over the years. About a week after the ZEGG workshop, I attended Ash Bardo, which was my first co-created event of this size. It seemed like a mini version of Burning Man (which I’ve only heard about, never been) with 150 people. The world is filled with seriously amazing people. These two events I know I’ll end up exploring much more in depth in the future, but for 2018 my focus is very specific.

Urban Nomad: Live outdoors in London for 7 consecutive nights, super flexible paid work, monthly expenses <£200/month

I created an ‘urban nomad master note’ that ended up being a pretty exhaustive list/how-to for this kind of lifestyle. I have almost all the gear I need to do this effectively and sustainably for the long-term. Suvajra also gifted me The Enlightened Vagabond which made me so inspired to continue moving towards a life like this. It’s definitely a bit nuts.

This goal has been on my mind for probably years now. I’ve spent a few nights sleeping out, one night with my friend Harry too (although that was in 2016). I’ve also been meditating outside more and more – it’s amazing how warm you can get even in the winter with just a blanket trapping your body heat.

The reason this goal is taking me so long is that this isn’t an endurance test or a 30-day challenge to raise money for charity. It’s a new way of life that I’m trying to craft – a blend of renunciate sadhus or wandering yogis with digital nomad entrepreneurs of the 21st century and the disciplined communities of monks and nuns.

Gandhi saying “my life is my message” really hits home for me. With a lifestyle like this, what is the message I want to share?

But I have to live like that first and really get to know it as true for myself first before I can blab such sentences.

Regarding the less than £200/month thing – my hunch is that I can live on less. Why live on so little? Because it is much easier to reduce spending than to increase income. The lower I can make the ‘enough’ figure to be, the lower the lump sum capital needed to fully retire for the rest of my life. Most people overestimate how much capital they need to save up before they can retire. It’s soooooo possible! For example, if I can live on a mere £200/month (£2,400/year) I would only need a lump sum of 20x/25x my yearly expenses to retire on, £48,000-£60,000. Early retirement (extreme) means I can free up my precious, non-renewable time capital and allocate it to the things that truly matter to me (aka Buddhadharma and helping everyone become Buddha’s!)

Write 25+ articles

That’s a big part of what this year’s focus will be on – writing. (And meditating). Those two only. I’m seeing the truth of what Cal Newport calls ‘deep work‘. I just can’t create anything worthy of posting if I don’t put in the undistracted and uninterrupted hours. Nor can I realistically believe I can realise anything that radically shifts my perspective on reality in such a way that it never reverts back to my old default patterns – aka enlightenment, if I don’t put in the deep work.

The Dalai Lama meditates 4 hours per day, and does an extra 3 hours of practice simultaneous with his other daily actions. Every day. This is a person who is fully booked years in advanced, with an audience of millions and responsibility like nothing I can imagine. Yet he’s still able to find time to put in the work. Likewise my teacher Alan Wallace will put in at least 7 hours of formal meditation practice per day, yet is still able to teach full-time around the world and has authored 40+ books and counting.

Another example I like is Derek Sivers. He has purposefully designed a life where he can write/create/code/learn for upwards of 12+ hours per day, 6 days a week. With his philosophy of ‘Hell Yeah!’ or no he crafted a lifestyle where he can spend months working on a single project non-stop until it is done. Like his Now project or the tons of books, articles and viral talks he has created.

These people really inspire me. But what they’ve done is not by chance – they’ve made deliberate choices in their life that allows them to be so creative and productive.

Do 1 public talk

Not yet :-/. I wanted to do this on the Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind, which would be related to my article on Death, Dying and Rebirth but I haven’t finished that series yet! Wah!


Archival Purposes: Ten Year and Lifetime Goals

Adding this here even though they haven’t changed much from when I wrote them in 2016/17. They might change though, so it’d be nice to have a log somewhere.

Ten Year Goals – by 2027

Lifetime Goals


Do you write yearly goals? Comment below, I’d love to read them if you do.

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