My Brutally Honest 2023 Year-End Review and Reflection

And a powerful free template to help you dissect 2023 and turbocharge 2024

Neeramitra Reddy

--

My YearCompass booklet (All images in this article courtesy of the author)

“You can’t improve what you don’t measure.”

— Peter Drucker

Only by measuring each year can we improve the next. But lost in KPIs and portfolio CAGRs, we miss this crucial measure.

I’m no exception.

Only thanks to my friend Moreno recommending YearCompass (100% free) did I review 2023.

But the exercise proved so insightful that I’m now making this a yearly tradition.

While I used a YearCompass print-out to reflect, I’m digitizing it…

  • To preserve it for posterity — with photos and extra context. Think Google Photos but for year-end reflections.
  • To be brutally honest and vulnerable — to my fresh and long-time readers alike. Too much fake perfectionism FOMO out there.
  • To illustrate the reflection (thought) process for you. Any doubts at any point in the process? Leave a response(s), and I’ll gladly answer them.
  • To provide you a template if you wish to do the same. Copy-paste this article, swap in your reflections, tag me, and hit Publish — “unlist” it if you want to keep it private.

YearCompass is comprehensive and powerful. Sifting through my 2023 review will give you an idea…

But only by doing your own 2023 review will you unlock its true power.

Table Of Contents

· Going Through My Calendar Month-By-Month
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

· This Is What My Last Year Was About
Personal Life, Family
Career, Studies
Friends, Community
Relaxation, Hobbies, Creativity
Physical Health, Fitness
Mental Health, Self-Knowledge
Habits that Define(d) Me
Bettering the World

· Six Sentences About My Past Year
The Wisest Decision I Made…
The Biggest Lesson I Learned…
The Biggest Risk I Took…
The Biggest Surprise of The Year…
The Most Important Thing I Did for Others…
The Biggest Thing I Completed…

· Six Questions About My Past Year
What Am I Most Proud Of?
Who Are the Three People Who Influenced Me the Most?
Who Are the Three People I Influenced the Most?
What Was I Not Able to Accomplish?
What Is the Best Thing I’ve Discovered About Yourself?
What Am I Most Grateful For?

· The Best Moments

· Three of My Biggest Accomplishments
My Three Greatest Accomplishments from Last Year Here.
What Did I Do to Achieve These?
Who Helped Me Achieve These Successes? How?

· Three of My Biggest Challenges
My Three Biggest Challenges from Last Year Here
Who or What Helped Me Overcome These Challenges?
What Have I Learned About Myself by Overcoming These Challenges?

· Forgiveness

· Letting Go

· The Past Year in Three Words

· The Book of My Past Year

· Goodbye to My Last Year

· All This Is Only One-Half of YearCompass…

Going Through My Calendar Month-By-Month

YearCompass: Go through last year’s calendar week by week. If you see an important event, family gathering, friendly get-together, or significant project, write it down here.

Yours Truly: Don’t trust your memory. COMB through your emails, social posts, and diary entries (if any). You’d be surprised by how much you’d have forgotten.

January

  • Hit the 500-article milestone and shared my top tips.
  • Went part-time at my 9 to 5 after an honest 1-on-1 with my manager.
  • Flew for the 1st time in my adult life — I’ll never forget the take-off flight speed and the gorgeous air hostesses.
  • Lost my first-ever Muay Thai fight — and learned valuable lessons.
Look at that raging feeling of loss on my face (Left)

February

Faces blurred (for privacy) in an already blurry photo

March

  • A 2-minute incident made me quit meat for life — the 1st powerful case of hearing and heeding my inner voice.
  • Got Chickenpox, relapsed to p*rn after months, and spiralled into rock bottom.
Sharing the “better” pictures — too ashamed to share the face shots.

April

  • Solved my “multi-niche” newsletter problem using ChatGPT — after months of struggling.
  • As the rut continued, I vented in a scandalizingly honest article. It received gushing support and pulled me back on track.
A response to that brutally honest article which worked wonders for my recovery

May

June

  • Put in my papers at my day job — soon after, my mental and physical health recovered.
  • Launched The 2-Minute Bullet Journal — after 2+ months of painstaking “Design + Feedback + Redesign” iterations.
Photo collage by the author

July

  • A 1 AM NoFap relapse led to registering for Vipassana — which would transform my life.
  • My 9 to 5’s Last Working Day (LWD) turned out to be the best — a moving chat over coffee and fries. I then drove 30+ km to gift my then-girlfriend a kiss and a rose bouquet.
The grave morning seriousness on my LWD turned to nostalgic wonder by evening.

August

September

  • Completed a 10-day Vipassana course — and wrote about the life-changing insights I experientially unlocked.
  • Had the biggest hit of my online writing career — and my income soared past pre-August levels.
  • For the first time, I began doubting if I (want) marriage and/or kids.
My routine and room during the arduous 10-day Vipassana course

October

  • After years of hating and struggling with selling, it finally “clicked”.
  • Switched to serious MMA training after a year of half-assing the gym and Muay Thai.
  • Found my spiritual “Guru” in a persistent online acquaintance. As Tao Te Ching said, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”

November

  • Experienced 5 days of high “all-understanding” consciousness.
  • Broke up with “the love of my life” — my biggest surprise of the year.

December

  • Truly unlocked sales — had my first $1000+ Gumroad month.
  • Lost all interest in fame, power, or money — and the urge to dedicate my life to self-realization first arose.

This Is What My Last Year Was About

YearCompass — We live our lives through distinct but interconnected aspects.
Take a look at the areas below and ask yourself what the significant events in each of them were. Write down your answers.

Yours Truly — Feel free to add/remove/change categories as fit. Also, no need to “fill” every section.

Personal Life, Family

  • Experienced my first true romantic relationship — that too, long-distance.
  • Learned how to play and interact with kids (Used to struggle earlier).
  • Took on and fulfilled substantial familial responsibilities.

Career, Studies

Before and After of The Ultimate Fat-Loss Bundle
  • Gained nearly 25K followers here on Medium.
  • Took over IFAIH, became a Boost Nominator, and expanded my Medium network.

Friends, Community

  • Built multiple communities — for IFAIH’s best writers, publication owners/editors, Medium’s Indian writers, and more. (Respond if you wish to join any of them).
  • Many of my writing idols became WhatsApp acquaintances — all thanks to cold reach-out.
  • Found spiritual and healthy masculine role models — offline and online (Masculine Theory, David Hammond, and Hamza)

Relaxation, Hobbies, Creativity

  • Long-deep conversations with my younger brother — until our mother had to scream us into bed.
  • Spiritually tinged, wholesome conversations at the gym.
  • Began taking 1 day off per week — after 2+ years of working 7 days a week.
  • Relaxing night routine and sleep — in sharp contrast to past insomnia.

Physical Health, Fitness

  • Leveled up my cardio and endurance — all thanks to my MMA workouts.
  • Learned to jump-rope (Speed, single hops, alternating, and more).

Mental Health, Self-Knowledge

  • Overcame the “need” to date and got comfy with being single (Healing credits go to my ex-girlfriend).
  • Overcame years of gym-induced body dysmorphia (All thanks to Muay Thai and MMA).
  • Vaporized deep-rooted negative patterns during Vipassana.
  • Almost broke free of the p*rn hell-hole, but Chicken Pox pushed me back into it.

Habits that Define(d) Me

  • Meditation (First, Sahaj. Now Vipassana)
  • Fitness (Gym + Kickboxing)
  • Writing (Li/𝕏 Posts, Articles, Notes, Journaling, WhatsApp DMs to truth-seeking friends)
One of those epiphanic WhatsApp messages.

Bettering the World

  • Made my free digital self-improvement products better than most paid ones.
  • Wrote 100K words on Medium and 𝕏 to inspire, educate, and enlighten.
  • Gifted life-changing books to close friends — and my unique reading system to my audience.
  • Donated to charitable causes and bought meals for the homeless (kids).

Six Sentences About My Past Year

The Wisest Decision I Made…

Not calling off my relationship when my mother didn’t (initially) approve of my (ex) girlfriend — they grew to love each other months later.

The Biggest Lesson I Learned…

You can have all your plans — but the universe always has other (better) plans.

The Biggest Risk I Took…

Quitting my 9 to 5 job within 2 years of graduating college to “do my own thing.”

The Biggest Surprise of The Year…

Breaking up with “the love of my life.”

The Most Important Thing I Did for Others…

Sacrificed my own social life to regularly take out (time for) my mother.

The Biggest Thing I Completed…

A 10-day Vipassana course — 100 arduous hours of meditation gifted me some deep insights.

Six Questions About My Past Year

What Am I Most Proud Of?

Heeding my inner voice multiple times — quitting meat, my 9 to 5, and material pursuits.

Who Are the Three People Who Influenced Me the Most?

Hamza, my (ex) girlfriend, and David Hawkins.

Who Are the Three People I Influenced the Most?

Vinay Mehta, my (ex) girlfriend, and my mother.

What Was I Not Able to Accomplish?

Quitting p*rn for good, 20K 𝕏/Twitter followers, and 50K Medium followers.

What Is the Best Thing I’ve Discovered About Yourself?

That I value Truth over all else…
That I never wanted the glam and glitz of power, fame, and wealth…
That I’ll sacrifice all-else to this end.

What Am I Most Grateful For?

The privilege to design my life(style) the way I want — I essentially get paid to learn, explore, and experiment!

The Best Moments

YearCompass: Describe the greatest and most memorable, joyful moments from last year. Draw them on this sheet. How did you feel? Who was there with you? What were you doing? What kind of smells, sounds, or tastes do you remember?

Yours Truly: Don’t just recall, RELIVE those memories. Then, jot them down.

  • On a late-night Mumbai drive with my (ex) girlfriend — “You know we’ll get married, right?” I’d quipped as warm joy flooded my body. “Yea? You think so.” her face had beamed with immeasurable joy. “I still want an actual proposal”, she’d pouted.
  • As my mom and (ex) girlfriend giggled in silent glee — all I could feel was joy. “This is all a man could ever want,” I remember feeling with 100% certainty. “What did I do to deserve such a good life?”, I’d reflected.
With the 2 women I love(d) the most
  • On the last day of Vipassana — when we were allowed to speak after 9 days of silent meditation, I felt unreal glee. Hugging each other like long-lost brothers, the erstwhile silent meditators erupted in joy. “What a gift being able to speak was!” I’d wondered.
  • Taking my daughter-like mother out — and her giggly joy at the simplest of things — be it eating good food, silly jokes, or just my time with her. “This is the only person I want to live and die for”, I’d recalled. Productivity, ambition, and “saving time” all seemed meaningless.
  • Meeting my (ex) girlfriend on my 2nd Mumbai trip — all I could care about was kissing, hugging, and caressing her. “Wow, I REALLY love this woman!” I had repeatedly chanted within my mind. Every trip with her was memorable and exhilarating.

Three of My Biggest Accomplishments

My Three Greatest Accomplishments from Last Year Here.

  1. Successfully committing to and completing a 10-day Vipassana course.
  2. Winning over my girlfriend’s parents and convincing my own family.
  3. Quitting my 9 to 5 for good and persevering.

What Did I Do to Achieve These?

  1. Went in with a strong resolve and zero expectations. Sustained with a “One-Day-At-A-Time” mindset.
  2. Trusted my inner voice to not let go of her despite my mother’s vehement warnings.
  3. Deep inner reflection, decision matrices, calculations, discussions, and a leap of faith.

Who Helped Me Achieve These Successes? How?

  1. Memories of my loved ones, my friend’s unquitting presence, and a course-server’s serious meditation helped.
  2. A close friend’s wise counsel and my inner voice helped tons.
  3. Vinay Mehta helped ease the battle in my head — and served as a bouncing board for my ideas, thoughts, and fears.

Three of My Biggest Challenges

My Three Biggest Challenges from Last Year Here

  • A sudden 80% income drop in August right after I quit my job.
  • My mother not accepting my ex-girlfriend at first.
  • A sudden Chicken-Pox-fueled p*rn relapse after I thought I’d defeated it for good.

Who or What Helped Me Overcome These Challenges?

  • Medium friends. Self-trust. A “Wait-and-See” mindset. Trust in Medium itself — and my capability as a writer.
  • A close friend’s encouragement. My trusty inner voice. My grandma’s empathy despite her casteist conditioning.
  • Venting in a brutally honest article. The gushingly positive support it received:
One of the best responses to that article
  • That I (need to) trust myself and give things time. Also, things go wrong when you least expect them to.
  • That I’m way too stubborn and will always heed my inner voice — no matter what others say.
  • That brutal honesty always serves me (and the world) in unimaginable ways.

Forgiveness

YearCompass: Did anything happen during the past year that still needs to be forgiven? Deeds or words that made you feel bad? Or are you angry with yourself? Write it down here. Do yourself good by forgiving.*

P.S. If you don’t feel ready to forgive yet, jot it down anyway. It can work wonders.

  • I forgive my ex-girlfriend for lying about her dating past and revealing it fully only after a year of being together.
  • I forgive my brother for transmitting Chicken Pox to me — which pushed me to rock bottom.
  • I forgive my ex’s friend who tried to poison her against me and our relationship.
  • I forgive my ex-girlfriend for causing almost all of my luxury car’s dents (Not her direct fault, but I’d blamed her nevertheless).
  • I forgive the red-pill gurus who near-destroyed my dating life — helped me get women but made me lose fulfillment.
  • I forgive myself for falling back into p*rn after near-quitting it.
  • I forgive myself for not appreciating my ex-girlfriend’s positives and always criticizing her.
  • I forgive my younger brother for hurting my mother — emotionally and physically.
  • I forgive my mother for not getting along with my grandmother — which is forcing my grandma to stay away from us.
  • I forgive myself for not living up to my potential — or even close.
  • I forgive myself for the self-promises I broke.

Letting Go

YearCompass: Is there anything else you need to say? Is there anything you have to let go of before you can start your next year? Draw or write, then think about it and let it all go.

  • Letting go of my never-satisfied masculine ego that believes it always “deserves better.”
  • Letting go of my ideals of perfection — humans are inherently flawed.
  • Letting go of the shame, guilt, and regret I self-inflicted.
  • Letting go of my fear of commitment — be it crucial work or a romantic partner.
  • Letting go of “rigid rules” and unrealistic self-standards.
  • Letting go of net worth, material, and monetary goals.
  • Letting go of my attachment to self-destructive patterns.
  • Letting go of the belief that important work means “Being busy 24/7.”
  • Letting go of self-criticality and self-beration.
  • Letting go of my attachment to control.

The Past Year in Three Words

Soul, Self-Growth, and Surprises.

The Book of My Past Year

YearCompass: A book or a movie was made about your past year. What title would you give it?

It would be “The Illusion of Certainty.”

Goodbye to My Last Year

YearCompass: If there is anything else left that you would like to write down, or there is anybody you would like to say goodbye to, do it now.

Goodbye to my ego — as of 2024, its dissolution has already started.

Goodbye to all my friends who I had great memories and time in the past with — but with whom I can no longer relate.

Goodbye to material ambitions, self-grandeur, and self-serving illusions.

Goodbye to self-inflicted shame, suffering, and guilt.

Goodbye to the fear of uncertainty and the unknown.

All This Is Only One-Half of YearCompass…

The other half is for visualizing and planning 2024 — which I’m yet to work on.

Even if (and when) I finish it, I’ll keep it private. I’d advise you to do the same — because talking about your goals reduces your likelihood of achieving them!

Tweet that says “Be careful telling people about your goals. It releases dopamine similar to achieving them. Skip the instant gratification. Go quiet and build.”
Screenshot of Dan Koe’s Tweet by the author

Also, it’s best to wait a few hours or days after you finish YearCompass’s reflection half…

So, you process the new insights and come to terms with your recognized patterns. Only post that will you be able to effectively plan and visualize.

In the meantime, consider “digitizing” your reflection as I just did.

Copy-paste this article. Swap out my reflections for yours. Pepper in photos. Enjoy the nostalgia. Then…

  • Tag me and publish it if you want it public.
  • Or “unlist-publish” it if you want to keep it private.

Either way, I wish you a great 2024 — may it bring you and your loved ones the best of health, wealth, and happiness!

--

--

Neeramitra Reddy

Eternal (Un)Learner ✦ 9M+ Views ✦ Connecting Dots and Souls ✦ For 360° holistic self-improvement → manximize.com ✦ 📧 neeramitra.writes@gmail.com