2021 hasn't exactly been the year I had hoped for.
Going into 2021, I was hoping for better learning opportunities. I was hoping to go into the wards and learn clinical medicine. I was hoping to improve my fitness. I was hoping to write as many words as I possibly could and publish even more consistently.
We're halfway through 2021, and I don't think I achieved that much. This is why I'm writing out the things I initially planned out for 2021 and seeing how I actually did halfway.
James Clear calls this an Integrity Report:
Six months later, when summer rolls around, I conduct an Integrity Report. Like everyone, I make a lot of mistakes. My Integrity Report helps me realize where I went wrong and motivates me to get back on course. I use it as a time to revisit my core values and consider whether I have been living in accordance with them. This is when I reflect on my identity and how I can work toward being the type of person I wish to become.
My yearly Integrity Report answers three questions:
What are the core values that drive my life and work?
How am I living and working with integrity right now?
How can I set a higher standard in the future?
These two reports don’t take very long—just a few hours per year—but they are crucial periods of refinement. They prevent the gradual slide that happens when I don’t pay close attention. They provide an annual reminder to revisit my desired identity and consider how my habits are helping me become the type of person I wish to be. They indicate when I should upgrade my habits and take on new challenges and when I should dial my efforts back and focus on the fundamentals.
I wrote an annual review for 2020, and I'm still in the midst of writing my integrity report.
It's been a hectic 2021 so far. I'm pretty sure I've burnout plenty of times thanks to the pandemic. My tight academic schedule and the fact that I can't socialise or do sports for the past few months have made me go loco at times.
Focusing on what I can control and ignoring what I can't control does help, as what Stoics teach us. However, I do tend to get affected by the things out of my influence at times. I'm trying to be more deliberate about applying Stoicism in my life, and using reflections such as a mid-year Integrity Report can help.
As I'm writing this, I've been a close contact and quarantined twice. My country still has 5 digit cases. My learning opportunities on the wards have been so limited. Since medical school is my top priority, I've been spending most of my time learning in this limited setting and foregoing my plans to improve my writing and work on some new side-projects.
Even so, I still need to reflect often and ask myself: "How can I use this to my advantage?". That will be a question for me to answer on my integrity report.
Here's my progress so far in 2021.
- Pass 3rd year of medical school with flying colours
I've recently passed my clinical Surgery exam, despite the numerous COVID scares I've had throughout. That means I'm 3/4 done with medical school. While I definitely could do better, I'm going to give myself a pass on this. I couldn't foresee how much COVID affected my learning opportunities. While it's easy to put the blame on things like COVID, I do ultimately believe that the environment you're in plays a big role in how you will achieve your goals. And currently, my environment's not really suitable for learning.
I'm taking it one day at a time, and trying to make the best out of whatever learning opportunity I get. Hoping that my 4th year will be better.
- Write 1 article per week
One of the goals I've managed to stick to consistently, to my surprise. Thanks to a group of friends who keeps me accountable for writing every week, I managed to achieve this. I'm not sure which of the articles I've written are really good, but I guess that's a process I still need to go through as a newbie writer: I need to focus on quantity before quality.
- Read 24 Books
I managed to stick to this goal as well, and I've completed 14 books so far, which is on track. I've managed to do this by having a habit of reading 20 pages in the morning every day.
I'll try to post a proper Integrity Report in a bit!
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