Hey there, Dean here. I run content and SEO at AppSumo. Here, I write and share about productivity, leadership, money, psychology, marketing, and more.
I started writing a letter for the year in review since 2015. It was a newsletter I sent to over 10 readers on this list, who were my friends in real life. You can read my review for the year 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 here.I'm doing this differently this year. Instead of reviewing the year in early December (sometimes even mid-November) and start writing the letter, I let things and thoughts sit through the year, and write this in January.It felt different to me as I was reviewing my 2019 till the very last day compared to how it was done back then.
Cover image: the Disney Wonder cruise at Cozumel, Mexico.
2019 was an excellent year for me. It could possibly be the best year by far. Tons of growth, opportunities, learning, memories, and everything in between that have made life exciting and meaningful.
Life isn't always sunshine and rainbow. Here are the two biggest setbacks and failures I had in 2019.
I used to split this progress rating into four areas. But this year, I'm making it five by finally dividing career and business. They used to be the same thing as my career is my business, but it's no longer the case.Here, I rate each area on a scale from 1 to 10, and they reflect how well I did for that particular area in 2019.
I see my day job as my career, and it has been a fulfilling one. I learned so much at Sumo in 2019 and fortunate enough to have the opportunities to prove my ability in content, marketing, management, and more in a team setting.The two most significant accomplishments are:
As my responsibilities grew at Sumo, I started to neglect this blog. Deep down, I wanted to build it into something significant because:
Unfortunately, I failed big time with this. I didn't write as consistently as I used to be, and I haven't been able to stick to my plans on creating products for you and everyone else here.I did make a few improvements for the blog, for example, the new, faster, more SEO-friendly web design. But overall, these small improvements didn't move the needle at all (they could be the distractions to actual work I need to get done).
I read fewer books in 2019. And I haven't summarized and published any of the reading notes. However, I don't see it as a failure. As I read more, I became very selective about what I read. I wanted to make sure I read good books at the same time, something I can implement to my work and life immediately.Out of everything I read, I found The Little Book of Stoicism transformed the most of my life. It introduces me to the Stoic philosophy at a deeper level (Thanks to Jonas for sending me the book all the way to Malaysia).I took two online courses this year:
I set a goal to learn a new language in 2019, but I did nothing about it — not even one single practice session. Nothing. Nada. It made me realized that learning a new language sounds cool as a goal but wasn't practical for me at this time.
I got back to lifting heavyweight in 2019 and has been making good progress. Here are my heaviest lifts for a 5x5 routine:
Unfortunately, I haven't made it a non-negotiable in my daily life. As I got occupied by my day job and wedding planning, I started to fall off track from the training routine.As for my diet, it hasn't been the focus from the start. Instead, I came up with a simple set of diet rules and managed to stick to them 60% of the time. 60% is far from good so it'll be something to improve in 2020.
I'm officially the husband to my ex-girlfriend, now wife. This alone contributes 7 out of the 10.Aside from my relationship with my wife, I'm most grateful for the new friends I get to know in my Toastmaster club. I get to meet professionals of all ages and all walks of life. Some of them profoundly changed my life:
Last but not least, it's always great to visit Austin and work with everyone at Sumo in person. I get to learn more about Texas and build better personal connections with people in the team, especially Noah Kagan, David Kelly (from SendFox and FAM), Nick Christensen (from AppSumo), and Mitchell Cohen (from OkDork).
As always, I wanted to end this letter of review by saying thank you. Thank you for staying subscribed to my newsletter and reading the inconsistent work I've put out in 2019.I don't have a long list of life lessons for the year 2019. However, I do have a quote for myself in 2020, and I hope it's equally helpful and inspiring for you:
You know what you need to do. You know what you need to know to do them. Now, do them.