My 2020 in review 📆

A year full of self-discovery

When I started 2020, like many, I had set goals and resolutions for myself. But when I began goal setting for 2021, I realized that I failed to achieve most of my goals for 2020. So, I reached out to Kavir on Twitter because I highly resonated with his Tweets to seek help with goal setting and I received fabulous advice on doing a review of the year to better understand myself, my goals, and what has impacted me the most. I have used Kavir’s framework and Troy Shu’s template to structure my thoughts and review my 2020.

Health 🧠

Emotional Well-being

Like most years I started 2020 with a very positive mindset and pumped up to achieve my wildest dreams. But when I graduated in the middle of a pandemic, facing an extremely competitive job market my mental health started deteriorating. This was the time I was living by myself and instead of finding an escape from my thoughts, I decided to dive deeper and find out the reason behind my feelings. After introspection, I realized that I have been raised in a competitive environment where I had to be the best, be it studies, sports, or any activity I participated in. Basically, I was trying to be as rich as Jeff Bezos, as good-looking as Tom Cruise, and as charming as Dwayne Johnson which was very overwhelming and stressful. I cannot compete with their strongest suits, I would rather compete with myself and this realization has changed the game for me. I am glad to have found a job in the middle of a pandemic and work with a very supportive team (my manager is the BEST) which has affected my emotional well-being positively. Since the last two months, I have formed nice habits of reading regularly, meditating frequently, journaling, tracking my sleep time, and counting my calories.

Reading Atomic Habits by James Clear and following really smart people on Twitter has helped me to work on my habits and increase my productivity.

Physical Well-being

I have always enjoyed staying outdoors either playing cricket or basketball or working out at the gym but due to the lockdown, I was not able to do either of those things. Around July I was in the worst shape of my life at 78 kgs with a body fat of 14%. That’s when I started running 3 miles a day with a friend but I did not enjoy running and stopped after 2 weeks. Luckily the gyms opened and I was excited to get back at it but they shut it down soon and to reduce my weight I began tracking my calories and significantly reduced the intake to 1500 Kcal. I really enjoy playing sports and working out so I believe it’s not going to be a lot of a hassle to get back to what I like doing. However, I am targeting a single-digit body fat percentage before my birthday which is in 5 months from now, and become flexible. This is going to be challenging yet fun.

Career 👨🏼‍💻

I had taken multiple classes related to machine learning, statistics, and analytics and I found data science very interesting but the job market was very varied. You had to pick jobs related to machine learning, data engineering/business intelligence, or product data science. You cannot do everything and to prepare for each area was exhaustive. I was lucky to stumble upon Emma’s blog and get clarity on the skills required for breaking into Data Science. I highly recommend subscribing to her YouTube channel as she shares details about interviews, networking, and developing skills for data science. I had an interview with Zoro in April but they decided to hire internally, I kept in touch with them and they reached out to me with an opportunity in September to work as a Merchandising Analyst. This year I started my first full-time role remotely and I feel all my worries have settled down. My role is in the business team and I operate somewhere in the intersection of product, data, and automation to build a scalable solution to collect and enrich product information.

I have also worked on a couple of side projects:

  1. Building a Disaster response Web-Application

  2. Will Your Education Pay You Well?

  3. How to Identify Potential Customers Among the Crowd?

No one can compete with you on being you. This year I am going to focus on learning and building things I am genuinely passionate about - sports, product data science, game theory, and startups that have disrupted the traditional models (Airbnb, Uber, Doordash)

Ultralearning by Scott Young has changed my outlook towards learning and I am confident I can delve into unchartered territories whether or not I have the right background.

Relationship 👩🏼‍🤝‍🧑🏼

Although I did not see my family this year, I have gotten closer to them. Regular video calls with my sister and my mom kept me sane. I know my family is not perfect, but this year I have learned to appreciate them as they are. I am excited to see them for my graduation in 2021 and visit NYC and Florida with them.

When it comes to friends, I noticed that I have a lot of friends but not a lot of them are close friends. Also, I realized that I enjoy hanging out with a small group and get to know them on a personal level. I had some toxic friends who used to get jealous and brought a lot of negative vibes and thanks to covid I have gotten rid of them. This year I am going to keep my ego aside, make the first move and reach out to people I genuinely care about, and dive deeper instead of going broader!

It’s been quite long since I actually dated and I was too occupied with myself to even consider dating. I have spoken to several potential mates but rejected the idea of dating because I get bored of them or judge them based on their appearances. As I want a lot from myself, I expect a lot from my potential partner and that’s one of the reasons I have not dated anyone. I need to go beyond looks and look for an emotional connection and availability. Also, another excuse I gave myself was that I am in grad school and I am looking for a job so I do not have time. But now that I have a job and I am emotionally stable, I will go out on more dates, explore various relationships and go beyond beauty!

Fun 🤟🏼

As I am writing this, I have noticed that fun and learning are interconnected for me which is not necessarily bad but the problem is I don’t do things for the sake of it or just for the pleasure but for competing and winning. This year I want to do things just for pure fun and without seeking any benefits. I have never been a reader in my life, but surprisingly I found my type of books and was able to read around 10 books this year. I played a lot of PubG and chess in the first half of 2020 then I felt guilty for wasting a lot of time. I did watch a fair number of movies and TV shows, The Last Dance and The Queen’s Gambit being my favorite. I enjoyed watching NBA and my favorite NBA player (LeBron James) winning The Championship made 2020 joyful. Lastly, I treated myself to a trip to Phoenix - Vegas - the Grand Canyon - Sedona and it’s one of the nicest places I have ever been to.

I colored my hair blonde and now I am moving to Chicago, taking the New Year, New Me very seriously 😛

People that have inspired me the most this year:

  1. Naval Ravikant

  2. Linda Zhang

  3. Jeff Li

  4. Troy Shu

  5. Emma Ding

  6. Steph Smith

  7. Kelly Peng

What are the things that have impacted you the most in 2020? I hope each one of you achieves your goals and fulfills your wildest dreams and do not forget to have fun!

If you are interested in learning what I am up to in 2021, please subscribe to my newsletter or follow me on Twitter