New year resolution for the year 2017

I have decided to record down my new year resolution for 2017 so that throughout the year and even beyond, I can look back to see how my progress is and any way of improving it. I have decided to record them in 2 tiers. The first tier will be a generic overview of the things that I would like to achieve and the second tier will be my proposed way of achieving them. This way, I will record the steps I would like to take and see if they are effective in achieving the goals which I have set out to accomplish for 2017.

Work

This has been a constant headache/worry for me. I see the people all around me progressing but I feel that I am getting nowhere. For this new year, I plan to stick to what I want to do. I have tried listening to people at church, but it is really ridiculous. I do not feel happy at my current work situation at all. My girlfriend does not agree with what I want to do, but I feel that this is my own pursuit of happiness, and something which I really want to do. I don’t know where this will lead me, but this is what I can think of doing at this present moment in time. I have decided to do whatever I want to do.

What does this mean in terms of my planning? I plan to apply for a trading job in March. The trading job aligns with my view of the world and outlook on work. The world similar to the financial markets is a cruel and harsh place and it is the same as to fight for what you want. There is an online course and trading simulation. At the end of 4-6 weeks, they will decide whether or not to take me in. In the interim time, I plan to read up more on the traded products and learn more about trading. At the same time, I will look for jobs to apply to as well. It is better to be on the look out and find another job as well just in the event that I do not qualify for the trading job. I don’t know what the future holds so I don’t want to think that I will definitely get the trading job. I have been disappointed too many times and I wish to have some back up plan. That’s all I can say for now, as I don’t have a crystal ball to peer into the future. If there’s anything to say, is that the work prospects look bleak, but I have to give it my all and try my best. Because if I don’t do so, nobody else will care. I will have to do it myself.

Interests

I will probably divide this into 3 sections. Will start with computer games first. Think that there are quite a number of upcoming games which I would like to play, and I need to ensure that I do not get too engrossed in playing games. Many a times I wish myself were in the gaming world and that were reality instead of what I have right now, and being in a gaming world is a good distraction and escape but I need to bear in mind that sadly, this is the reality and not the game world, so I need to control my time spent on playing games. Currently am replaying the Witcher 3 with expansion set, see how long I take to finish. The other game releases in 2017 are tentative anyway and I guess see how it goes.

Secondly is music – keyboard lessons. I plan to try this again after the Japan trip in January, which means I aim to kick start this again in February. I need to not think so much in terms of the costs as my gym payment should be finishing soon and that will free up some free cash flow which I can use to channel to pay for the lessons instead. Hopefully I can get back the same instructor as last time and to allocate some time and energy for this.

Lastly – martial arts. This is something which I have always put on a back burner alongside keyboard lessons. This one is trickier than the keyboard lessons. Main considerations are money, time and tiring (ie I’m lazy). Haha, will see how I organize my time first. Might be the case that I’m trying to do many things at the same time.

Love/Relationships

For the new year, I plan to be a better boyfriend and to love and care for my girlfriend more and more. Honestly I have many things to work on and they are summarized in the below points : to have better communication so that she can understand my words and meaning, better understand her, speak more honestly about what I think and feel and to lead her better spiritually. They are not going to be easy but these should lead to a better relationship. Also, sometime soon I need to plan for a ring and proposal.

For family and friends, same as always, to spend more time with them. I guess especially so for family, I feel that I have not shown enough care and love to them. I think this needs to be a conscious effort, as it doesn’t seem like a natural thing to do, but it is something that I must do. As time passes, my parents are not getting younger, and eventually one day, they will be no longer around. Likewise for my brother, as he starts working as a lawyer officially and he start his own family, we won’t see each other that often. I really do need to be mindful of this and take note.

Health/Physical fitness 

Same as everybody elses’ new year resolution to be fitter in the new year, I am no exception. In addition, I have decided to flesh out physical goals which can be seen and met. I have signed up for Men’s Health Urbanlathon 2017 and I also aim to achieve silver for my 2017/18 ippt window. How do I go about to achieve my goals? Assuming I still have my current slack work schedule, I aim to workout (ie go to the gym) at least twice a week and go running or do some cardio activity once a week. For my ippt, I will need to work on doing more push-ups and train my running.

As for my health, I hope that I am still healthy by God’s grace. The thing which is slowly seemingly to cause me trouble are my knees but this is really something which I cannot control. There are many stories out there which have perfectly health people who have been stricken by some terrible illness or disease. People who eat very healthily or exercise regularly can get cancer while people who smoke regularly or gorge on food and alcohol stay healthy. It doesn’t make sense but that’s how the world is. It just doesn’t make sense and so this is not within my control but is entirely up to God’s will for me.

Finances

This one is going to be tricky. I have big item expenditure and losses from FX trading this year so I did not save as much as I liked and I actually dipped into my savings from previous year. Hopefully, I do not end up net loss for 2017. I aim to formally track my savings and to do better in terms of recording for this year. I aim to save at least $1,200 per month, which should total up rounded to $15,000 savings by the end of 2017. This will include savings from my earned income and dividends received. I will probably still take losses from FX trading but I suppose I need to further limit my trading. I have decided not to pump in further cash into my trading account at this moment and focus more on the learning aspect of things. This should help to hone my trading acumen and not place so much emphasis on trying to earn FX profit from this. I also have tracked my monthly expenditures, and I aim to bring it down over the course of next year. It will be difficult, but i need to be more discipline. I know that even if I do achieve the aim of saving $15,000 next year, my overall savings is still quite little. This is something I can’t help but as everyone says, Rome is not built in a day. I need to start somewhere, brick by brick. I need to be patient and persevere in this.

Spirituality 

To be honest, this is a constant struggle. It is always difficult to read the bible and pray on a consistent basis, especially with my current state of mind and thinking about how the world works and God. To me there is a huge disconnect between what is said in the bible and what is happening in the world, and I struggle a lot to reconcile that. This is going to prove difficult but I must persevere in this, because Jesus is the one true God, and this is the only way for salvation. Things are not too good at church and bible study group, really status quo. At least I have someone to talk to on a monthly basis regarding christian stuff. But I can only rely on myself for this. I have to get through this. Hoping to see if there is opportunity to go for baptism next year. See how things go and is dependent on God’s will for me.

Knowledge/Worldview/Readings

This is yet another area which I can further improve in. I need to find the motivation to read more consistently and also to read a greater variety of books. In 2016, I have been reading mainly  investment/trading books but I hope to read a greater variety in 2017, such as more Christian books, non-fiction and fiction books as well. I won’t set a hard rule on how many books I read per quarter as I think this should be a leisure activity and so we shall see how it goes. Hopefully I will be able to diversify my reading a bit. I also hope to be able to read up on things which I need to know and perhaps take up some Coursera courses to learn more about things. This one requires further looking into.

I really hope to be able to travel more in the world. Looking into my passport in preparation for the upcoming Japan trip, I realized I have not really traveled much. This is mainly limited by my number of leaves and my disliking to spend much. However, I do think that travelling distresses and clears your mind to learn more about the world and to remember that I am but a small thing in this large world. Hopefully 2017 will be a better year for me in terms of this. For now, will probably have to rely on YouTube videos to “travel” the world with my virtual eyes.

Others

As per each year, I would like to be a better person, someone who is useful and can contribute to society. But I know that deep down, I am not a good person. Everyday I feel the rage during rush hour, when things go against me, etc. I feel stressed and angry inside. Despite this, I believe that this is something good to strive towards each year despite failing, same as Christianity. This is a jumbled mess as it seems that quite a number of things are connected, like my mood, to my thinking, to how I feel at the moment, etc. Honestly speaking, this is as specific as I can get as I haven’t got a faint clue of what practical steps I can take to achieve this. I can only hazard a guess as to what I can do to improve my current situation:

Stress/Mood:

Probably need to take more deep breathes to calm down, listen to calming/soothing music and perhaps take nature walks to get away from things and need to allocate time alone for myself.

Confidence:

I knew long ago that I don’t have much confidence in myself. This is not helped by the meagre achievements I have done. I need to trust myself more, and not be affected so easily. I realize that I constantly doubt myself and this does not help me at all. Course of action for this? Unclear. I have no idea what I can do to increase my confidence in myself. Watch more YouTube videos?

Contributions to society:

This is something which I perhaps have been procrastinating or so with work sucking the life out of me. Even without it, I can’t say I’m doing much nice things to care for my family. Probably should try to show more attention and care to my parents, especially since they are not getting any younger. Might perhaps also try to do some volunteering activity of some sort and set up some donation thing so that at least someone can benefit from the monetary contribution.

That’s all for my 2017 new year resolution. Preferably I should do a quarterly or semi-annual review to see how I’m faring against what I set out to do for the year but we shall see how it goes. Anyways, happy 2017 everyone!

Reflections for the year 2016

It’s nearly the end of 2016 and we are a couple of days away from ushering the new year of 2017. As the year 2016 draws to a close, it usually the time to take stock of how things were and to set new year resolutions for the new year. Naturally, being the inward soul-searching guy that I am, I too reflect on my life for the past year and plan/set resolutions for 2017.

Life can sometimes be complicated and at times simple. As such, I have decided to break life down into several components (with possibly some sub-sections) in order to simply and reflect on things. Without further ado, here are my reflections on the 8 life components which I have broken down to for the year 2016, in no order of importance to me.

Work

As mentioned in my rant post previously, not much as changed for work and I feel trapped in it. Stuck in my job situation and my thinking. Well, no point wallowing in self-pity. Really need to put in more effort to find the job that suits me and place lesser emphasis on what people from church say. Need to sustain the drive as well, and not to give in and give up.

Interests

Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have made much progress in this area. I seem to have lost interest in my previous recreational interests which I am not sure if it is due to my condition, or something else. I feel that my thinking of work is affecting this or my mental condition is the cause of this but I definitely have not been spending much time on recreational interests. What are they? They include playing computer games, maybe some martial art? Or playing the keyboard? And playing board games. Apart from board games which I managed to find time to do so, I have not been allocating time to do the abovementioned activities. Guess I really do need to organise and use my time more efficiently. I suppose I say that every year but this is really easier said than done. Need to come up with a concrete plan to use time more efficiently in 2017.

Love/Relationships 

For my love life, this has been yet another year of ups and downs, but at the end of the year, I’m still glad to say that both my girlfriend and I are still happily in a relationship and working to make things work. Despite the many misunderstandings and arguments, we pushed through them, and at the end of the year, I must say that it is still good to have her by my side. Through them, we manage to somewhat better understand each other and hopefully will keep doing so over the years to come. I still feel that she has a very high expectation of a boyfriend and in my personal opinion, I feel that I failed to live up to her expectations. She disagrees with quite a fair number of things I think or do and I still remember the sting of her words when we argue but these are things which I need to drop and not be too affected by that. Hopefully things will get better as time passes. At the end of the day, it is really still good to have her by my side and she is a nice girlfriend to me.

For my family, I am still thankful for them and I wish that I can treasure the time we have more often. Watching my girlfriend interact with her family and hearing stories of friends about family made me realized that perhaps I do not treasure my family as much as I should and I do need to make full use of the time that I have with them. My parents are not getting younger and my brother is moving on soon into a new phase of life – beginning work and progressing towards marriage. It is getting increasingly difficult to find time to gather together for a meal. I need to be more appreciative and treasure the time that we have remaining.

For my friends, I know I have been spending less and less time with them. As life progresses, people will have many other commitments in life and will drift apart. This is a part of life and I am no exception to that. With time as a limited resource, I have to make a decision to spend my time between conflicting choices of time and deciding to put my girlfriend first has made it harder to spend time with friends. But I suppose this is life. I can only hope to do better in this area in future despite an increasing amount of time to other commitments due to different phases of life.

Health/Physical fitness

I’ve been putting on weight around my waistline and thighs but apart from that, thank God that things are generally still fine. I’ve not had gout as previously suspected and I managed to pass my IPPT on my first try. I have not been exercising as much as I would have liked and my left knee is starting to give me problems again after some light runs. I should probably do more to take care of my knee.

Finances

This is an area which I have not been managing well in 2016 due to my various misadventures. I have not had an increment in earnings, and I have not been able to increase my savings. I may not be able to control my cash inflow from salary but I should do more in keeping track of my cash outflow. I have started to keep track via the app Wally and hopefully will lead to better monitoring in 2017. Perhaps I should do a quarterly post as well to hold myself accountable to my spendings. In addition, I have spent money on a financial modeling course which yielded nothing beneficial, lost money on FX trading and planning to go for a Japan trip in January next year. Despite a slight offset from investment dividends and capital gains, the overall is still a cash outflow and I’ve had to dip into savings from previous years to make up for the shortfall. I will have to focus more on my expenditure and minimise my trading loss as I am still learning.

Spirituality 

This is an area which is very difficult to measure, but it is definitely one area which I struggle a lot in and it is on every years new year resolution but somehow at the end of the year, I don’t seem to have accomplished much. That is to strive to be a better Christian and to walk closer to God. Well at the very least, I am thankful and grateful that I am still a Christian at the end of this year. I feel that I have a it of anger and resentment at my life and possibly God, and am keenly aware that I am not really living a life that a Christian is called too. It is really difficult to do so but the consolation is that I am still struggling in this and wanting to be a Christian. In Q4 of 2016, I have started reading a book with someone from church and this has helped to keep me somewhat grounded, and leading me to spend a couple of minutes a day to read the bible which I have not done so previously during the year. My girlfriend also initiated to start praying for me at the beginning of each workday. I will be hopeful for what 2017 brings with regards to this aspect.

Knowledge/Worldview/Readings

I have not managed to keep pace with the number of books I have bought so far and have not read up on all the things which I wanted to find out more about. Somehow, I’ve not had the mood nor the motivation to sustain me throughout the year and it has been dependent on my mood to do so. Hope that I can change this next year. Also, am excited to explore Japan next year and learn more. Through such trips and more recently via YouTube clips of Conan O Brien’s travels to Berlin, Korea and Cuba, I am reminded of how small I am and how big the world is. There is really quite a lot to explore and I would like to embark on an adventure to do some exploring. Of course I am not as adventurous as my friend who has made it her goal to visit 2 new places each year, but it would definitely be good to explore and to broaden my horizon and open my eyes more to the world instead of being narrowly fixated in the bubble that is Singapore. Perhaps by doing so, I will be more appreciative of my surroundings and what I have in Singapore.

Others 

I seem to have lost sight of my purpose of wanting to earn a lot of money. It seems that it is really easy to lose sight of things when many things swirl around you and you are distracted by many things that demand your immediate attention. I will need to reiterate my goal so that I do not lose sight of things. I hope to be a useful member to the human race. As such, I would like to earn more money so that I am able to donate or contribute to those who are less fortunate or need it more. So far, I know I have not exactly done anything to contribute to this goal but I need to keep focus on this and not lose sight of it. I still aim to be a better person and hopefully I can work towards it as the years go by.

Well, that’s all for my reflection on the year 2016. I have not accomplished much this year but I can only look forward to the new year as there is nothing I can do about the lost time and I will put in effort to make 2017 a more fruitful year. I will probably do another post on my new year resolution for 2017. Stay tune!

Walking Dead – Thoughts/Reflections on work (part 1)

It has been a while since I last blogged about anything. The world is making history every single day with notable events such as Brexit, Donald Trump becoming president, and yet for myself, life is still much the same. As we near the end of 2016, I feel that I need to write down my thoughts on work. This was sparked by the online application form which I needed to fill up for a job position I applied for and it was a question on how many months have I worked for.

As I thought about it, I started work in Oct 2012, and now that it is coming to the end of 2016, I have worked for approximately 4 years, and yet have nothing to show for at the end of it. I did not manage to save the amount I expected to save, I did not make much progress in terms of career progression, and no purpose to work in life.

To sum up my work experience so far, I have worked for 3 different companies, worked in 5 different roles, and only had a single pay raise of $16 when I worked longer than a single year at a position (and the pay raise is not even at my current job). In case you are wondering, all my job have been contract jobs so far. Things are getting rough in Singapore, with its economy stalling and not doing well in the current economic climate, it is difficult to get a long term stable job. Even so, the initial bunch of colleagues who started work around me have gone on to find permanent jobs during the same 4 years while I drifted along, from job to job. Sometimes, I wonder if there is just something wrong with me, that I am the only one unable to find a stable job. Well, people say that be fortunate to have a job. It is true, and I guess that’s a relative thing. To know that you are fortunate, you are inevitable comparing yourself to someone in a less fortunate position in order to know that you are in a better position. Anyways, when my boss told me that during my contract annual review, it doesn’t exactly inspire me to want to do my best for my current job. As such, I am perpetually late for work, and really don’t feel the need to push for things in the work arena.

In any case, I digressed. “Walking dead” basically summarizes how I feel about my work currently. I wake up every morning not wanting to start the day and go to work. I take my own time to shuffle to office, and look forward to the end of the day to return to my own room. This process repeats itself everyday. There is no end in sight. Apologies, but this is going to be a rant post but I suppose I need an outlet to organize my thoughts and let off some steam. It mainly boils down to 2 reasons why I feel this way.

Lack of Interest in Job Scope

My current job scope is a Business Analyst at a local bank. It sounds fanciful but it has nothing to do with the bank business side or Front Office. It mainly consists of gathering user requirements when they want to implement some changes in the source system, and writing out the functional specification documents and then performing UAT on the systems. This is not what I wanted to do when I studied Finance and Economics years ago. I suppose that no one really does what they study and having an interest/passion in one’s job is not a necessity but a luxury, but I feel that I am not able to accept this. As work takes up such a huge amount of your time, doing something I do not enjoy does not make me look forward to living and to begin the day. This does not make me feel alive and I feel like a part of me dying everyday. A lot of people at church tells me that the idea of work is just a means to put food on the table and that is God’s plan but I do not agree with this view at all. I have tried to accept this thinking and my job but it does not work for me. The longer I do this, the more I am convinced that I am unable to do this for the rest of my working life. I am not entirely sure, but it might also be due to the fact of the lack of career progression/direction which caused me to feel this way towards my current job.

Lack of Career Progression/Direction

It is difficult to feel there is progression or direction in terms of career when all my jobs so far have been contract jobs, and there is also no reward for loyalty to the company. As a contractor, there is only so much you can try to learn by yourself and there is no annual review of your work or any sort. A contractor is just like a mercenary, you go to whoever pays you. My multiple job-hopping has been more of desperation rather than progression, as the departments that I have been in are redeployed overseas or undergoing massive restructuring. As I speak, even in my current role, they are decommissioning the database that my department is in charge of and slowly restructuring/dismantling the team. This results in me being lost and disillusioned, feeding into the loop that I can’t accept this. It doesn’t help that there is no increment for staying on longer in the company, no bonus for contract completion and only 12 days of annual leave per year, which is sad. There is just no motivation to work hard as there is no satisfaction or end goal to reward your effort or a job well done.

There are many times I do wonder, like why do the people around me seem able to find at the minimum permanent jobs and at least are able to enjoy the benefits while I am unable to do so? They may not be totally passionate about their jobs but at the very least, they have the benefits of being a permanent staff to enjoy. Is there something wrong with me or am I just always at the wrong place at the wrong time? I don’t seem to have luck at clearing the interview hurdles as well as most of the interviews I have gone to, I have not been offered positions while I see my friends going for seemingly less interviews than me getting offers. Is there really something wrong with me?

Well, that’s the end of my ranting. I guess the more important question is what to do from now on. I can continue to rant and feel sorry for myself but that is not going to help me move forward. As a new year beckons, I should really start to think even harder about what I can do. There is even greater pressure with each passing week and month as there is wedding, and family to start thinking about. It is really frustrating. After typing this, I realise I sound like a spoilt brat, whining and complaining just because things don’t go my way. Okay, nobody is going to care about how I feel. What’s more important is how do I react to the situation. Also, I suppose that it does not matter that much what others say as they are not in my position and probably do not understand me. This is something I need to know, to really place less weight on what older people from church say. It feels like church people have it wrong in a couple of things, not just pertaining to this.

Anyways, I really do need to put a lot more effort and thought into planning what I need to do for 2017 if not I will not get anywhere. Really need to find a way to sustain my energy reserve and also the drive to push me to forward. I suppose that will be for another post but it really does make me feel better to have written this post out. That’s all for now, will try to rush out a couple more posts soon in the near future.