2023 Review — A year of growth and friendships

Suraj 2023

2023 was a year full of new learnings and friendships. It was a good year, but a busy year. It initially took a toll on my relationships and family, but some deliberate actions allowed me to feel closer to my family than ever before.

Note: The point of these year reviews (starting today) is to document my biggest learnings and experiences from the past year. It is for me to remember what was going on with me in the past years, and simultaneously, I hope, you can take away some lessons to improve your life.

One thing I would like to mention right away is the change in my relationship with my family.

Family

I have stayed away from my family since age 4 or 5 when I joined a boarding school. I wouldn’t say that I am not attached to them but I never really felt very close to them because I only talked with my family a few times a week. That too was when my mother called me.

On a random day when my mother called me, I asked her “How do you remember to call me so much?” She said: “Because you never do.”

That hit me.

I really didn’t talk to my parents on my own. I very rarely called my parents. My mother, on the other hand, always did.

By this point, I had already been following my calendar strictly and scheduling everything.

I then decided to schedule a “Talk to family” slot on my calendar.

Since then I have been talking to my parents when my parents call me, but what is new is that I have also been calling them myself every weekend from 9 AM to 10 AM.

I don’t talk to them for the entire 1 hour of scheduled time but I talk to them for a good amount of time and I cannot tell you how much better I feel after doing this.

It’s such a simple thing but it has had an amazing impact on my relationship with my family.

Lesson: Make a conscious effort to stay in constant touch with your family. It may not mean much to you but it can put a genuine smile on your parent’s faces

Friends

Another significant in 2023 was friendships. I think 2023 was a single year when I made so many friends.

Of course, most of the friends and acquaintances I made, left. But some of them stayed, and that is what I value more.

First was my team: Team Explore Idea.

Even though I had started working with them in 2022, 2023 brought me closer to them.

I had never thought I would make any “friends” during my high school but as it turns out, I did.

We also went on several trips, one to a place called Bethanchowk, then a few hikes, and most recently to Lumbini which is the birthplace of Lord Buddha (for my international readers).

It was a fun time.

Inspired by my action and the result of calling my family every week, I also started calling my childhood friends Taran and Anant every now and then.

I met them as well after several years, it felt nice.

Lesson: Don’t wait for your friends to take the lead to call you or plan outings. You should do that instead. Take the initiative. Strengthen your friendships.

Side Hustles

This was an exciting year for my primary side hustle ​High Approach​.

The traffic on my website went up around 120% from around 31,000 page views per month to around 69,000 page views per month.

My domain authority also increased to 19 (previously 7). That’s a significant improvement.

The interesting part is that I had not written articles for several months, only dropping a few articles once every 2-3 months.

But still, the site kept performing well.

The major reason for this was my initial time and effort investment in building this passive source of income.

I didn’t try to take any shortcuts. That is why even after 3 major Google Algorithm Updates, my site survived and kept thriving when many websites and blogs were hit and dipped in traffic.

I made a little over $908 this year. Not a lot but okay for my needs.

I was literally making money while sleeping and no exchange of time for money.

I also redesigned my personal website SurajC.com, which now looks a lot better than the previous black-and-white vibe.

Lesson: Don’t run behind shortcuts. Follow the boring and give it your best. Or as one of my friends put it, “If you are honest with your work, things just fall into place.”

Health & Fitness

2023 was above average for fitness.

I cycled regularly for the first half of 2023 and then kept doing 15-30 pushups every day for the second half.

I had to use reminders for the pushups but it works, so why not?

I also reduced my tea, coffee, soda, and fast food intake.

It feels weird but I have turned from the “iced-americano guy” to the “lemon tea guy.”

The daily pushups have been very helpful in keeping me active and healthy.

Lesson: Do some physical activity every day, even if it’s a 30-minute walk, some cycling, or even some pushups.


2024 Goals

I would’ve added a “How I did on 2023 goals” section but I didn’t really have any concrete goals for the past year.

I will now.

My 2024 goals:

  1. Learn to drive a car — I recently got my bike license and now I want to learn how to drive a car even if I don’t get a driver’s license yet for just-in-case situations.
  2. Journal every day — I found this really good, minimal, yet very powerful app called Obsidian which has a feature called Daily Notes which creates new files every day. I have journaled here and there for the past 2 months and plan on doing it every day in 2024. This will help me remember my life as well as attain mental clarity.
  3. A newsletter a month — My actual plan was one newsletter per week but I want to maintain the quality and not just focus on the quantity. You can expect some extra newsletters as well if I have something important to share.
  4. Gym workouts every week — I haven’t gone to the gym for almost a year now. I want to not only get in good shape but also feel more healthy and bulk a bit.
  5. Grow my personal audience — I want to grow my personal audience to connect with more people who have a perspective or goals similar to mine. My specific goals: YouTube 3k, Twitter 1k, LinkedIn 5k, newsletter 2k subscribers.
  6. Grow HighApproach revenue 100% to $2000 — Until now, I have only treated HighApproach as a little side project. I now plan on turning it into a real business and brand. Will also register it in Nepal as a legal business.
  7. Publish a research paper — I have wanted to write a research paper for a long time. I don’t know the details of how to write a research paper yet. But I know with a growth mindset, I can do anything. So, I’m going to learn everything that I need to learn about research papers and write and publish one in a good publication.

2024 is only 4 days ahead.

I am going to make sure that I make the most out of it and meet almost all my goals.

2024 is going to be a pivotal year for both my personal and professional life.

If you’d like, you should have a list of long-term goals for 2024 as well.

That way you will always have a brief idea of what you’ve got to do and will have a sense of direction.

Please reply to this email if you’d like to share your own story.

Thank you for reading!

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

2 thoughts on “2023 Review — A year of growth and friendships”

  1. Hey suraj,

    Just wanted to let you know that you are doing a commendable job. Keep up the good work. I actually love reading your newsletters. They inspire me a lot❤️.

    Best wishes,
    Smriti

  2. Priyamshu Paudel

    Hello Suraj,

    That was a fantastic 2023 review.
    Thank you so much for your wishes. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from my side also 🙂

    Regards,
    Priyamshu Paudel

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