What a year 2018 has been!

I’m writing this on January 3rd, 2018, everyone is still excited about their plans for the next 12 months. So do I. And although we’re told not to get festive when celebrating New Year (because of this sad event), I think we should still be celebrating what’s coming and most importantly, reflecting on what’s happened.

In this post, I will be touching on many different things. Let me list that for you.

  1. What I’ve done in 2018 (my achievements and my life in general)
  2. Books I’ve read in 2018 and how they changed me
  3. What I’ll be doing in 2019 (my overall theme, what sort of improvement I would like to have this year).

Ok, let’s jump right in!

1. What I’ve Done in 2018

To keep things simple and readable, I’ll write this in a timeline.

January 2018

I was still working as an intern, and at the same time, working on my thesis. A crazy and hectic month.
Achievement: I survived, still sane.

February 2018

I was still working. And preparing my thesis defense. Aced my thesis defense. Rejected a job offer from the company where I did my 1-year internship. Why? I wanted to apply for graduate scholarship abroad. (I genuinely wanted a graduate degree at that time, but not so much right now. Will think about it later.)

Achievement: Got an A for my thesis. Explored Upwork and got my first remote/freelancing job.

May 2018

My birthday month! Also, I got to travel to Vietnam with only my little sister.

Achievement: First trip abroad only with my sis. We plan to do more of this in the future (maybe annually?). Doubled my hourly rate.

August 2018

I officially graduated! Not too excited because it’s been too long since my thesis defense, but it’s still one of the highlights this year.

October 2018

Got a free ticket to HubSpot GROW Singapore and went there by myself. Met awesome people and my internet friends. And one even became my client 😉

Volunteered to teach children.

Achievement: My first solo trip abroad. Survived and went back home in one piece.

November 2018

Doubled my hourly rate!

I would say that this year was the year of growth for me. So many things changed, of course for the better. I was growing as a person in my personal and professional life.

I didn’t feel those changes and growth when I was living it, but looking back, I can tell that I have changed. How? I don’t know. The only thing I’m sure: it’s not caused only by a single thing.


  1. Habits and consistency. The process will not betray you. In 2018, I’ve been implementing Miracle Morning for about 4 consecutive months (What is it? I recommend you get the book. It’s THAT good.). This Miracle Morning alone is a collection of daily habits you won’t regret doing.
  2. Freelancing. I’ve been freelancing for almost a year now, and I’m not planning to get back to a traditional job. No thanks. I realized time is way valuable than money, and the security you get from a traditional job is a lie. No company is really stable. With freelancing and weird work hours, I’m able to learn and think more about my life and my career. I get to choose the job I want, the ones that allow me to grow. More time means more clarity on what you really want in life.
  3. BOOKS. Which we’ll get to next.

2. Books I’ve read in 2018 and how they’ve changed me.

According to Goodreads, I read 26 books in 2018. 26 books! I’ve never read that many books in a year before in my life. Thanks to Miracle Morning 🙂

I won’t include all of them here, only the most influential ones, in the order of when I read them.

1. The One Thing by Gary Keller

The whole point of this book is to have a single goal and work towards that goal every single day, instead of having multiple goals and not doing anything to achieve them. It really opened my eyes at that time, because it’s an unusual approach to goal setting. In the end, I couldn’t set just one goal either, but it is really a reminder that consistency will multiply over time.

2. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson

I remember having this book as an audiobook (on Audible, on a discounted subscription fee) and listening to it on my way to and from my internship place. The takeaway is not to listen to others, just do your own thing and work towards your own dream. Great, motivational book.

3. The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

I dare say this is the most impactful books I read in 2018. It changed my life in so many ways, I just couldn’t pinpoint which one is the most beneficial for me. I didn’t wake up at 5 as advised in the book, just because I have nowhere to go in the morning (real reason: it’s too hard to sleep at 10 pm and wake up at 5 every single day). I wake up at 6, but most days I do all of my SAVERS (Silence, Affirmation, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, Scribe). This book is a must-read.

4. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

One of the few fictions I read, and one of my favorites of all time. I LOVE stories that span over a lifetime of a person [I talked about this here]. With A Little Life, I fell in love with the characters, it’s written beautifully. You have to read this book!

5. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

This is a fictional, philosophical ‘children’s’ book. Genius storyline, unexpected ending, lots of philosophy 101 bits. You have to be careful though, I had nightmares when I was reading this. It’s kinda dark.

6. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

If you’re searching for a more scientific approach to habit-building, this is the book. Miracle Morning is filled with practical tips you can implement, while this book explains the why and how behind habits. Interesting read.

7. Grit by Angela Duckworth

In line with Mindset by Carol Dweck, this book attributes success in life to hard work and perseverance. Deliberate practice, habits, grit, backed by numerous studies and research. Mindset and grit beat talent.

8. Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

If you didn’t know already, I’m a proud feminist. I fight for gender equality. Sometimes, in the right time and place, I speak up. I cried in public when I was reading Lean In, because I just realized the world is unfair to women. And it’s still a long battle before women are seen as equal.

This book, Women Who Run With The Wolves, is really empowering. I found myself in it. She acknowledged women’s sensitivity, but as a strength, not a weakness. And she started each chapter with folklore, which I love. Heartwarming and empowering.

9. 1984 by George Orwell

Ok, this is a classic, but I just got my hands on it. And it’s a classic for the right reasons. Just read it.

10. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

This is one of the books I borrowed from Bookabuku. (Don’t know what Bookabuku is? It’s a book sharing platform, you can borrow their people’s book collection for only Rp 69,000/month. For Indonesians, you can use my referral code, fike2727 for 10% discount.)

In this book, Eric explained his method to build a startup, which is to start lean. The point is to experiment and iterate, just like agile development. Recommended read.

11. Building Your StoryBrand by Donald Miller

The other book I borrowed from Bookabuku. It’s basically a hero’s journey (have you read the book? I heard it’s good.) adapted for marketing and branding. The buyer is the hero. We, the company, are here only to support them.

12. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

The last book I finished in 2018. A must read. I think we have to have this book for a history textbook. It gave me the big picture of human history. I’m still reading his second book, Homo Deus.

3. What I’ll Be Doing in 2019

This year, I want to brush up my public speaking skill. I’m also focusing on building my network, speaking up, and professional skills in general.

My goals this year:

  1. Share my knowledge by speaking in front of 50 people or more.
  2. Publish at least one blog post per month here.
  3. Travel to 5 cities in Indonesia and 2 countries abroad.
  4. Double my hourly rate.
  5. Keep doing all my habits, read at least 25 books.

This month (next week!), I’m going to Jogja for a month. What for? Just want to live by myself and explore the city. That simple. Also, I’m hoping to know myself more.

Then in February, I will be back for WordCamp Jakarta, representing Caldera Forms. After a week or two, I’m going to another city in Indonesia, probably Surabaya or Bali.

I’m excited for 2019! Looking forward to growing and learning more.

How was your 2018? What are your goals for 2019? Tell me in the comments below.

Published by Ascencia Fike

Hello! I'm an affiliate specialist at Ninja Forms. I love books, food, and yoga. You can find my writings here and on Medium.

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