A year in review – 2019[Health, Travel, Books, Writings, Runs, Work, Others]

I am writing the facts first and the truth later. Facts are numbers and comparative(from Point A to B). Truth has the story about how it went from A to B (Hint: it won’t be linear). Facts are cold and end results. Truth is what the journey is about, you can feel it. Feel free to read the facts and skip the entire article or read the topic(s) you can relate to. I will be happy if you read the whole article.

The Facts:
Health(workouts/food) – 90% clean food and 5-9 sessions/week(Workouts/runs all included)
Travels – 5 places (Mcleod ganj, Rajmachi, Anantagiri Hills, Kedarkanta, Panchgani)
Books – 22 books
Writing – on Manojsurya.com (16 articles) + (3 articles on Medium)
Runs – Went for a few runs in September or so. In December I ran roughly 115.6km (total 214km this year)
Work – started with a few thousand notifications/month in Jan. Now 1.5 Bn notifications/month by Dec (organic growth) at Truepush.com
Others: Devil’s circuit, 90-day challenge, 25 Entrepreneurs book release (core team member last year, it got released this year)

The Truth:

Health (workouts/food) – 90% clean food and 5-9 sessions per week(workouts/runs all included)

I lost some weight from last year and the year before that. I tried to eat good and clean food most of the time(like 90% of the year at least) and managed to work out 5 sessions per week. Now I am doing a total of 7-9 sessions per week based on the need (runs + core + strength workouts). This may reduce or remain the same in the coming weeks.

More than the body, it’s the mind I exercised more. It tempted me to eat junk food most of the time at the start, I needed to be extra conscious about my decisions. Also, this journey hasn’t been linear.

I would stick to a proper diet for 4-5 months and screw everything up in a month of eating(junk). I would eat two Death by Chocolate and a Natural’s Ice cream in one night. I would feel like, ‘it’s okay. I worked so much, let me eat more and stop counting calories when I feel like it’. I know guilt will kick in at a point and will get back to my routine. In social settings people tend to force me to eat junk food, managing these situations is a bit tough. Sometimes it backfired too.

Below are the pictures from 2016, 2018 and 2019 respectively. I am now looking to work on moderation(I am currently working on body recomposition – to reduce fat%, maybe post that). I am still working on my mind, but it’s way better than a couple of years back.

2016, 2018 and 2019 pictures respectively

Travels – Mcleod ganj, Rajmachi, Vikarabad,  Kedarkanta, Panchgani.

Mcloed Ganj happened accidentally. One of my colleagues was getting married in Delhi. All of us(colleagues) planned to visit a nearby place in the same trip. A couple of them chose Manali. I wanted to solo travel so choose Mcloed ganj at the last moment. I felt like someone injected a big dose of dopamine into my body while I was trekking there. I felt like I was leaving a piece of my soul there for me to go back and collect it. I sat at the Sunset cafe and saw the sun setting down at my eye level. Every point in the mountains is a stunning view.

Rajmachi is a small trek near Pune. We started in the afternoon and it was a red hot sun then. By night we were on the hill. We saw fireflies and I loved the whole experience that night. It was magical.

Anantagiri Hills, I went there with my Colleagues. We stayed in Vikarabad for the night, cooked our own food. The next day we went to Anantagiri Hills. It was an hour trek probably. We saw deers on the hills. While we went up the hill, we lost the way to come back. We chose to go around the hill to find the right direction to get back down. We took a weird route where we had to slide down at a few places on the hill slope. this place is a couple of hour’s drive from Hyderabad.

Kedarkanta, I escaped there for my bday, I expected some snow but when I went it was all greenery. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the whole 5 days of stay/trek there. If you want an easy trek, this one is for you. I saw the best sunrise there. We started at 2 am in the night to the peak and reached before 6 am as far as I remember. Before the sun came, the sky went from orange to slowly yellow and then blue. I saw the sunrise at eye level. The view from there was surreal.

Panchgani was my most recent visit. It’s a small village near Pune. I went for a 10k run in the morning there. In that run, I could capture a snapshot of that place while hitting a couple of viewpoints on the way. This place has too good strawberries, strawberry cream, and choco/walnut fudges. I would recommend you to go for a weekend and enjoy it.

Books – 22 books read 

The best way to read more in a busy schedule is to read a lot more when you can. In 2016 I made my sole focus to read 52 books in 52 weeks. I got into the habit of holding my attention to reading, choosing good books, dropping books in between(half-read when not interested) and buying more books than I could read(it’s a good thing). I already wrote about my reading experiences (and how to read 52 books here) in 2016. So won’t repeat it here again.

Here is my list https://goo.gl/PbrwLr (110 to 130 columns) (about to end couple of more books)

Best nonfiction – Atomic Habits, Bird by Bird

Best fiction – Memoir of a Geisha, What Did Tashi Do?, Three-Body Problem, Post Office, Gone Girl

Writing on Manojsurya.com  (16 articles) + (3 articles on Medium)

I could not write in the last 3-4 months properly because I was down with dengue for a month. And then I explored running. Managing workouts and running had been tough(Had to slow down on writing).

I am loving whatever I am creating here. If I go at least one response that it helped someone, that made my day. Almost every self-help article I posted got at least one or two such responses.

I do a lot of research before writing (1-2 weeks), put them all together, try to find stories around them so it’s more human and memorable. Which also makes these articles a bit lengthy (1200-1500 words). I don’t think I can put the truth about one topics that I write in fewer words.

Here are a few screenshots, people sent me after reading my articles. (Click to expand)


Runs

In August or September, I went for a few runs to prepare for Devil’s Circuit. On the first day itself, I loved the high I got after a short run. I didn’t want to miss it. I got dengue before Devil’s circuit and could not continue regularly. I realized I may need some guidance to build up distance and speed. I joined Siva (he is a running coach). He is helping me out on runs.

I ran nearly 115.6 km in December and completed my first 10 km run with timing – 57:15 min recently in  SBI Green Marathon Hyderabad(I was told the track was only 9.8 km later though). This is one thing I will continue and hopefully build some good endurance over the coming months.  I ran a total of 214 km this year.

Work

At Truepush.com, with a 6 member team, from a few thousand notifications/month in Jan 2019 to sending 1.5Bn notifications/month and 19 member team(and growing), we came a long way. Mostly with organic growth.

Initially, people said push notifications won’t work and that we are wasting our time. Being a new team with avg age of 22-23 that time (leaving the Leads). We had to learn a lot of things right from the start of quality, process, expectations settings, and execution.

Growth has been mostly organic and word of mouth. We faced a lot of issues internally about setting expectations, understanding our own capability, underestimating a few things and getting overwhelmed about deadlines. We also discovered what worked and what didn’t work for us in a hard way, in terms of growth.

We are still optimizing everything for the current and future states to sustain as a team/system. We have come a long way. I got lucky to be at the right place at the right time with the right people and in the right market. Gratitude for that.

Our current Alexa rank – 1659 in India and 19,617 globally.


Others: 

Devil’s Circuit: This is the event that triggered me to start running. It also inspired me to have both endurance and enough strength to lift my body. I wrote my experience on the post here.

90-day challenge  – No Movies/TV Series, No Sugar, No Tea (black teas), No Coffee, No Deep-fried foods, No Maida, Everyday exercise. Read about my experience here

25 entrepreneurs books – Was a core member for the book last year (released this year). Event pictures here

Fitting them all together: Do a few things, but well. Know your trade-offs. Meet friends for breakfast, lunch, dinner. Rest on Sundays. Calls before sleep or after waking up.

Thanks for reading. Would love to know your thoughts.

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Sonali Gupta
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Sonali Gupta

What a description! The travel experience literally made me feel myself there. Beautifully differentiated facts and truth. Also, it made my day reading this. Cheers to the year that passed by and cheers to the new one. 🙂

Tina Verma
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Tina Verma

It’s one of the best articles I’ve come across in terms of simplicity yet so much to read in it. Didn’t even felt like I just read nearly 1700 words long article. It was an engaging read and above all, what else can we expect from your articles.
The transformation is so strong here and I am sure, will motivate others too.
Keep writing! x 100 times
Keep working out! x 100 times
Keep traveling! x 100 times
Have a beautiful start of the decade. 🙂