Live Action Getup: Joshua Tree + A Follow-Up to My 18 Questions About The Last Year

Live Action Getup

Joshua Tree

+ A Follow-Up to My 18 Questions About The Last Year

Just before New Years, I published a post about 18 questions I was going to ask myself to reflect on 2017 so that I could then do more of what worked and less of what didn't.

What follows is a sampling of what I learned (and a pretty easy-to-pull-off rugged outfit).

man walking along a road in Joshua Tree

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man and his dog at Joshua Tree

A few years ago I started doing what have become quarterly solo work-cations, where I'll book a cheap AirBNB outside of town somewhere and go out with just my pup Leela for a few days. The purpose of these retreats is simple: Get out of my normal routine and spend some significant, focused time brainstorming and planning areas in my life that I'm frustrated by or ready to grow in. I always set rules for the trip, depending on what I'm working on that include things like no TV or drinking, 100 squats and pushups per day, and I have to cook all of my own food.

Timing wise, my latest coincided with New Years, and this trip was the first to happen at the end of the year. I was excited to use this work-cation as an opportunity to reflect on the past year with questions like, “When were the 3 times I was happiest?” and “Is my current way of thinking taking me where I want to go?” It also included exercises like “100 Reasons to Be Proud,” that helped encourage a positive mindset; an important consideration when doing a deep reflection like this because it's very easy to come up with all of the negative things you don't like about yourself or your life.

Photo a leather bound journal and pen

After I answered the 18 questions, I then reviewed the answers and came up with some conclusions of what worked and what didn't for 2017.

My 2017 Conclusions

Below are the conclusions (slightly edited to remove things I'd like to keep private) that I came up with after analyzing my answers. You may read these and think, “wow that's some pretty generic stuff.” But what's crazy is these were intensely eye-opening realizations because these aren't ideas that I just brainstormed and decided I want to do more of – after listing out all of the things that made me happy, scared, excited, proud, stressed, inspired, and so on, there was a clear through-current that will help me make stronger choices in 2018.

  • I am most happy and excited when:
    • …Stretching the comfort of my anxiety. I'm proud of it and get off on it. [A surprising realization considering anxiety of any kind (career, social, life stage, and so on) is immensely frustrating and the reason most of us choose to not do things that scare us or stress us out. I realized that if I'm feeling anxious about something, it actually means I should move toward it, as all of my happiest, proud, and exciting moments from 2017 came out of things that I was anxious about at the time.]
    • …When being authentic to myself. [My personality type is driven by empathy, resulting in many qualities that showed up on my 100 Reasons to Be Proud list, but that also means I often find myself making decisions I think are in the best interest of other people's lives and feelings. I realized while looking at my answers that I need to be more assertive with vocalizing what I want and what's important to me instead of always putting others' feelings before mine.]
    • …Feeling validated that my instinct about something was right. [This has built a feeling that I can better trust my gut when making decisions.]
    • …When doing the things I'm scared to do. [Again, I have naturally avoided things that scare me as we all do, but ultimately those things were the highlights of my year: Do more of them.]
    • …When connecting with others on a deeper level. [Prioritize making the time and effort to encourage situations and relationships that allow me to connect with old friends and new.]
  • My scariest moments are bullshit and should be considered everyday activities. [While I was proudest and most excited after doing things that scared me, in retrospect the things I was scared to do feel silly and not something to be so worked up about. I will use this as an emotional bookmark when making decisions about things I'm scared of in the future, with an ultimate goal of recalibrating my fear gauge to be less sensitive to those things.]
  • I am most proud when I do things that feel authentic. [Say the things that I feel, even when it isn't opportune. Don't do things that I don't want to do because I'm not interested or because they don't line up with where I'm heading. Do things I want to do, even if I can't get others to get on board.]

From there, I created actionable goals for 2018 for work life and personal life. This means specific actions or events that can be measured with a Yes or No when determining if I'm on track.

While in Joshua Tree, I shared some of my process and answered readers' questions in Primer's Instagram Stories. They're saved in the “18 Questions” archive and can be viewed by going to Primer's Instagram profile within the app and clicking on the “18 Questions” circle below the bio. (Give us a follow while you're there!)

Screenshots of text messages

Photo of sunrise at Joshua Tree

Photo of a pink sky in Joshua Tree

Photo of man wearing a layered outfit in Joshua Tree

This is a cool outfit because it messes with formality. Just like our Getup endorsing the sportcoat as casual outerwear, a walker coat can easily be dressed down with a henley and some hefty boots. Multiplying the situations you can wear your winter outerwear beyond with just a suit. This walker coat from Kenneth Cole is only $90 and was also featured in our post 1 Pair of Boots, 3 Completely Different Outfits.

Check out our full guide on our favorite affordable outerwear picks, which also explains just what the heck a walker coat is.

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Did you also do a year-end reflection? Chat with me in the comments about what you learned!

And if you like this outfit, please share it on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter!

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Andrew Snavely

Andrew founded Primer in 2008 and brings 15+ years of men's style expertise. Known for his practical, relatable approach to style and self-development, he has been a recognized speaker at conferences and has styled work for top brands. Off-duty, he loves photography & editing, and enjoys road trips with his dog, Leela. Raised in rural Pennsylvania, educated in DC, and living in LA for nearly 20 years, Andrew's diverse experiences shape the relatable and real-world advice that has helped millions through Primer. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.