Another year has come to an end and 2020 has been challenging for a lot of people all over the planet. In this post I reflect on my progress this year and am looking forward to reach new outcomes in the coming year.

I struggle to consistently do weekly and monthly reviews (especially during a hectic trimester) but at the end of every year I take some time to reflect on where I want to take my life next. It’s an opportunity to share a slice of my life and hopefully it gives value to someone out there. 🙂

What did go according to plan, what did not, in what ways did I change, what pop culture did I consume, and what do I look forward to in 2021? Keep on reading to find the answers.

Rasmus Nordling’s 10 Goals for 2020

At the beginning of the year I wrote down these nine (no. 10 has disappeared) goals below that I believed would take me closer to some of my dreams and close the gap to my full potential.

I have put down fear of failure as one of my Comfort Zone Challenges and I think it’s very natural not wanting to fail, but I’ve come to realize it’s better to set BIG, ambitious goals and maybe fail rather than going safe. There’s always opportunity for growth in every failed attempt.

Goals I thought would be accomplished in 2020:

  1. I scuba dive in the ocean by the end of the year
  2. I exercise for 150 minutes each week to prioritize my health, by the end of October
  3. I sleep for 8 hours each night by the end of the year
  4. I meditate most days of the week by the end of the year
  5. I review my goals and plan the coming week, weekly by the end of the year
  6. I have diversified my savings in four buckets with varied risk by the end of the year
  7. I explore Australia and do fun activities with friends on the weekends by the end of the year
  8. I release my debut album with 10 songs and 30 minutes of original music by the end of the year
  9. I live in a share house in Brisbane with less than 200 AUD rent/week by week 6 2020

I watched this video by Brian Tracy on How to Create an Effective Action Plan and intentionally set goals in different areas for me to grow.

My Business & Career goal went from I release my debut album with 10 songs and 30 minutes of original music by the end of the year which is more a personal achievement, to me more focusing on passing all my subjects at uni. Assessments have priority over recreational songwriting.

I collaborated with producer 9/10 on some unreleased songs in the beginning of the year. In trimester 2, Brisbane went into a lockdown due to COVID and we transitioned into online learning with BlueJeans and Zoom. I kept my head down and adapted to the circumstances. I managed to do all of my assessments with decent grades, without access to the campus facilities.

Although I admit, at times I woke up just in time to join the lecture.

Whiteboard with chords from Ensemble II For Ensemble in trimester 2 me and Sarah rearranged popular songs into disco style.

Screenshot of iOS music apps

Screenshot of App Store and Zoom

I then had my scheduled break between June - September where I focused on my personal growth and joined RedStone as a guitarist. We worked on and performed original songs, drove to Old Petrie Town for a photoshoot, and recorded the single Drifting Away.

What about Sarah you might ask? She continued with trimester 3 and formed Flight of Thoughts.

After the break I resumed my degree and formed the “guitar driven rock band” Junktion with Mandy (vocals), Rob (vocals/guitar/keyboard) and Joohan (drums), while playing with RedStone. Junktion recorded the single Righteous Brother (that I wrote) with producer Steve James, who also produced Drifting Away.

Righteous Brother sounds like Island in the Sun and Mighty Quinn. - Lecturers at JMC Academy

I enjoyed attending masterclasses in Guitar (Simon Gardner), Vocals (Emma Wilson and Shamus Kirkpatrick), Songwriting (Loic Valmy), and to perform with my talented mates several times at the zoo during the trimesters.

Junktion performing at the zoo in Brisbane mid-trimester

Junktion performing at the zoo in Brisbane end of trimester

Some assessments:

  • Analysed Karma Police and Money, and wrote a Music Tech Report (let’s not talk about it)
  • Arranged Phil Collins - Another Day in Paradise into hard rock (inspired by Ghost, The Offspring, and KISS) with score for a band with a contemporary horn section (trumpet, saxophones, and trombone)
  • Remixed Speak Softly - Broken Man
  • Produced a song to the vocal stems from Lorde - Homemade Dynamite

Outside of regular assessments, RedStone took on several collaboration projects this trimester:

  • Recorded our debut EP with help from our Audio Engineering mates Alex, Connor and Nato. Keep your 👂 and 👀 open for The Long Way Round
  • Shot a music video for Ghost Train 👻🚂
  • Produced a game trailer soundtrack for Animation student Jason
  • Covered Shania Twain’s - No One Needs to Know for a trimester 2 audio project. We also played a gig at the Loft in West End for the audio students to practice live sound with a band
  • Performed together with Lavelin, Khara Van Park and Piece Of Mind at The Flamin’ Galah, where we played for an hour and had more freedom over the setlist (sadly no dancing allowed)

Although I managed to pull through, there were some doubts in the beginning of tri 3 whether I should keep going, drop some subjects or just defer for some time. I then had a remote session with Sydney counsellor Rochelle and the rest is (music) history… I’ve mostly struggled with Ear Training and Guitar Performance this year and underestimated the workload of assessments.

Screenshot of Musition software that has expired A reminder that I should keep on top of my music studies.

You deserve a reading break for making it here. Allow yourself to Drift away to the single while browsing some of our photos. 📷
You can give RedStone a 👍 on Facebook and follow us on Instagram to stay up to date.

My Health & Fitness focus was to exercise for 150 minutes each week to prioritize my health, by the end of October.

I went out for a 5,8 km run on 16 January after battling a sore throat. It was the first proper exercise since I rode Cykelvasan 94 km in August 2019. I followed a marathon training plan (intervals, long runs, distance runs) and looked forward to Brisbane Marathon. Every run had a purpose and intended intensity zone. I reluctantly logged all activities via my iPhone (Runcoach app), when I didn’t have a working GPS watch.
During my break from uni I started running more with ambitions on going ultra (distances longer than marathon).

Events & Races:

  • Ran a whooping 3,8 km on Global Running Day
  • Ran the charity runs Coronamilen 21.1 km in June, and Mustaschmilen 10 km in November
  • Ramboll Stockholm Halvmarathon Virtual Edition 2020 21,1 km in September. Stopped after 15 km and a time of 1:30:11
  • River Run 100 - Sunrise Marathon 42,2 km in October with a 5 AM start. Ran the same 5 km along the river 8 times and finished as they were packing up after 6 1/2 hours (long story).
  • The Ultra X #Holiday100 66,28 / 100 km (8:58:46) between 24-31 December
  • Icebug Xperience Gaustablikk and Icebug Xperience Mountain Trail Weekend both in Norway, got cancelled due to COVID


  • Total distance ran in 2020: 661 km
  • Running peaked at 152,5 km in June vs. lowest point of 19,51 km in November 🤷‍♂️
  • Avg Weekly Distance: 12,5 km
  • My only cycling this year was when I rode a CityCycle 7 km from Teneriffe ferry to Dutton Park at 2 AM (another long story)
  • Picked up a habit of Monday intermittent fasting again in January. Was fairly consistent with it over the year but allowed me some days to eat

The Running Experience on YouTube has helped me with follow along warm-ups and cooldowns, among other good things.

Here is my Garmin Connect profile, if anyone wants to compare stats or just stalk me. That’s fine too!

Rasmus running in Brisbane City Botanic Gardens

I sleep for 8 hours each night by the end of the year:

Well… I like to sleep during the weekends but I rarely go to bed before midnight, especially if I’m in the zone. Things I tried was to be out in the sun for 30 mins each day, and go to bed while listening to the ASMR Meditation app Synctuition since January. I’m soon at level 4 after having listened to 54 25-minute episodes. I used Garmin-data and Excel to calculate an average sleep of 7.4 hours.

I meditate most days of the week by the end of the year:

Early in January I found Tanja Dyredand’s video Introduction to the Art of Doing Nothing (#TomGlo). I started my mornings with 5 minute short meditations and got back in to the habit.
Then I attempted to do Zen Habits 44 Training Program for the second time. Basically it’s 11 practices done for 4 days each, that improves patience, awareness, compassion and other good stuff. I kind of did it all with some gaps where I got off track. I have drafted a separate blog post on this if you would like to know more. Leo Babauta from Zen Habits is one of the main reasons I got myself meditating in 2014-ish. I also meditated 4 hours with the app Oak.

I have been mostly healthy and managed to stay safe from the virus. I did take a test once and spent time isolated to be on the safe side when I felt warm one morning.

Inspirational quote

The outcome with my Financial Goals is to have my money work for me and utilize the 8th Wonder of the World, compound interest.

I have diversified my savings in four buckets with varied risk by the end of the year:

I’m guilty of keeping most of my eggs (savings) in the same basket/bucket. The plan was to follow a guide from RikaTillsammans to structure my savings in 4 buckets as a better way to spread the risk. I did take some action by doing a budget but I sort of got stuck in a Catch 22 when trying to work out how large buffer (1st bucket) I need.

I live in a share house in Brisbane with less than 200 AUD rent/week by week 6 2020:

I wanted to move out of the share house in Fairfield and after doing some research, I applied to Raymont Residential College in Auchenflower. Turned out to be a really good choice that has improved my life this year. It’s an all inclusive college with a wonderful community. I think it beats living by your self and even with your parents. 😉

Rasmus bedroom in Fairfield This was my bedroom in Fairfield where I lived between October 2019 - February 2020.

Rasmus bedroom door at Raymont College My door in Unit 4 at Raymont, themed Decades.

I also opened an Australian bank account at Bankwest to transfer SEK –> AUD with TransferWise (invite that gives you a free international transfer of up to A$1000).

I had to apply for an Australian Tax File Number to give to my bank in Sweden.

Let’s be honest Planning, Reviewing & Organizing haven’t been my strengths.

I review my goals and plan the coming week weekly by the end of the year:

At least I get more stuff done since I started using Todoist, but I need to build a habit of reviewing my goals and make sure I don’t lose sight of my outcomes. Did about 16 weekly reviews this year. 😬 One thing that helped me was having weekly calls with my family (accountability) that forced me to recap my journal and review my completed tasks.
Here’s a good article called Create a Weekly Attack Plan that I got inspiration from.

I didn’t do much with the Recreational goals. I scuba dive in the ocean by the end of the year has been put on hold.

For Australia Day 🇦🇺 I didn’t know what to do so I went in to Fortitude Valley but it was hardly any party happening. I had a drink with a girl and she pointed out that the bartender was her BF and then she was off to work. 👍 I was later told that a park, beach, or backyard is where most people hang out… 🤦‍♂️

I have seen some live music this year including: JMC trimester performances at venue and in the auditorium, recital performances from graduating students, Virtual Blues on Broadbeach, Innerocken - particularly Strange Days, 2020 Virtual APRA Music Awards (similar to Grammy Award and Grammisgalan).

Book of Mormon musical excuses got in the way
Elton John Farewell Yellow Brick Road didn’t get a ticket
Live Music at Gröna Lund in Stockholm, cancelled due to COVID

What went well? / What did I do right (or well) this year? 👍

College life: Probably the best decision this year was moving to the Raymont College. I have gotten many new mates, good food, and a safe community to be part of during hectic times this year.

  • Performed Cat Stevens Father and Son with Daniel Grammon and G-Man on Father’s Day in September
  • Attended Music tutorials with Scarlett Gallery to get help with assessments
  • Studied outside of my room to be more productive
  • Applied for Spirit of Raymont Scholarship ($1000 that goes toward paying rent) - Waiting for decision


  • Skyped with my parents and sister more or less every weekend since I arrived in 🇦🇺
  • 10 year anniversary with my friend Mathias. Rang him up a couple of times during the year to ask for life advice, from someone 2 days older. Here’s us performing my song Empty Apartment
  • Caught up with my Bulgarian friend, Atanas via Zoom
  • Conversed with Jelena from Serbia again 🦌 (met her via Slowly in 2018)
  • Met heaps of fantastic JMC students and alumni this year 😁
  • Met Maako Ishikawa, the second Swede 🇸🇪 currently studying at the Brisbane campus 🪁
  • Reconnected with Gabbe, Emil, and Niklas on Facebook
  • Reconnected with Elina on SoundCloud
  • Formed many new friendships this year with residents at Raymont. I’m writing this in Primmer as I prepare for Christmas and wait for everyone to come back next year.

Note from friend at Raymont College

Are You Still Awake? Here’s for the nerds 🤓

  • Updated my MacBook’s macOS from High Sierra (10.13) to Catalina (10.15.7)
  • Updated my iPhone’s iOS from 12.4.1 to 13.6.1
  • Transferred my domain name ( from Miss Hosting to EgenSajt for a better deal on renewals

What did not go well? / What did I do wrong (or poorly) this year? 👎

  • Did not review the material from the previous trimesters before starting the next, especially after having a big gap between T2 and 3
  • Trying to create a Facebook account with a fake name
  • Trying to raise money for the Polished man Campaign. 💅 My campaign only received one donation from my mate Chris. Maybe work on a better strategy for 2021
  • Did not finish or publish my blog post drafts (they keep piling up)
  • Installing Roland keyboard drivers and not being able to boot MacBook afterwards 😱 (I solved it)
  • Attempted Brian Tracy’s 30 day affirmation challenge. Broke my streak on day 16. 😔
  • Said some FUCK Jante affirmations in Jan - Feb but never made it a habit
  • Cracked the screen on my iPhone

I do the 50/90 Challenge and write 50 songs between 4 July and 1 October:

How do you get better at your craft? By practicing regularly and challenging yourself such as trying to write 50 Songs in 90 Days. I completed 3 songs but then got way to busy in the trimester I suppose.


With Raymont College: 🏘❤️

  • Climbing, biking, laser tag, bush dance, and commencement dinner
  • Day trip to Kings Beach on Sunshine Coast
  • Croquet
  • Leadership Workshops (I’m now a certified leader-person)
  • Unit 4 Community Night with inline skating at Stafford Skate Centre. I was a bit worried that I would fall but got around decently clockwise AND anti-clockwise. At the end we did the classic limbo
  • Corona by Candlelight 🎶🎵
  • Battle of the (unit) Bands where Unit 4 performed our take on The Rembrandts - I’ll Be There For You and lost to Unit 3 by only 1 point (a fair victor)
  • Gala dinner with good food and late night drinks on my 30th birthday
  • Two Christmas lunches (julbord 🇸🇪), the first one in July with the Raymont students and the second one in December with the synod staff 🎅.
  • Home cooked dinner in the Albert room with Ray’s Summer Survivors on Christmas Eve 🤶
  • Played Jackbox with some of Ray’s Summer Survivors
  • Dumplings and ramen with G-Man on several occasions throughout the year
  • Bowling and drinks where I more or less got 4 strikes in a row 🎳 Then we headed out to a club in the Valley and stayed late. One mate feel asleep in the bathroom, his phone died, got left behind, kicked out, and slept outdoors until he was found in the morning (surely, I’m not that bad of an influence?) 😈
  • Watching Formula One with good mates in Unit 11 🏎
  • Day trip to Movie World on the Gold Coast and enjoyed some of the attractions

Action photo from Scooby-Doo attraction at Movie World

Action photo from Wild West Falls attraction at Movie World

Spiritual Encounters:

  • Went to the Uniting church in Yeronga and Mount Gravatt a couple of Sundays when I still lived in Fairfield. I also visited Hillsong twice before the lockdown to enjoy contemporary worship music. Stepped out of my comfort zone and went alone to meet new people. It was a mixture of singing, praying, taking communion, and gaining new insights and outlooks on life
  • Zen Habits Zoom Meditation 🧘‍♂️
  • Spent Christmas day in Mount Gravatt with my mate Jock and his large family. I had an Australian Christmas with lots of good food, drinks, laughter, and songs!

I have been to a couple of new Meetups this year:

  • BrisRuby on Ruby development (this is a Jekyll blog after all)
  • Brisbane Web Accessibility & Inclusive Design
  • Stockholm Personal Productivity & GTD (attended remote twice)
  • Burger Thursday 🍔
  • Jam with Brisbane Rock Music in Lutwyche
  • Jam with BASEQ (Blues Association of South East Queensland) in Goodna
  • Combined Yoga 🧘 and Positive Goal Setting 🥇 Workshop in City Botanical Gardens
  • Lunch and 🍻 with Thor 🇸🇪 and I returned his guitar that I borrowed on the night I arrived in Brisbane
  • Karaoke in Surfers Paradise with Lee and Cassidy 🎤
  • Performed at Tiger Eye Open Mic with Lee
  • So, What’s Your Story? “From 1940 to 2020 - A Live Retrospective.” didn’t happen, or did it?

Rasmus and Lee with acoustic guitar at South Bank Rasmus and Lee with acoustic guitar at South Bank.

How am I different?

  • More confident
  • Enjoy performing on stage
  • Better at guitar
  • A better musician
  • Transcribing songs by ear (and eyes) and avoid tabs unless I’m stuck. Ear Training + Music Theory actually WORKS! 😇
  • I pay more attention when listening to music. I have become better at hearing time signatures, cadences, rhythms, and drum parts
  • Have fallen in love with contemporary worship music. Singing hymns is not so bad either
  • After another two trimesters and halfway towards finishing my degree, I see myself more as a composer and arranger now that I’ve acquired new skills in those areas
  • Have a YouTube channel
  • I bounce from screen to screen. Things like: Facebook, Messenger, and Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow

Screenshot of the game Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow

I turned 29… No wait, that was last year. I turned 3️⃣0️⃣ in October.

Rasmus turning 30

Rasmus transformation in 2020

What I’ve been practicing 🎸

  • Disco/Funk guitar
  • Eye of the Tiger, Jolene, Geronimo, Son of a Preacher Man, Come as You Are, Supermassive Black Hole, Layla, Whole Lotta Love, I’ll Take Les, Little Wing, Holiday, Painted by Numbers, Extraordinary Girl, Letterbomb
  • Blues licks
  • Slide guitar
  • Technical work such as chords, scales, and arpeggios
  • Lead guitar techniques

What I’ve been reading 📚

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader. - W. Fusselman

I track most of my reading at Goodreads. Here’s a summary of the year.


  • Kenny Werner - Effortless Mastery
  • Pat Pattison - Writing Better Lyrics
  • Timothy Ferriss - The 4-Hour Workweek Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
  • Thomas Frank - 10 Steps for Better Grades
  • Alistair Reynolds - Pushing Ice (second time)


  • Johan Langer - Musikbranchen - Från dröm till verklighet 🇸🇪 (book on the Swedish music industry)
  • Bill Crecelius - A Meditator’s Handbook How to Untie Knots

What I’ve been watching 📺

YouTube seems to be my biggest source for video content. I have listed some highlights further down.

These are the only movies and shows that I saw in 2020.

På svenska: 🇸🇪

  • Falkenberg Forever (Pilot)
  • Får vi följa med? (Rewatch of the Pilot)
  • Alla mot Alla med Filip och Fredrik S03-04
  • Hitlåtens historia: Broder Daniel - Shoreline
  • Auditions from Swedish Idol
  • Sven-David Sandström: I Bachs fotspår

What I’ve been listening to 🎧

At first I was just going to list all the artists and albums that I consumed over the year and then realized we’re almost in 2021 now and it’s way more convenient (and fun) to share music as playlists!💡

Here’s the 100 Songs from 2020 that the Spotify algorithm gave me.

Here’s another 80+ songs that became the soundtrack of my life in 2020.


iPhone screenshot of Ghost song Ritual playing


In English:

  • Broken Record with Rick Rubin, Malcolm Gladwell, Bruce Headlam and Justin Richmond
  • College Info Geek
  • Listen Up: The Oasis Podcast
  • No Guitar Is Safe (Pilot with Joe Satriani)
  • Sodajerker On Songwriting
  • The Bulletproof Musician
  • The J Files Podcast
  • The Zane Lowe Interview Series: Lady Gaga
  • Various interviews with Tobias Forge (Ghost)

På svenska: 🇸🇪

  • Close the Gap
  • Deluxe (Finished in January 😔)
  • Lagom kondition
  • Paul & Marie Rein Låtskrivarpodden
  • Psykologipodden
  • Rikedomspodden
  • Sveriges Radio Musikdokumentär: David Bowie

Chainsaws! 🤘

Tack Maako 🤠 for sharing this nugget, haha!

Husqvarna · Husqvarna 60 years of chainsaws

What I spent my SEKs and AUDs on 💸

Obviously things like rent, insurance, 🍺 , mini Babybel, Uncle Tobys muesli bars, guitar strings, and CONNOISSEUR ice cream tubs.

Here’s some of my other expenses this year:

  • chord!
  • Songcraft Pro
  • Another year’s subscription to Musition & Auralia
  • Creative Guitar Studio, Premium membership
  • Apple Pro Apps for Education Bundle (Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro, Motion, Compressor, and MainStage). Tools I need to produce music and edit videos for YouTube
  • 2 ADATA HD710 Pro 4TB Rugged External HDD
  • Levovo 28” 4K monitor, bluetooth keyboard with numerical keypad, and Apple Magic Mouse 2, to be more productive when working from home
  • EDU licence for Sibelius Ultimate (notation software)
  • Line 6 HX Effects (Guitar Multi-effects Floor Processor)
  • Sterling Gig Bag at Riffs & Licks Music
  • Suit, shirts, and shorts at yd.
  • Clothes at Lifeline Op Shop in West End with Stasia from Raymont 🇷🇺🐼
  • Thong Sandals and Skechers Summits walking shoes
  • Bubble tea
  • Aloe Vera Juice at Hanaromart in Toowong
  • Icebug Outrun RB9X running shoes and Garmin FĒNIX® 6 to replace my Forerunner 735 XT multisport watch

A pair of new Icebug and worn Saucony running shoes

Garmin FĒNIX® 6 and Forerunner 735 XT

  • A one-of-a-kind Frankencaster for 300 AUD

Frankencaster electric guitar with specifications

Things I look forward to in 2021

  • Ghost’s fifth studio album
  • Foo Fighters tenth studio album Medicine at Midnight
  • Going to Sweden for some holiday
  • Fernando Alonso’s return to F1 (and Lewis Hamilton’s 8th title 😉)
  • Grow as a musician (writing, producing, performing, scoring, etc.)
  • Publish/Release my first solo album on Bandcamp and streaming platforms
  • Joining APRA (Australia’s copyright collection society) and registering my original songs (maybe not so much the registering part)
  • Joining a choir
  • Unlocking all journeys in Synctuition
  • Learn more about my HX Effects and create some great guitar tones
  • Elective units in trimester 4: Music Tech III, and Lyric & Songwriting II
  • Run my first ultra, 100 km ? 🏃‍♂️😜


Lucky you, I decided to make a summary at the end.

  • Moved from shared house in Fairfield to Raymont Residential College in February (2020s best decision)
  • Did trimester 2 and 3 of the Songwriting bachelor’s degree at JMC Academy, with mostly positive outcomes
  • Wrote a couple of more original songs
  • Meditated, ran virtual races and Brisbane River Run 100 - Sunrise Marathon
  • Turned 30 years old in October 🎂 (I still look 23 apparently)
  • Bought some new clothes, shoes, software, a second electric guitar, multi-effects unit
  • Got back on Facebook after 881 days or so of staying away
  • Started the YouTube channel Ras World of Music & Lyrics
  • Recorded Drifting Away, an EP, and starred in a music video with RedStone
  • Formed the band Junktion with fellow students Mandy, Rob, and Joohan
  • Recorded Righteous Brother with Junktion
  • Ran 661 km
  • Raised money for the Polished man Campaign and painted my nail blue. My campaign only received one donation from my mate Chris G

Animals in Brisbane

Panorama view from Kayes Rocks in Brisbane

Rasmus as Disco

Okay that is everything. Did you bother to read it all? LEGEND! Peace Out! ☮️✌️


/ Rasmus