Future thinking for 2023

Each year, I say that I am not the type of person who makes New Year’s resolutions, but if I’m being honest, I do enjoy self-reflection and rethinking daily life. I can admit I’m a #goals junkie. That said, I like to think I’m more forgiving of myself at this point in life, even if I still struggle with the urge to take on too much.

For a number of years, I have been striving to do less, but to do those few things better. I’ve reduced my annual work goals, I’ve focused my quality leisure time to a handful of essential activities, and I’ve built some elaborate structures around my time. For the most part, it’s worked. We can talk about some of the downsides another time. For today, I want to focus on what practices I’m bringing into 2023.

Notebooks

I’ve accumulated a number of notebooks: moleskins, daily planners, quarterly planners, gratitude journals, habit-tracking journals, etc. I even have a custom journal just for gardening. All of them are sitting in a drawer having never been used; although, I’ve managed to stop myself from buying new ones. My goal this year is to fill all those notebooks.

Semi-planned weekends

My idea of a perfect weekend is one in which nothing is planned. Maybe I’ll go for a walk. Maybe I’ll play video games. Maybe I’ll just do maintenance around the house and yard. I use the long, unstructured time to recharge, but I also recognize the joy that comes in having something to look forward to each week, whether it’s an activity or a project. So my goal this year is to do some moderate planning for my weekends: maybe select one AM and one PM activity/project each day and put it on my calendar.

At work: skills

One downside of being in middle management is the constant pull toward “settling.” I could easily fill my day with meaningful tasks, including supporting the needs of my team and pushing along various projects. I could stay in this state for years, but I’m not content with that. I want to continue to develop new skills and improve nascent ones. This year, I’m focusing on advanced Excel techniques and (if time permits) intermediate Adobe Creative Suite work.

Having a theme

Inspired by CPG Grey, last year I selected a theme to help drive and direct my personal goals, leisure activities, and home projects. In 2022, my theme was “local.” While I didn’t finish everything I set out to accomplish, I am nonetheless amazed at how much I was able to do. This year, I plan to continue that method and select what I give my attention to according to a general theme. For 2023, my theme is “connections.”

Does this enlarge or diminish me

I love this question, which I first encountered in 4000 Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, of asking “Does this enlarge me or diminish me?” Often, I feel the urge to do something but default to doom scrolling or YouTube. But if I ask myself whether an activity enlarges me or diminishes me, I can perhaps select better choices. The same question might be useful in determining how I react to stressful situations at work.

Memory project

I’ve had this idea knocking around in my head for some time now. Like anyone, there are some memories that I recall often and others that arrive unexpectedly, perhaps for the first time in decades. Perhaps it’s a mid-life crisis thing, but I’ve been feeling the need to write all this down. So this year, I’m going to set up a digital space to organize and record as many memories as I have the time and ability to recall.

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