2023 Yearly Theme & 2022 Recap

Normally I post something every January to recap the past year and share my theme for the new year. Not only does it look like I never posted last year, let’s just say last year wasn’t my greatest so I’m inclined to skip the recap as well.

My theme for the 2022 was boundaries. As a people pleaser, I’m one to say yes to every request even if it means running myself into the ground and run myself into the ground is exactly what I did.

If the events of the first part of last year taught me anything, it’s that I’d been doing far too much, mostly for other people, without really taking time to take care of myself. 

Most of the days were spent doing things out of obligation, not intention, and although I found myself with a lot of unexpected free time towards the end of the year, most of it was spent searching for the next hit of dopamine – endlessly refreshing Reddit for new posts, checking my email and my phone in hopes there might be a text message, and on more than one occasion, Youtube actually ran out of new things to suggest to me and began suggesting things I’d already seen. Even worse, I actually rewatched many of them them because I had been too distracted scrolling on my phone the first time I watched them anyway.

I also did a lot of things that seemed like great ideas in the moment – like continuing to hang out with people I didn’t really enjoy hanging out with anymore, staying out way too late, or having that extra drink after dinner despite knowing it’d make me feel worse the next morning.

Without going into detail, 2022 was a bad year, but… I can’t say it was all bad. 

I decided to focus on myself. I found routines that work. I discovered I actually am one of those people who doesn’t like missing a workout and lost 15 pounds in the process. I got healthier. I ate better. I meditated almost every day. I journaled. I met my reading goal and hit my financial goals as well. So despite everything the year threw at me, I still managed to hit most of my goals. 

And I got these two adorable monsters to keep the old man, Abu, company.

two kittens and a cat on the bed

So what’s in store for 2023?

My focus for the year is to actually slow down. I want to be more intentional about the life I’m creating and savor what each thing in my life brings to the table. It could be because I just read Chris Bailey’s new book on calming your mind, but I really do want to spend my time doing things I enjoy – not just because they give me a quick hit of dopamine.

I want to enjoy that I wake up in a home that I’ve spent the last eight years decorating and setting up to fit my lifestyle.

I want to enjoy that I can move my body and get stronger with every workout.

I want to enjoy the crappy reality tv show I’ve been faithfully watching for more than half my life without scrolling Reddit.

I want to enjoy the pause in my day each time I meditate.

I want to enjoy all the adventures, friends, and unexpected things life brings, and

I want to enjoy that I climb into bed with two very cuddly cats every night.

Most importantly, I want to enjoy the fact that I get to decide how I want create the life I’m living every day.

Here’s to 2023! Happy New Year everyone!

Yearly Theme Update & How I’m using Streaks to Stay on Track

If hindsight is 2020, maybe 2020 wasn’t the best year to pick health as my yearly theme. Nevertheless, here we are.

I’m nearing my 4th month of working from home due to the pandemic, and the biggest lesson I’ve learned during those 4 months is just how easy it is to slip out of a routine.

Skipping things I didn’t pay much attention to, like my afternoon walk, now suddenly have an incredible power to spiral my default behavior right back to sitting on the couch if I’m not careful. At the same time, I’m also being mindful that it’s okay that I’m not performing at the levels I normally would. These, after all, are not normal times, and giving myself a break is necessary at times.

With that being said, my intention for this year was and still is to focus on my health. I’ve just had to readjust my expectations to effectively fight the gravitational pull towards my couch. For that, I’ve been taking a page out of the ideas in James Clear’s Atomic Habits and BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits and accepting that doing something regularly, even if it’s small, is better than doing nothing at all.

I’ve been using a combination of Apple’s Activity app and Streaks to set my goals. Using the Activity app’s trends tab, I set my goal to be only slightly above my average. If the app says I’m getting about 9 minutes of exercise a day, I’ll set my goal to 10.

Right now I have goals set in Streaks for “Move” calories, walking distance, stand hours, exercise, sleep, and meditation. Streaks syncs with Apple Health as well so the actual effort of tracking my goals is minimal, and because the goals themselves are only slightly more than what I usually do in a day, I’ve actually been meeting the goals almost every day. In fact, most days, I exceed them. Contrast this to a few weeks ago, when the idea of meeting any of them let alone all of them seemed out of reach – this is a win in my book.

Because I’m going off of the average trend, the goals feel achievable even on my worst days. More importantly, as the trend goes up, I’ve been incrementally increasing the goals (albeit slowly), which much to my surprise hasn’t felt as onerous as it had in the past.

Maybe, by the end of the year, I’ll be back up to where I’d hope to be, but for now, making progress a little at a time feels good. And feeling good is something we could all use a little more of right now.