For the past several years now, I take the last week or so of the year and spend some time looking back on the year and what I accomplished and what I didn’t manage to accomplish. I look at where my goals currently are, and whether my life is arranged to drive me further toward those goals. I reset or set new goals and priorities for the coming year, and put some systems into place to help me work toward or reach those goals. (Reminder to self: Reread Atomic Habits.)
I find this exercise excessively helpful to gain some modicum of control over the direction of my life, and it’s a regular check-in to see how things are going. I often do a mid-year smaller evaluation in the summer, as well, to see how this year’s goals are shaping up.
Then I also try to check in each month, at the turn of the calendar, to set some priorities for the coming month and see how I did the previous month.
Past years, I did okay with this. I had consistent progress on some of my goals, even if I failed to make much progress toward others.
But somehow 2023 has been a real mess. I’m still on track to read at least 23 books this year. And I’ve been diligent with my physical therapy exercises. But most of my other monthly goals have gotten pushed back, much more of them than in past years.
I think a combination of things have gotten in the way, starting with my dad dying in February and me being the executor (and feeling WAY WAY out of my depth there), and then continuing with very significant summer travels (Rory and I were gone from home for about five weeks this summer), school transition for Kid #2, and other things that somehow keep me busy without being productive.
We still have about four months left in this year, and I hope to get caught up on a few one-off things that have been hanging out there, so that by the time the end of December arrives, I can start 2024 with as clean a slate as possible.
I don’t know if I’ll get my current book published in 2023 or not, but I certainly hope to be mostly done with it by the end of the year, still publishing it in my Year of Being 50. I’d love it if I could do a bit more purging, and take care of the things I want to sell on eBay that have been hanging around for months. I want to have changed my mindset to be more productive during the day while Kid #1 is at work (this is harder than I thought), since Kid #2 is away at college and Rory and I can focus.
I suppose I’ve learned a lesson from 2023 in the kinds of things that derail me so wholly from my progress train. If I’ve learned something, then that’s a net positive, right?
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