I mentioned 23 for 2023 last month when I was setting free my biggest intention for 2023 which was to read only Canadian authours this year. I’ve made these lists for several years with varying degrees of commitment and success and I quite enjoy the process of developing the list, of sharing it, and of revisiting it throughout the year.
This year, I started working on my list really early and had a solid foundation, but then I wasn’t able to put the finishing touches on my list. I was stuck on ensuring that my goals were SMART and not too vague or flimsy because, honestly, some of the originals were.
As the new year came and went, I contemplated my list regularly and every time, it seemed that 18 for 2023 just didn’t have the same effect. I eagerly awaited the episode of the Happier podcast when Gretchen and Liz revealed their lists, hoping for inspiration. As soon as it went live, I started getting messages from friends who had found the same missing pieces for their lists once they listened. I don’t think I ended up using an exact copies of goals, but I was inspired by some of theirs and even more by some of their conversation around them.
Here is my complete (and overflowing!) 23 for 2023 list! And since I didn’t want to just dump it here without any context, I’ve added some where I saw fit.
- Read Canadian. We’ve covered this.
- Maintain a visitor-ready house. This is a BIG one for me. It isn’t to say that we are filthy or overly cluttered, but we just don’t always keep the house in a way that we’d feel super proud if a stranger walked in. My plan is to change that.
- Master a Five-Minute GO! Routine™. When I was 24, I could wake up and head out the door. That isn’t so much the case anymore. Not that I am overly concerned about how I look, but I do want to have a quick and precise way to get ready and go.
- Get Shiloh’s health checked and records in order. I didn’t share a lot about the details, but almost a year ago now, we inherited a cat. And not the kind of alley cat that I’m used to owning, a fancy cat. We have been able to piece together that he is fourteen years old, but little else. I want to get him in with our vet, get him vaccinated and know what we’re dealing with when it comes to his health. Bonus points will be awarded if we manage to figure out the grooming side of things.
- Define direction and complete a redesign of my blog. After probably a decade of waffling, I’ve come to terms that I do really want to keep this space alive, but I also want to have a more detailed and longer-term idea of what it’ll look like.
- Host a family dinner once a month. This is a carryover that I haven’t been able to embark on yet, but it’s coming!
- Write and send one meaningful card each week. I’m (mostly) good at remembering birthdays and anniversaries and other specific card requirements. I want to start sending more thinking of you and just because messages out into the world.
- Restore my Grandad’s typewriter. Despite the fact that this has been on my list for several years, it’s still something I want to tackle and it is really meaningful to me. Fingers crossed that this is the year.
- Take a trip with a friend. This was on my list last year and I did fulfill it when I went to Athens, Berlin and Amsterdam in September. During the pandemic one of the things that I realized I wanted when things opened up again was that I wanted to travel more and with a variety of people. I am willing to do this one over and over and over again this year.
- Become a barbecue sauce connoisseur. So, this isn’t exactly measurable, but last year helped me realize that I’m almost as not into hot sauce as I am not into ketchup. Barbecue sauce seems to land somewhere in between and since there are several styles and varieties, I want to give it the respect it deserves.
- Learn to skateboard. I got my skateboard put together (thank you, Flatspot!) and ready to go just a couple of days after Christmas and my first thought the first time I stood one it was “I’m in trouble.”
- Start a big project. I don’t know what it is yet, but I know it’s coming.
- Find strategies to reduce food waste. This is an important topic overall and I want to dig into it from a place where I can have an impact: in our own kitchen. If there were a 1-10 scale we measured a household’s food waste on – one being none and ten being excessive – I think we might fall somewhere around 5-6. I want to bring that down.
- Meet up with a friend three times each month. This is a really interesting time. The pandemic changed a lot about how we did things and what we were comfortable with and trying to figure out where we each fit back into things is actually a lot harder than lockdown ever was. I feel like we’re emerging from the confusion about what we are each personally comfortable with and that requires a more deliberate practice of seeing the people we want to.
- Improve my posture. I’m of an age when I feel like I ought to give this some more of my attention.
- Find a place to volunteer. This was a pre-pandemic goal and I have a couple of ideas about where I’d like to donate my time. As our opportunities expand, I want to start to explore them again.
- Celebrate minor holidays. I love a good minor holiday and I want to get back into celebrating them at home and with loved ones.
- Curate gifts for loved ones & no wrapping paper. I once made a resolution that I wouldn’t buy wrapping paper again and it lasted for almost three years. Since then, I’ve fallen back into wanting bright and colourful ways of packaging gifts when I don’t think it’s necessary. I’ll be on the lookout to reuse items we already have or choosing something that can be used again by the recipient. I’d also like to get more intentional with the gifts that I give by incorporating themes and/or experiences.
- Visit all the Metro Vancouver Regional Parks and Greenways. This was something unofficial that I wanted to do last summer, but that ended up falling flat. There are twenty-three parks and greenways with a twenty-fourth under development.
- Take more pictures of people. Coupled with #14, when I’m getting back to spending time with people, I want to do a better job of documenting that.
- Finish work by 5pm every day. Sigh. This is something that is going to be a real challenge. I like to work. And later in the day is when I can really get shit done because everyone else is out of the office and it’s quiet. Thing is, by that time, I’ve already been in the office for a full day and I just can’t continue working longer and longer hours at the cost of my social life and sanity.
- Get a will. It’s time.
- Start “things we’ll do this month” lists up again. During the 23 for 2023 episode of Happier, Gretchen explained the evolution of one of her goals saying that it was rooted in “slowing time through novelty and adventure.” This was the exact reason behind my things we’ll do this month lists which I created in August 2016 – nearly SEVEN years ago! What I had hoped for when I started was that having a list of fun and meaningful goals each month gave the illusion of slowing time because there were more milestones and a greater focus on enjoyment. I’m ready to do it again!
It’s either feast or famine and once I completed my list of twenty-three, I still had a few more that I wanted to be mindful of throughout the year. Here are the ones that didn’t quite make the cut, but that will still be on my mind.
- Find the perfect black bag. I have had a few decent bags over the last couple of years, but the perfect one would be a hybrid of all of them. It’s gotta be out there.
- See each of my cousins. There are seven of them.
- Continue my streaks on Apple Watch (386 days) and Duolingo (971 days.) I also want to be mindful of increasing my daily Move and Exercise goals on Apple Watch and maybe try to finish the French course on Duolingo.
If you’re interested in writing your own list, check out Gretchen Rubin’s tips for doing so. She can help save you a lot of time and energy! If you do it, please let me know. I want to see your list and cheer you on throughout the year!