I’m not sure where 2023 went. It was a busy one, for sure, and it got pretty wild at the end. But I did stay focused on my word of the year: Me, and it provided the rudder to help me navigate some rough waters. Let’s review:
Health. This year it's all about getting strong and healthy. I'm committing to working with a personal trainer once a week until June to build up my strength and stamina, to prevent injury and hopefully get as close to whole as I possibly can ..I'm also going to use that breathe function on my watch and pay better attention to my sleep needs.
How I did: Well, let’s say that for the first time ever, this category was a resounding success. Not only did I work with the trainer (Paul DiRienzo, who pushes me to the point of creative, colorful profanity) until June—I never stopped. Although I certainly don’t look like a supermodel, I went from having trouble with balance and activating muscle groups to deadlifting 45 lbs, doing squats with weights, and all sorts of other things. I can get off the floor without using my hands! And even though I had laparoscopic surgery last week, I’m convinced that my workouts prepped me and have greatly contributed to the easy recovery I’ve been dealing with. (Um, forget the breathe app on the watch. Focus on the other parts of the success!)
Family. For a few years, I've kept "take the kids someplace new each month" on my goals list. I'm continuing this because we all love it so much. New this year: Teaching the kids one new life skill per month.
How I did: Although I don’t think we got through a solid list of life skills, the kids have taken on more stuff around the house. C now has a job and manages her own money, so we’ve focused on money management. H is now a pro at cleaning his room. This one will roll over into 2024. And we went to NYC, Mystic CT, and serval local places that were new to us.
Writing. As a lifelong sporadic journal-er, I am going to commit to writing in my journal more frequently this year. I'd even like to go back to blogging or post on Medium or Substack. Getting my thoughts on paper is how I process the world, and the practice has many therapeutic benefits. I'm also carrying over writing fifty days per quarter and joyfully drafting new projects each quarter, from last year.
How I did: Oh man. Total fail. Writing was hard this year. I am revisiting this one, particularly because 4th quarter was a disaster for me. Family health issues, my surgery, plus a packed teaching schedule meantxa I barely kept my head above water. Recommitting to this one for 2024.
Author Business. This week I'm crafting a publishing plan for 2023, and I want to use it to guide my creative year. The Shiver by the Sea book series launches in August, and I'm going to lay a foundation to do as much as I can to make that series successful. I have plans for more Mina Allan titles, too, so I need to work those into my production calendar. This year, I'm going to set up--and stick to!--a system to more effectively monitor my author income and not make me a lunatic around tax season. If I want my career to grow, I have to be more intentional about how I spend my time and track my finances.
How I did: I did some really fun events for SHIVER, and I have more on the horizon as the paperbacks come out in January. Mina Allan had an off year. I got thrown off her schedule in July/August and couldn’t get myself back on the rails (see writing, above). Also revisiting this category in a more thoughtful way in 2024.
Financial. Last year, Husband and I set some family financial goals and got on the path to tackling them. I want to keep on the road of saving for the kids' college educations, and be more intentional about our budget. For me, financial freedom is the ultimate goal.
How I did: I am pretty excited by this category. Husband moved from a 30-year freelance career into a full-time position at the company he’s freelanced for for years, and that brought about a lot of changes (paid vacation, what?!). We have been doing really well with our financial targets and the kids’ college savings. Whoo!
“Me” served me well in 2023. It was empowering, and helped me to break free of the last bits of mom-guilt we all struggle with. Here’s to taking some time for me in ’23. I have my new word ready for 2024, so stay tuned for that one!