New-year goals postmortem

Back in January, I set some goals for the year. Some of them I ended up dropping pretty quickly, especially those I wasn’t holding myself to daily. A few of them I pretty much just forgot about.

On the other hand, I stuck with some of the daily habits for surprisingly long. That being said, I’ve since dropped off on most of those in the last few months.

A field of lilacs in the Netherlands.
Photo credit: Joris

Here’s an item-by-item breakdown of the list from the original post:

Idly using my phone less

Before 2023, I used to use my phone last thing at night or first thing in the morning fairly often. I broke this habit enough. I still occasionally do it, but not so often that it really becomes a problem. Still, I have a ways to go before I’m using my phone as little as I’d like, ideally.

Getting proactive about dental health

I flossed regularly for a really long time. I was pretty pleased that I was able to go six months doing it consistently. Unfortunately, I got a nasty tangle in my most recent capsule of floss, so I just thought, “I don’t want to fix this tonight”, and didn’t. Then I went on a trip where I was busy enough to not want to bother with it.

After that, I pretty much lost the habit. But I think if I just get some new floss I should be able to pick this one up again. Even with a lapse of a few weeks, if I finish the year with a steady flossing habit, I’d call that a win.

Regular quiet time, where I mainly do nothing

This one really didn’t pan out. During the day, for some reason, slowing down and doing nothing is the last thing I want to do. But it seems to help me feel a lot better when I do it. It’s kind of a mystery to me currently, but I don’t know how to get this one to stick. Maybe I need to put it at a consistent time of day, like “12:00–12:20 is always my quiet time, no matter what”.

Working out regularly

This one is going fine, actually. I definitely worked out less during the winter, but now that it’s nicer out, I have more energy and I can go outside. I go for runs, walks, & bike rides fairly regularly, and then I lift hand weights maybe once or twice a week.

Regular journaling and recording of my daily activities

Unfortunately, I don’t really journal anymore. I only did daily logs (short descriptions of my day) for a few weeks. I did journaling a few times a week for maybe a little longer. It seems like if I don’t keep a consistent streak going with it, I drop journaling habits pretty fast. Also, journaling on paper makes my hand hurt, cause I think faster than I can handwrite (I think faster than I can even talk).

Various monthly and year-long goals, including reading a book monthly, learning 500 German vocab words, and identifying 50 trees

One of my big lessons from these goals is that any goal with a scope larger than “daily” is actually really hard to keep sight of in the face of daily life! On the other hand, I have identified a number of trees with this great field guide I got, so that’s cool. But I totally forgot I was going to study German again.

And I certainly haven’t read a book monthly. It’s possible I’ve started a book about once a month, though. I just end up doing most of my reading on the internet these days.

I will say, I’ve dropped the habit of reading Twitter recently, which is promising. For a while, I actually got a lot of enjoyment out of Twitter and learned a lot from reading it, but it’s not the same for me anymore and it’s better that I drop it at this point. So maybe that will open up more room for me to read.

You may judge for yourself how my goals went, but in the end, I’m glad I tried to do them. I learned about what works and what doesn’t, I proved to myself I can hold habits longer than I thought, and all the positive things I did were worthwhile, even when I didn’t keep doing them.

So with all this in mind, I’ve recently been thinking again about how I want to manage my priorities and time. My mom said the first & last hours of the day are really important for setting up the rest of the day well, so I might try to come up with a consistent routine of good habits for just those parts of the day.

Side note: an idea for managing personal projects

I’ve also thought about how to set myself up for success for future projects, including things I want to do here on my gomesite. I think I need to set a limited amount of time to do a given project, and then budget out that time over a reasonable time span. Like, if I want to write some program, but I don’t want to sink too much time into it, I should decide up front that I’ll only spend, say, six hours on it. Then I can spread that time over a few evenings, commit to doing it for that limited scope, and reevaluate if I want to carry on at the end of it.

It’s a more structured approach than I’m used to, but it might help me execute on more of my ideas. And the addition of structure certainly helped me with writing on my gomesite.

How are your 2023 resolutions going? What projects or habits are you currently working on? What projects or habits have you recently dropped? Let me know your thoughts at my Ctrl-C email: gome ​@ ​