New Year, New Vibe

Simple self-improvement in 2024, as well as plans for this newsletter!

Hello, and Happy New Year!

I hope you were able to spend your celebrations in the company of loved ones. I spent my New Year's Eve with my wife and in-laws in Sorrento, where I was able to watch the fireworks erupt along the entire Neapolitan coastline. From Massa Lubrense to Bacoli, there was not an inch of the Italian sky untouched by the hour-long fusillade of fireworks.

Quite an awe-inspiring start to 2024! Here's hoping that it serves as a sign of the year ahead.

My first post of 2023 was a discussion of New Year's Resolutions, why they fail, and what to focus on instead. You can read it here.

In short, creating metric-based goals is a fool's errand for the most of us. Instead, we should focus on vibes (yes, I mean that unironically). Rather than saying "I want to lose 50 pounds" or "I want to read 100 books", we should instead set resolutions that sound a lot more like "I want to spend less of my afternoon indoors, and more time walking around my neighborhood" and "I want to spend less time on social media and more time reading interesting books."

With that all being said, I wanted to do a quick review of my 2023 vibes and set some new ones for 2024.

2023 In Review

I had three main goals for 2023:

  1. Write more, which means reading less

  2. Read more books, which means reading fewer articles/spending less time on social media

  3. Move more, which means sitting less

Write More

A huge win here. In 2021 I wrote one single post here. In 2022, I wrote one additional post. Less a newsletter and more a diary for the occasional online political drama that annoyed me, this was an unfulfilling place to spend my time. In 2023, however, things came alive. You can read more detailed stats here, but I wrote a total of twenty articles this year (including this one), and have really started to develop more of a writing identity.

Read More Books

Huge fail here. I hit a bit of a spell of burnout with reading and writing as I got sucked into other commitments, and this took a huge hit. After reading four books in 2022, I read... four books in 2023! I did, however, read more pages than I did in 2022, so we'll take the small wins where we can.

Move More

This one was more of a mixed bag. I started the year off strong, but things slowed down quite a bit after I sprained my ankle in Valencia. I never knew a sprained ankle could be such a nagging injury! It took about two months before I could navigate a longer distance without my walk becoming more of a limp. My Spring and Summer were more active, as I made full use of my under-desk treadmill. But Fall and Winter hit hard, and I trailed back off at the end of the year. So not a win, not a loss, more of a shrug than anything.

Overall, I give myself a B- on the year.

The Vibes to Come

Now, onto some goals for this year.

Publish More Consistently, Which Means Writing by the Seat of My Pants Less

I feel like my writing in 2023 has laid a solid foundation on which to build. In doing some end of year review, I've looked back at what I wrote earlier this year and cringed a little. I think directionally I was correct on a lot of things, but my writing just...wasn't great. And I think that, combined with self-judgement and a need to have some deep, transcendental take on the world made it really difficult for me to write about something unless I felt truly motivated in the moment.

Motivation and inspiration can be great tools to add fuel to the creative fire, but they can't start the fire from scratch. In order to cultivate something truly meaningful and special, you just need to start creating and not stop. So, my goal is to not stop. That means working to make writing a practice even when I don't feel the keyboard beckoning me.

Finish More Projects, Which Means Starting Fewer

I have a lot of projects in the hopper, at work and in my personal life. I've been writing music with friends, and we have a few songs waiting to be recorded, mixed, and mastered. I have what I think is a fun idea for another newsletter that I'd like to get up and running. And then there are the home projects. From the warzone that is our garage to the bare walls that I promised would be adorned with shelving, there's a lot to do around the house! The best part of many of these projects is that they're anywhere from 60-80% done. There is a clear path to finishing them, but I need to actually finish them before starting new ones.

Read More Books, Which Means Spending Less Time on Social Media

After the absolute wasteland that was my 2023 literary journey, I'm going to give this one another go. My local library has a year-long reading challenge with the reward being an exclusive shiny library card, so I'm also hoping I can trick my caveman brain into pursuing this eventual dopamine hit over a deluge of TikToks, YouTube videos, and TV shows.

Unlike in 2023, I plan to do a quarterly-or at least biannual-checkup on these goals. Hopefully that will keep me somewhat on task through the ebbs and flows of discipline and creative desire I've noticed exist in my world.

What are your goals for 2024? Let me know in the comments!

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