I’m starting of the “2023 Reflections” with a quote from my 2022 Reflections blog post, that very much still applies, if not more now than ever before:
I’m a firm believer in continuously working toward a set of goals, so I’m not much for new year’s resolutions, as I said last year . Nonetheless, I’ll never miss a chance for reflection. New year’s is the perfect time for that, especially given my new perspective on the twenty-something years. 2022 is the first year since graduating high school that I didn’t surprise myself with the amount of growth throughout the year, but in the best way possible. I used to end the year feeling intimidated at how I could possibly top the year before. Now that I know who I am, where I’m going, and that this is what this phase of life is about, I’m confident that the next few years will be as full of growth as the few before, but in different ways. I’m making a point to take advantage of each opportunity – or setback, since this unique time of life won’t last forever.
Similar to last year, I’ll start with the list of self-indulgent reflections, before moving on to how my opinions changed. Don’t mistake this for an ego. These are my accomplishments, point blank, and I deserve to be proud. That doesn’t mean I don’t have just as many things to work on - that’s what my current set of goals or 2023  is for.
Now that we got the context out of the way, here’s the list:
I found ways to exercise discipline and push myself more than ever before in the gym – without any major injuries (yet).
I made intentional dating choices more than ever before. Although the heartbreaks hurt just as much, they were fewer and further between.
I traveled to Hawaii, Italy, Switzerland, Turks and Caicos, and so much more within the US, and learned to embrace the pause in routine.
I always said I wanted children, but I was nervous if I really wanted children or not until I met one particular Mom and her two sons on the most beautiful train ride through the Swiss Alps. I’m nowhere near ready, but I’m looking forward to the day that I am ready for that experience of life.
I learned that one of my life goals is to push boundaries of humanity through the greatest range of experiences and accomplishments, while prioritizing safety and longevity.
I improved my makeup skills from far below average to intermediate, and learned to appreciate art in the process.
I learned how to make a friend in a room full of strangers.
I embraced being wrong, and proactively took accountability in my close relationships and at work. Even to a fault.
I came to understand the true power of eating well as a gift to your mind and body. I learned how to truly revel in that feeling, although I still have moments of weakness.
I’m not fully confident in my appearance every day, but I learned what it’s like to be excited about my appearance day a majority of the time. You’d be amazed at the positive spill-over into other areas of my life.
Rule #0: L is for Learning. I solidified my long-term mindset as a growth mindset.
I learned to love learning.
Against all odds, I passed the Solutions Architect exam.
I set boundaries with colleagues, friends, and family for my well-being (and ultimately those around me) even when the conversation felt impossible.
I discovered a new appreciation for reading, and began reading consistently.
I re-organized and donated all items that I no longer use on a regular basis.
I become even more proud of my sister every day as I watch her grow up and admire her maturity.
I was promoted from L4 to L5. I’m more than happy with where I stand from L5 to L6.
I made people around me smile at my ridiculous puns and jokes, even if I laughed more than anyone else.
I wasn’t afraid to embarrass myself or look stupid. I often went out of my way to embarrass myself, just because it’s funny.
I can feel myself transitioning from analyst to ‘manager’ in everything that I do at work.
I helped flip margins from negative to positive. I created a ‘path to green’ when there wasn’t one. More than anything, I had fun doing it.
I overcame my fear of New York City.
I’m sure I’m missing plenty of other accomplishments, but you get the gist. 2023 was the toughest year yet for some of the people closest to me, and I empathize. The point of listing accomplishments is to concentrate focus on the positive – because we have to for survival. That doesn’t mean ignoring the rest, specifically when it comes to the loss of loved ones. Good and bad are not mutually exclusive, and those who are no longer with us would want us to focus on the good. At least the people that I know.
In the growth mindset spirit, I’m going to share a ‘wish list’ of things I’d want to accomplish in 2024, if time and energy weren’t limited. I’ll get to some of them, but not all of them. That’s okay – these are my concrete, “mid-level” goals, as Angela Duckworth describes in Grit (separate post on that later).
I will correct my posture in a sustainable way, one step at a time.
I want to do the middle splits.
I will stop touching and fidgeting absentmindedly out of respect to my body and so that I don’t undermine myself.
I want to get promoted to L6.
I want to continue reading at the pace that I have for the last 2 months.
I want to learn more about Solutions Architect-ing to improve my relationships with business partners and impact on the business.
I want to go to Re:Invent.
I will restore, and improve my ‘focus’ muscle, as I can feel how it’s declined as I’ve picked up more responsibility without maintaining this discipline.
I want to learn to push myself in the gym as I’m improving muscle imbalances, not just when I’m working towards a PR.
I will be more understanding of others’ physical and mental state and how it impacts their perspectives.
I will understand how I can leverage my current responsibilities to have a positive impact on others and the world around me. I’m struggling with that at present.
I will develop a routine that leaves time for myself, friends and family while continuing to prioritize my career and my health.
I will learn how to fuel my body properly during the day to avoid the afternoon ‘hunger slump’ that I know all too well.
I will be more mindful of my financial future, and make decisions to prioritize it more as I get closer to having a family.
I want to seek out feasible ways to give back to the community without over-extending myself in the process.
I will continue to put myself first when setting boundaries.
I want to clean my apartment before traveling.
I want to re-organize my closet (again).
I will be more mindful of how often I go out to eat, especially on my own.
I will continue to strive for 8K steps/day, and increase my rate of success. I’ve been slipping recently.
I will make sure that I’m compliant with the return to office policy, even when I REALLY don’t feel like it.
I will continue writing in offline journals and using this blog as a space to reflect more broadly.
I want to develop a ‘signature’ makeup routine that celebrates my best features and doesn’t take 45 minutes.
I want to reduce my food waste by being more mindful of what I purchase and how much food I put on my plate.
I will learn more about the benefits of sleep, and prioritize my own sleep better.
I want to learn more about ‘flow state’ and develop a routine to reach it.
I will evaluate if it makes sense for me to spend 6 months completely on my own – which means zero dates. (Will be its own post.)
I want to be more on-time when it counts.
I want to find a balance between spending time with friends, while still having enough time for work and the gym without compromising.
I will continue to internalize the positive attitude and growth mindset that I’ve spent the past two years cultivating.
I will leave more time for more introverted people to speak by learning to embrace awkward silences.
I want to increase the consistency of the ‘cold burst’ for the last 30 seconds of a shower, especially when I don’t want to.
I want to take better care of my belongings as a sign of gratitude and respect to myself.
I want will to work toward lowering my stress and anxiety… Even though I have no idea how.
I will avoid using the word “can’t” as much as possible.
To everyone who makes life great (especially my family, close friends and co-workers), I appreciate you, and I hope that I’ve been able to do a better job showing it this year. Thank you. See you on the other side - Happy new year!