2023: Simply me

Welcome to a new year and a new set of personal goals and objectives. My primary focus for 2023 is me. Of course, that is generally the focus of my goals – from being more mindful to finding balance and everything in between. So, in many ways, this is just an extension of my overarching life goal to be happy.

A focus on me isn’t to say I won’t focus on others. Instead, it’s a way to remind myself to prioritise my own needs and my own life first. That will mean scheduling time to do the things I want to do, rather than doing things “if there is time”. Because there is time, I just need to make better choices for how I spend my time.

My primary goal for 2023: Simply Me

It’s been nearly a decade since I wrote about a desire to prioritise myself a bit, and I’ve done well on so many of the things I identified as important at the time. For this year’s goal, I will be revisiting those things, but I will also be working on other forms of prioritising myself and my own needs.

Some of these steps will be quite straightforward: I will schedule appointments for beauty and self-care treatments in advance so that they are “on the books”. This is in contrast to my normal practice of trying to schedule things at the last minute when I realise they need to be done and then not being able to get them done – or only getting things done just before a trip somewhere instead of having a facial or a haircut or a massage just because I want to look good for me.

Some of these steps will be a little more challenging: I will focus on my physical, mental, and emotional health on a more intentional basis. That means that I must put my personal needs ahead of my professional life and even the lives of my family and friends (to an extent). I will know I’ve succeeded in this when I stop putting off my runs, stop skipping or delaying meals, and stop ignoring my emotions in favour of taking on additional projects at work or because my needs are inconvenient to others*.

But the focus for the year isn’t just me, me, me. It is simply me.

By that, I mean that I will work to simplify my life and my focus a bit. Oh, sure, some of my measurable goals are a bit non-simple, but the idea of “simple” is more about not adding more complexity. Or more accurately, not adding unnecessary complexity. I need to kick back and relax a little more and I need to do the things that I enjoy without adding more things to my plate.

I want to focus on the simple things I already enjoy. I want to focus on the simple things I’ve wanted to try. I want to focus on the simple routines that make me happy; that makes me feel good about myself. I want to focus on the simple tasks, the simple foods, and the simple life.

Ultimately, “simply me” is about finding a good balance between my personal needs and wants and the needs and wants of external forces. Which is easier said than done. But I do love a good challenge. So, here I go into 2023 with a focus on simply me!

In addition to this overarching objective, I have set a range of measurable goals. Some of these are shared below whilst others are on my goals pages.

Steps: 4,500,000: I’m keeping the same step goal that I had for 2022. I feel that this is a reasonable aim having struggled just a bit when I pushed for 5 million in 2021. I am very confident that I will hit (and exceed) this goal but I’ve decided that rather than pushing further, I will just focus on the methods of getting those steps: running and walking in the hills – in addition to all the “normal” steps I will take throughout the year.

Running: I am keeping my 750-mile goal this year but adding a monthly minimum of 60 miles. That way, I am pushing myself a bit each month and not over-doing it in the last quarter of the year. I am also putting a full marathon back on the books and will run the Loch Ness Marathon again – and maybe another one if my body agrees. And, of course, I will aim to improve on all my run times.

My aim for running times is to improve on all my current personal best times and to hit a couple of sub-times in the process. So, it’s not going to be enough to just shave a second or two off a current time. Instead, I will work to shave a couple or even a few minutes off some distances (half and full marathons, for example).

I am also setting a “soft” running goal to improve my overall form and pace. This will require me to focus a bit on how I run as much as the distances and times for my runs. I am not quite certain how I will work this into my overall running plans, but I’ll figure it out as I go along.

Walking: Once again, I will aim to walk at least 365 miles for the year. I want to include new summits, but I also want to include more seaside or forest walks. Much of my walking in recent years has been in the Pentland Hills – which is great – but I want to get out to new places this year. This includes a goal to summit my first Munro (and hopefully more than one of them). My walking goals will pair up nicely with my travel and geocaching goals, too.

Geocaching: Much like my running goals, my geocaching goals will be based on monthly aims. The goal will be to find 4 geocaches each month which will lead to (at least) 48 finds over the course of the year. I also have a goal to have two of my own hides published.

Projects: I have a long list of projects that need attention, and I will prioritise many of them this year. Whilst the larger list of “big” things will be forthcoming on my goals page, some of these plans include craft projects (crocheting with Mum’s wool and completing some of her unfinished projects), cooking projects (finalising the last family cookbook Mum and I were working on), and cottage projects (from gardening to painting, I have a long list of home tasks to tackle this year).

Travel: I had “big plans” for travel in 2020 but COVID had other ideas. So now, for 2023, I’m reviving the dream. Most of my travel will be UK-based (long weekends exploring and walking) but I will also make plans to return to America for my summer holidays and for Christmas. I may even make another trip to the east coast of America if things go well.

Like most years, I expect 2023 to be filled with ups and downs, highs and lows, and successes and failures. But as I always do, I am entering the new year filled with new hope for a better tomorrow. And in a year’s time, I will be able to reflect on these next 12 months and I know that I will be a better person for having lived through them.  

* That is not to say I will never re-shuffle priorities to help those in need (personal or professional life) when I want/need to. But at this point in my life, I tend to always prioritise others over myself. I must stop doing that. And some people (Dad, for example) will always be a priority!

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