Another year has flown by and it’s already the cusp of 2024! How did that happen?!? I was looking over my Year in Review from 2022 and it felt like 5 years ago, not merely 11 months back. Time is flying by!
This time of year is so special for me as it is both the end of the year and my birthday month. I love Christmas and the holiday season, and particularly in Germany with all the Christmas markets and festive traditions. It brings me a lot of joy! Add in that this year we actually have snow – proper snow that is staying on the ground! – and I’m feeling especially festive and in the mood for seasonal cheer.
September brings me the “start new projects” feeling of newness. December is more the time of year when I feel ready for reflection and contemplation. How about you, Tina? Are you in a reflective frame of mind this year?
My starting point on the Year in Review reflection for the past few years has been this quote from James Clear:
“How much overlap is there between what you say is important to you and how you spent your attention over the last year?”
I have to admit, the answer for 2023 is: some overlap, but not nearly as much overlap as I had intended. My Word of the Year for 2023 was Balance; something I felt I was missing in 2022, and wanted more of this year. Work-life balance. Better balancing of my time. More intentionality. I did implement some balance, but fell short in other areas.
A friend of mine makes a “Glows & Grows” list: what she did well, and what still needs work. I love that, and here is a snapshot of some of mine:
😊 I created my Ideal Week plan.
😊 I started back into regular sports & exercise. I restarted the Couch to 5k running app and even found two running partners to run with!
😊 I grew my business by 50% this year and even hired a second assistant last week to help me with calendar & email management.
😊 I learned a lot! I got certified in ZRM goal-setting, the Strengths Compass, and completed Susan David’s Emotional Agility for Wellbeing at Work course.
😐 I worked way too many evenings and weekends. Still working on finding the right balance there.
😐 What didn’t get put into my calendar didn’t happen. There were a lot of “let’s go hiking at some point”-type ideas that never came to fruition because I didn’t plan them.
😐 I was not the best correspondent this year. My written interactions took a real hit with me working more than I planned.
If you were to make a Glows & Grows list for 2023, what would be on yours??
I return to this article year after year to guide my Year in Review reflections. The questions are timeless and really help me to see clearly where I put my energy and focus in the past year, and what I want to prioritize and learn in the coming year. Questions like “What were the gifts of 2023?” and “What do you need to let go of to start 2024 fresh?” are great journaling prompts too.
It’s also fun to recapture some of the key moments of the year – are there any themes? These 15 questions are a great way to review the year.
Reviewing the year and setting intentions for the New Year is something we have done as a family for the last 10 years! Our New Year’s Day tradition is to do a review and then to re-read what we wrote last year. It’s been fascinating to see the development of the children’s goals and it has also been a really useful motivational tool throughout the year. Kids do well with accountability too! 😉 This is the family-friendly Year in Review we use.
MY ‘BEST OF’ 2023…
For those of you who are regular readers, you know I recommend at least one book per newsletter. And those are not all the books I’ve read, but the ones I think are properly worth recommending!
I’ve distilled my favourite reads into four categories this year:
- Best of Fiction
- Best of Non-Fiction
- Best of Audiobooks
- Best Podcasts
Best of Fiction
There were a number of contenders for the top 10 spots this year, but those first 5 (left-hand column) were easy to choose. Absolutely loved them and in all 5 cases, devoured them in more or less one sitting. Couldn’t put them down. I was really busy with work this year and books had to really grab me in order to get my attention away from that. These most definitely did!
What books grabbed you in 2023? Are there any that I missed this year?
Best of Non-Fiction
I started out the year with Wintering, and continued in that vein with Silence in the Age of Noise. Those books really reflected my need for more quiet and balance (still working on both!).
The other theme that emerged from my non-fiction reading was my quest for more efficiency and time savings: Buy Back Your Time by fellow Canadian Dan Martell was a brilliant read for the entrepreneur and was what led to me hiring my second assistant! I also really enjoyed Deep Work by Cal Newport and am definitely going to be building in more deep focus time in my Ideal Week for 2024!
I have a rather substantial stack of non-fiction books I still want to read. I am still dreaming about a “Reading Sabbatical” where I take three months off and just go read! 😉
Best of Audiobooks
I listened to significantly more audiobooks this year than usual (and not surprisingly read less physical books). Part of it was wanting to multitask – doing the laundry is so much more fun when listening to a compelling story! – and part of it was my love of voice and prosody! I do a lot of work with my coaching clients on Executive Presence and public speaking, and how we use our voice comes up a lot. I am hooked by a good narrator. And there were a number of superbly narrated series that I listened to this year.
But absolutely nothing could come close to Robert Glenister reading The Running Grave by Robert Galbraith. He is auditory bliss! I listened to The Running Grave twice in succession, and I honestly listened to some of the key parts up to a dozen times. Loved. It.
No newsletter ‘Best Of’ would be complete without some podcast recommendations! 😊 These were my favourite podcasts:
What’s on your ‘Best Of’ list for 2023? I’d love you to share! I will share all the recommendations in the first newsletter of 2024!
Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and healthy holiday season, and an auspicious start to the New Year!!
Be emotional. Stay healthy.