Welp. That’s another year down.
I thought about wishing you all a happy 2023, but that hasn’t worked out super well for anyone for a few years. We can all agree that we’re just going to tiptoe into 2023 and try not to disturb anything, right? Right??
After my post last week about things I’m going to stop, start, and continue, I ruminated a little more on how to accomplish things I want to accomplish this coming year. Here’s the thing… I’m sort of avoiding super specific goals and focusing more on behaviors, mindset, and inputs. It’s not that I don’t have anything specific on my mind or list, but I am trying to keep from making big, audacious goals that may or may not work out for reasons that I may not be able to control.
So I started thinking about the things I can control, and then I started thinking of “rules” I can set for myself, and before I realized it, I had a list of ten things I can use to guide my behaviors and thoughts in 2023. I don’t know if these will help anyone else, but if they do, please feel free to steal, copy, pirate, or alter these to suit your own life.
Amy’s Ten Rules for 2023
1. Pray more.
I think I’ve mentioned before that I am not very good at prayer. For 2023, I just need to start focusing on it more. I’ve tried committing to a certain amount of time, but that always fails, because my mind drifts horribly. Instead, I’m going to make a list of things to pray about, use it as a bookmark in my Bible, and just try to hit all those highlights every day. We’ll see where it goes from there.
(Yes, another list. The older I get, the more I live by lists.)
2. Move every day.
Even on days when I don’t lift weights or go running, I need to move my body somehow. I intend to start integrating some active rest days of yoga, stretching, and easy walks into my routines. It’s unrealistic to expect that I will do formal exercise every day, but I can commit to moving my body in some fashion every day–even if it’s a ten-minute walk around the block.
3. Focus on the inputs.
I tend to get very focused on goals, and then when I don’t reach them, I get very upset with myself. But the reality is that all I can control is what I put into the process. I have little control over whether people buy my book or hire me to write stuff for them, I have limited control over how fast my body chooses to respond to diet and exercise, and I have no control over what other people think and feel. All I can do is promote and market myself, choose good foods and perform decent workouts, and manage my own behavior. The rest is up to other forces.
4. Be kind.
It’s not that I’m mean–the opposite, I think. I try too hard to be nice. But nice isn’t always kind, and sometimes kind isn’t nice. I’m not looking for excuses to be a jackass, but also, I need to be kind to others–and to myself. And sometimes the kindest thing to do is to kick someone in the butt–including myself.
5. Be brave.
My list of 23 hard things is full of stretch assignments. Those assignments will require bravery. I suspect I will be taking a lot of deep breaths this year.
6. Be gritty.
I tend to be rather tenacious by nature, but I’m not sure I’m always gritty, especially when it comes to my fiction. I have avoided a lot of promotional activities because of fear of embarrassment, bad reviews, or lack of results. But the thing is… those things are necessary to the process. Too often, I find too many reasons (excuses) to abandon things that are uncomfortable in favor of comfort. In 2023, I will push myself to fight through the discomfort.
7. Ask for help.
Holy cats, this one is tough. I am terrible at asking for help for so many reasons. I don’t want to bother people, I don’t want to make waves, I don’t want to interfere with others’ plans, I don’t want to spend money to pay for help… All of the above. But the reality is that I cannot do everything, and if I want to accomplish anything, I occasionally need to ask for help. This may be the biggest stretch assignment I have for 2023.
8. Tell the truth.
I am not always good at telling people in my life the truth of what I think and feel. Sometimes that’s okay; there’s no reason to start a fight with someone you have little to no relationship with. But other times? I really need to start being more honest about important things.
9. Practice gratitude.
I have heard many people suggest that actively practicing gratitude is the key to happiness. It makes sense. If you are thinking about what you’re thankful for, you have less time to think about all the things you don’t have or the things other people have that you envy. I intend to write down one thing I’m grateful for every day. If there are more, great. If I repeat myself, fine. I just need to start practicing gratitude as a discipline, not just nodding to it as it skips past.
10. Choose contentment.
Not happiness. I am increasingly convinced that our pursuit of “happiness” is partly what leads to unhappiness. It’s possible that we simply don’t have a good understanding of what “happiness” is, or it may be that we are just looking for a euphoric high to claim as “happiness.” Whatever the case, happiness seems to elude me, so instead, I will choose contentment. At the beginning and end of each day, I can look forward and backward and choose to be content with what I have, where I am, and where I’m going.
Maybe I shouldn’t call these “rules.” Maybe they’re more like guidelines. I’m not sure. But I do know that they are designed to direct my thoughts and behaviors in a more positive direction, no matter what 2023 brings.
And speaking of wishes, hopes, and gratitude… Once again, I want to express my gratitude to all of you who have decided to follow me, read my scribblings, and share my stories with others. I am truly thankful for each one of you, and I am praying, hoping, and wishing for every good blessing upon all of you in the coming year.
Here’s to another revolution around the sun!