Because my birthday is in November, I spend a lot of time the last six weeks of the year reflecting — on both another trip around the sun and a fresh calendar year. I am going into 2023 really excited for everything in store over the next 365 days. In some ways, it feels to me like 2020 to 2022 was a chapter, and we’re flipping to a new one. Anyone else have that feeling?
Last year, my goals were to prioritize my mental + physical health, be better about saving money, and prioritize what matters most. (I didn’t outright come out and say this at the time, but the last goal was really me wanting a better work/life balance.) And for once, I think I accomplished all of these goals!
It’s no secret my physical health was at the forefront of my priorities last year. On the mental health side, I continued to regularly meet with my therapist — I see her virtually after work every other week and we have been working together for two+ years now. I sought out therapy to help with a particular issue that has now been resolved, but enjoy having that dedicated time of reflection to work through whatever challenges are on my plate or anxieties on my mind. It’s truly been one of the best investments I’ve made in myself! I also started working with a Registered Dietician from Culina Health in March and am so glad I have this resource in my life. I lost weight (and want to lose more), but more than that — I have learned so much and am just so much more confident in the food choices I make. I also made a commitment and really followed through on cooking from home, drinking less, and being nicer to myself as it relates to my food choices. I took a hiatus during a busy Q4, but just kicked off the new year with my Registered Dietician this week and am so excited to work on the goals we set together.
As it relates to money, I feel like I really hit my stride with my personal finances system this year — thanks in part to picking up Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich this fall. I saved a lot of money for retirement so I can live a life of leisure in older age, and I really analyzed both my monthly and annual spending. I know how much I spent on every trip I went on, how much I spent on weddings, how much I spent on gifts, and how much I spent on fixed expenses like rent + bills — all of which are helping to inform how I save and allocate my money this year. I also earned more money from A Touch of Teal than any year prior, which is so motivating as I head into 2023.
And lastly, as it relates to work/life balance, I am really proud of the changes I made in this arena. I worked really hard at work, but when I wasn’t at work, I feel like I left it there in a way I hadn’t the year prior. I didn’t spend my Sunday nights worrying about what Monday morning might bring, I ignored non-urgent emails and Slacks after hours and on vacation, and I had a very full + fun life outside of my 9-5. Your job won’t love you back!
I keep a list of my yearly goals in a note on my phone so I can refer back to them throughout the year and make sure I am making progress towards achieving them. And, I am excited to share some of my 2023 goals with you today —
I WANT TO TRAVEL LESS —
Between personal and work travel, I spent 53 nights on the road last year — and in May, I was only home for a single weekend. There were a lot of fun times on all of those trips, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that, at times, it was also exhausting. I have come to realize that when I spend my weekends traveling so much — as many of my trips this year were long weekends — it gives me very little downtime because as soon as I return home, I jump right back into a hectic work schedule. I need a certain amount of alone time to be the best version of myself, and I also really thrive during the week if I have the weekend to tackle my life admin — like apartment cleaning, grocery shopping — and have some time for my own creative projects (like this blog!).
I have also found that when I have so much travel going on, it takes away some of the novelty and excitement that leaving town brings. Half the fun for me is the anticipation of the trip — the planning, restaurant researching, packing, and counting down the days!
I definitely still want to travel this year, but I want to be more intentional about doing so. I want to better space my trips out — which is definitely hard sometimes since you can’t dictate when others get married! — and I want to be choosier about what I leave town for. The older I get, the more of a homebody I become. And, I have such a great life here in the DC area that I want to enjoy more of this coming year.
I also spent a lot of money in 2022 on travel and weddings, and this year, I’d love to divert some of those funds to other areas of my life that I had to cut back on — like apartment decor! — to fund that travel, which brings me to my next goal…
I WANT TO “FINISH” DECORATING MY APARTMENT —
I’ve lived in my apartment for two years now, and in the fall, re-signed my lease for a third year! Of all the apartments I have had an as an adult, this is hands-down my favorite one. I love the location, I love the layout, and I love that it has a huge balcony. It is also much larger than my previous Dupont Circle Studio, and because of that, I have slowly and steadily been adding furniture and art to fill out the space. I would much rather take my time to find the right pieces than to rush it and end up hating whatever I chose soon thereafter.
There are a few projects I want to take on this year to “finish” decorating — and I put finish in quotation marks because I don’t know if you’re ever truly done decorating a home since it can always evolve. But I want to fill up the remaining empty walls and spaces with furniture — and hire a photographer to shoot some photos for a proper home tour!
In my bedroom, I recently purchased a second vintage bamboo dresser for the space that I am so excited about (I will share more once it arrives in a few months!), and I’ve also been curating a gallery wall for over a year now that I need to hang. I also want to get new lamps for my nightstands — one of the ones I have was damaged in the move and doesn’t even turn on anymore, yikes!
In my living room, I want to get new art for over my couch (which I plan to purchase soon!), I want to finish styling a bookshelf I purchased last year (you can get a sneak peek here!), and I am on the hunt for a vintage sideboard to fill the last remaining space I could realistically fit a piece of furniture in this apartment. I know exactly which one I am looking for and have faith it will show up on Facebook Marketplace at some point this year!
I WANT TO CONTINUE TO SET MYSELF UP FOR SUCCESS FINANCIALLY —
I like the finer things in life, what can I say — but I also don’t want a lifestyle decrease in old age. As such, while I am living a great life now, as mentioned above, I want to continue to ensure that I am prioritizing my future finances as well. For me, that means saving aggressively for retirement, especially now when I can take advantage of compounding returns over the next 25-30 years before I retire. (I try not to think about how far off that is…) I have maxed out my 401(k) the past several years to the federal limits, and this year, I want to max out my Roth IRA, too.
I also want to keep consciously spending — making sure I am spending on things that I really care about and cutting back on the things I don’t — and, of course, I want to have a little fun with my money, too.
I WANT TO CONTINUE MY HEALTH JOURNEY —
I am so proud that I was able to improve both my mental and physical health last year, and in 2023, I really want to keep up the momentum to become an even healthier person.
One area of this journey I would love to double down on this year is redefining my relationship with alcohol. As I get older, I’ve noticed anytime I drink — even if it’s just a glass or two of wine — my anxiety the next day is higher than on a day when I don’t drink. It also really impacts my sleep, which takes time away from the things I really want to focus on the next day since I’m tired. I don’t drink at home by myself and I rarely drink during the week unless I have a date, so I want to focus on cutting back on the weekends and being more conscious about when I choose to drink alcohol at all. If this is something on your mind, too, I read Quit Like a Woman several years back and it was so enlightening and provided a lot of good historical context on our alcohol-obsessed culture.
I also am really excited to keep working with my Registered Dietician to make even more progress as it relates to my health goals — bring on the veggies and green smoothies!
I am entering 2023 really excited about what’s to come and really motivated to put in the work!