James Clear, the writer of Atomic Habits, quoted author Patricia Digh in his latest newsletter. Here is what she said:
“At the end of each year, I ask myself two questions:
1) What do I want to create in this New Year?
And, perhaps even more importantly,
2) What do I want to let go of?”
They’re great questions, so what are my answers? It’s something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to over the last few months. A few weeks ago, I wrote this on the first page of my 2023 diary:
Why new beginnings? Because while I am continuing with some of the projects I’ve been involved with over the last few years, I’ve carved out time in the new year to work on several new enterprises, including a new original novel and spec scripts for TV and film. 2023 will see me turning 50 and I want it to be a springboard to the next part of my career. In all honesty, it’s a bit scary. I’ve turned down a few high-profile gigs to make the time I need to pursue those goals. It would have been so easy to take them – and I am absolutely aware of how fortunate I am to be in a position where I can say ‘no’ to work – but I have to take a punt on the ideas that are buzzing around in the back of my brain and, as David Bowie once said, go a little bit further out into the water, to push myself just that little bit more and see what I can create.
A bit scary? Who am I kidding, I’m terrified, but I’ve got to do it and am taking comfort from words Neil Gaiman wrote on this day in 2012:
It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world.
So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them.
And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation.
So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.
Bravery and joy. Those will be my watchwords for 2023.
As for Patricia’s second question, I want to reduce the amount of time I spend on social media. The recent shenanigans of Twitter’s new owner have made it easier for me to walk away from the platform. This coming week, I will be wiping the slate clean on my Twitter profile, deleting all my previous tweets and using it only to signal boost news and general updates, most likely pointing back to this website. And while I will still be found on Instagram and a handful of other platforms, I’ll be cutting back on the time I spend trawling through feeds, probably setting myself a time quota each day. The time I’m hoping to save will be ploughed into reading and creating, as well as trying to be more present with my family.
Why post all this? It’s to plant a flag, setting out my intentions so I can be held accountable. I want to be able to look back at this post on 31st December 2023 and say, yup, I took my best shot.
Whatever your goals for the next twelve months, I hope you have a peaceful and prosperous new year.
See you in 2023!