What does 2024 hold in store?

Photo by Danil Aksenov on Unsplash

One of the great things about writing articles weekly is that it’s pretty easy to go back to them and see how life panned out in 2023.

These last few days I’ve been resharing some of the most meaningful articles that I’ve written this year. It’s a good way of being able to reconnect with the ebbs and flows of the last 364 days.

So in my 52nd and final article of 2023, let’s first look back to help me look forward.

But let’s start with what I’m feeling right now. Although in the short term I’m still feeling tired from a year that seemed to finish late, I feel like I’m in a much better place than I have been throughout the course of this year. Last week, I described this as a ‘foundational year’, in that I feel far clearer in many aspects of my life compared to the beginning of the year.

I dug out my old articles, and found one looking at how 2022 went. I also found one of 2021 as well.

Ironically I wrote that I thought 2022 would be my foundational year. Instead, it turned out to be a year of frantic exploration and kicking off some radical change. 2022 was the year where I really shook the snow globe of my life. 2023 was about letting the snow settle into place.

It’s also interesting to read about the evolution of the way I see the world. in 2021, I wrote about achieving a lot, but not feeling particularly happy. We were still in lockdown times, and I was still settling in with a new job and moving countries. The emotional separation of leaving the UK was still weighing heavy on me.

2022 felt like I had something to prove. I was leading into the December period with ambitions of doing many different things. I had just published my book, and was already planning on working on a podcast, as well as thoughts of a next book. Reading this all now sounds exhausting, and with the benefit of hindsight I can see how hard I was pushing myself to achieve all these things. It was as if I was fighting against time itself.

Whilst this definitely carried over into the first half of 2023, by the end of this year I feel far more relaxed. I don’t feel the need to have 50 different goals, nor grand ambitions to do new, cool sounding stuff. In contract, my December was left pretty empty this year. What is nice is that this was just an intuitive sense of keeping my schedule light, rather than something I had to force myself to do.

My shift in mindset is not due to a drop in ambition. If anything, they’ve only increased. But it stems from a deeper knowing that I don’t really need a bucket list of cool sounding things to drive my life forward. I know that I will do lots of cool and exciting things anyway, so pre-supposing lots of goals doesn’t really make too much sense to me anymore. Instead, I want to be put myself in a mental and physical space where I am best able to seize the opportunities that will appear in the next 12 months.

The idea of not having lots of goals can feel quite counterintuitive. We’re so used to being told that having goals are important. But I equate it to riding a bike with stabilisers. When we are just beginning in our search for direction, it is helpful to have goals to push us forward. Otherwise, we drift aimlessly, or fall flat on our face.

I feel like I’ve come to a moment where I don’t need the restrictive list of goals. I can take the stabilisers off, and ride where life takes me far more freely. This would have been too daunting before, but now I have reached a level of mastery where I am far more comfortable with the unknown.

So then, how do I look at 2024? Well, I think a lot of the things that I’ve set in motion in 2023 will bear greater fruit – my personal development, focus on relationships and greater focus on mental/physical wellbeing. I’m already seeing life feel more rhythmic and fun rather than a constant struggle to get somewhere. which is what it was before

Despite what I said about goals, there are a few things in my mind that I want to do (the difference being I won’t chastise myself if I don’t!).

Firstly, physical health is finally going to get top spot. For years it has languished lower down the priority list, but it’s time I really connect with my body and work to improve my fitness and general healthcare. It’s definitely improved over the last 6 months, but there’s further I can go.

This is probably one of the most daunting ones for me. I’ve made many attempts to ‘get fit’ ‘or ‘get in shape’, and they’ve never really stuck. Usually it’s because other things take precedence. This is not what I want to happen in 2024.

As another idea, I may go back to writing a new book. The itch for writing returned over the last few days, and I have a longstanding idea around a philosophical fiction book – currently entitled ‘Jane’s quest for meaning in the 9 to 5’. I wrote the first four pages this year, then stopped. It would be a nice project to return to, and I feel better equipped to write it as well.

I did a lot of personal development courses last year, so I feel less pulled to do lots more right now. That may change, but at least for the next few months I want to slow down with consumption of new material. Also from a financial standpoint, I’ve invested so much to the point where money has felt a strain. It would be good to have a few months pause, pay off some overdrafts and feel more financially solvent. I’m fortunate that this doesn’t require any dramatic cut backs, though it is an exercise in self-control.

If there is one course I would like to do, it would be a Vipassana retreat. These are 10 day silent meditation courses, hosted in retreat centres globally. I flirted with attending one this year, but honestly, I was already doing so much. One thing I’m noticing is how much I love the stimulation of life, to the point I just want more and more. I think this would be a great ‘reset’ button around a lot of my habits and way of living. No doubt it’ll be tough, but I think it would be so valuable.

Otherwise, I want to keep myself open and responsive to life. I want to allow free space and energy for new things to come into my life, rather than booking it all out already. Like many people, I think I’ve been guilty of letting great things pass me by. Whilst no one does this intentionally, it often comes from an overfocus on pre-set goals. This isn’t something I want for 2024.

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