2023: Goals, Aspirations, Resolutions, A Don’t Do List, Rejections and a Word of the Year

Starting 2023 with a virus, I read more blog posts than I wrote. This meant I got to read a whole slew of New Year posts – some on goal setting, a whole heap on Word of the Year, but the new – and interesting – addition, was a couple focused on Rejections. Even while feeling rubbish, I felt a little spark πŸ™‚


For this year and for the foreseeable future, I reject…

Feeling overly obligated in the growing clash between my day job and my business as a life and dating coach. My day job demands full-time attention whenever they want or need it, but at part-time pay for this access. This makes it difficult to build my coaching business. I don’t allow the day job’s requirements to intrude on my client commitments, but all the other stuff that goes into building a successful business gets put on the back burner. The demands of the last three months have caused me enough problems to face that a change needs to take place. I’ve worked there for 22 years, but there’s a realisation which cannot be avoided – that I give my time to them without hesitation or thought due to a sense of obligation which is out of all relation to what is rational.This will change.

Fear of saying yes to something I want to do sometime, but don’t feel ready to do right now. There’s been a couple of opportunities come my way which have been well outside of my comfort zone – and I’ve said no, because I believed that neither my business nor I were in the right place. Another realisation is that you have to take the opportunities when they come calling, so I’ll be calling upon my word of the year from last year (courage) when future opportunities come knocking.

Expecting my body and my emotions to run on empty is a long-term issue. I’m good at managing my depression whenever I feel it start tapping on the door, but I’m bad at maintaining the routines which keep it at bay – especially when the weather isn’t conducive. Today I danced along the corridor for my exercise, as the outside world is cold and icy. There will be more of this going forward πŸ™‚ I’ve also long felt the need for the sand beneath my feet, yet struggle to persuade my other half to take holiday and feel bad about going away without him. So, this year, I will be going away to a Welsh beach with a friend, and will walk on that sandy beach barefoot, regardless of the weather conditions πŸ˜‰

Word of the Year

I haven’t set any goals, aspirations or resolutions, but I do intend to live my life with more purpose. To that end, I’ve selected a word of the year – Onward! I plan not to examine the past with blame, but to use the foundations I now have in all areas of my life to build and make forward progress. I first had a WOTY in 2020, and it worked out very well for me in a notoriously difficult year. The following year my selection was an abject failure – for the simple reason that I wasn’t in any way clear on what it was I wanted, and seemed to be waiting for it to manifest all by itself without my doing the work! Yup – insert mega eye roll here…

After that lesson, I engaged a business coach for 2022 and also finally settled on a WOTY – Courage – during the spring. I learned a great deal from my coach, but struggled to put my learnings in to action, as I had a serious issue with putting my head above the parapet. After peeling back the layers, we uncovered how a lot of stuff from way back when was holding me back. And yes, it did take courage to face, uncover and work through.

I thought I’d share the deepest layer with you, as it’s an interesting tale. Aged not yet 11, my family relocated from India to Nigeria. On arrival it became clear that although the civil war was being fought in outlying areas, martial law was firmly in place. The airport was full of soldiers armed to the teeth, and my father got into an argument with a senior officer. Although, we all made it safely home, I have a clear memory of the fear, as guns were being waved and threats made to my father. We had many lessons to learn about life in Africa and living in a city under martial law. With soldiers everywhere, on major junctions and manning roadblocks on the bridges that had to be crossed to move around a city spanning multiple islands – we children couldn’t stray far, and never went anywhere unaccompanied by one or other parent. But our parents went out most nights to socialise with colleagues, as was the norm, with my father throwing an armful of cigarette cartons into the back seat of the car before going out – to ease their path through those roadblocks. Many a night, my mother would remind him that he needed to stay cool and keep his infamous short temper under control.

Now, all of this has previously been discussed in therapy. But when my coach kept challenging me over what I believed would happen if I wasn’t liked… these memories are what came up, and with them the deeply buried belief formed at the time. Based on what I saw and heard as a child, I understood it was necessary to be nice and to be liked, that rocking the boat, saying anything controversial or upsetting, could result not only in the penalty of arrest and jail…. but being shot.

No rational brain would accept this belief, so my subconscious was where this belief lived, and it was determined to keep me safe. It did this by sabotaging any idea of putting myself out there in anything other than a totally unchallenging manner. Amazing things our brains, aren’t they? I bloody love Psychology πŸ™‚

Whether you’ve decided on a word of the year, goals, resolutions, aspirations, a focus, a don’t do list or things you’re rejecting – why did you choose what you chose? Is there a story behind your choices?

Β© Debra Carey, 2023

23 thoughts on “2023: Goals, Aspirations, Resolutions, A Don’t Do List, Rejections and a Word of the Year

Add yours

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. When I did my goals list, it was really about making sure that all the different parts of me are taken care of…health, brain, relationships, etc

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, that is a STORY. I’m not entirely sure I’d have been okay leaving my kids at home to socialize during a war, but I guess you can get used to anything. My own childhood was all about being perfect in order to get attention/ praise. It was never okay to make a mistake. Good for you for unearthing your story and doing the work to change. If there is one thing I learned from various layoffs in entertainment, it’s that every company likes to pretend it’s special, that employees are family–up until the moment they lay you off.

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  3. I love the title of this post. Talk about being all comprehensive! I can understand how your childhood experiences in Nigeria still influence how you behave today. How could they not? I don’t have a word of the year this year, nor did I make a list of goals. If there’s one thing the pandemic lockdown taught me it is do what you can in the here and now, don’t become discouraged by what you cannot control. Do your best, I suppose is really what I’m saying.

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  4. I took have grappled with the fear of saying yes and with the related fear of success that presents as procrastination. I researched several Nigerian presidential elections for a graduate course in political science, so I found your story fascinating and true to form with accounts I read then. This year, my word of the year is Focus. I need to pay attention to detail and complete several projects.

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  5. Thanks for sharing that story. I can’t imagine that danger. I don’t do resolutions but I do make vision cards most years to help me navigate through the different areas of my life and what I’d like to accomplish in them for the year. Last year my word was Abundance and I loved it. This year I’m going for Delight. We’ll see how it works.

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  6. I had a peaceful childhood. My husband didn’t. The Japanese invaded his city in China when he was three years old and didn’t leave for the next four years. So when martial law was declared when we lived in the Philippines, we had different responses. I wasn’t too worried; he bounced between worry and wanting to get in the middle of things. I’m sure martial law in the Philippines wasn’t nearly as bad as in Nigeria, although there were lots of untrained men with rifles everywhere we went.

    I’ve been sick this year, so my main goal is to get well. I’d also like to make a big effort to clean out cupboards, closets, and the big storage room under the stairs.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hope is a great word Natalie. Indeed, it’s the best word to have in your life. I hope that 2023 is a better, gentler year for you ❀


  8. Yes, I liked how you did that LA and I will still do something similar once I’ve put my stuttered start to the year behind me. Still drowning in tech issues, so a way to go before I’ll have a clear mind to get this done.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I know what you mean Autumn. Looking back, I cannot believe my mother (in particular) was relaxed about the whole thing. I suspect it was because everyone we knew was in the same boat, and that can normalise almost any type of behaviour. I am glad (and in no small way relieved) to have uncovered the buried message.

    Your childhood was tough too – that’s one hell of a message to live with, and I love that your awareness of it means D will not have to suffer in the same way.

    True dat what you say about business. I had a great chat with someone yesterday who talked to me about how she put together a business plan to be released from work with a good payout. That’s always been my intention, but she really helped me hone it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ha ha! There are so many bases to cover on this front – they seem to grow year-on-year πŸ˜‰

    Absolutely Ally, it doesn’t matter what the experiences in childhood are (negative or positive) they have an influence. I have to say that as useful as it was to uncover the hidden message, it was interesting and informative to examine the process from the psychological standpoint.

    Do you know, my choice of word was inspired by the Arthur Ashe quotation: start where you are, use what you have, do what you can. Your version of it – to do best – is a darn good way of putting it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello Michael & welcome πŸ™‚

    Thank you for letting me know how the fear of saying yes resonated with you. Although I know that it does for others, it does feel lonely when you appear to be surrounded by high achievers all the time, so it’s lovely when someone steps out of the shadows to say “me too”.

    Nigeria is such a fascinating country, although I’ve only been learning about it as an adult since I left. The war aside, I did love much about the experience of living there. Again, it’s kind of you to confirm that my experience chimes with others you’ve read. One can feel a bit of a drama queen when relating such experiences.

    I wish you every success with your WOTY. I know exactly what you mean about having multiple projects on the go which need completing.


  12. It was Jane – but there was a lot of good stuff in there too πŸ™‚ I have a degree of affection for Nigeria now in ways I didn’t at the time.

    Self-care has been my “thing” for a while now. In fact, I can (and often do) bore on the subject πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ooooh Janet, vision cards sound like a lovely idea. I’ve still got to make time to do a new vision/inspiration board. I am feeling the need for a bit of a pause in order to do some life laundry (de-cluttering of wardrobe, desk being just two) in order to give myself a bit of space – both physically and metaphorically to do the next bits.

    I love Delight as a WOTY – what a gorgeous word to select. I hope your 2023 is totally & utterly delightful!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Honestly Nicki, I think you’ve knocked the nail on the head there. We all experience situations differently, and I’ll bet there’s many of my peers who lived through those years in Nigeria and felt absolutely no serious threat whatsoever. It’s one of the drawbacks to being someone who notices the details and files them away.

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve been sick. It’s so draining, so I wish you all the best in achieving your main goal. Funnily enough, decluttering is on my agenda too. Last time I decluttered, things got “put aside” ready for the next bit – which never happened. This year, I aim to complete that process.


  15. Debs, excellent post about how our early years experience have a bearing on every thing going forward (often subconsciously) unless and until we challenge the beliefs that resulted from them.

    My word this year is EXPLORE. I spent very little time doing that in 2022 (thanks to moving and renovating) and now I want to make up for lost time. I was married to a man who refused to make time to travel (unless it was his idea and his way) and I got sick of that after a while and finally went on a trip overseas with my mother and daughter without him. He was invited but would not make the time to join us. So he told me to go without him and then got mad when I actually did. I’ve done a fair bit of travel since he died but not much since the pandemic for obvious reasons. So it’s time once again to get out there. Especially on this beautiful island I live on – I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of places to discover here.


    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thank you Deb ❀

    Explore sounds a wonderful word and I look forward to joining you – via your blog – as you travel to wonderful places, and even more of gorgeous VI.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The one time I chose a word of the year was 2020. I picked “leisure,” and then Covid hit. Couldn’t go anywhere, so there was an overabundance of leisure. Talk bout being careful what you ask for! I decided I’d forgo any more words of the year after that.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh it was your fault! πŸ˜€

    In truth, you’re so good at this manifesting shizzle that you don’t need no word of the year – and we don’t need you to risk changing the world inadvertently!


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