Neil Macy

Reviewing My 2023 Challenges

At the start of the year, I wrote my personal challenges for 2023. So obviously I’ll review them now, at the end of the year.

My challenges for 2023

  • 📚 Read 20 books.
    • ❌ Nope. I’ve read 7. It’s been an abysmal year for reading.
  • 🎧 Listen to at least 1 album every month.
    • ✅ This was intended to be unique albums. I listened to a lot at the of the year, hit my target, then mostly went back to ones I’d already listened to. But it’s achieved its goal, because I’m listening to lots more albums now, and fewer playlists.
    • 🏃 Run at least 1 time every month.
      • ❌ I expected this to be loaded towards the latter half of the year. But it was actually evenly spread. And abysmal, again. 3 runs all year.

    My daily challenges

    • 🇫🇷 Practice French every day.
      • ✅ I really love doing this, and Duolingo is a great app too.
    • 📓 Write in my diary every day.
      • ✅ Much like practicing French, I love doing this. Day One is great for showing you previous years’ entries too, which adds a lot to the experience. I do have a new-found draw towards paper journals, because I worry about its longevity otherwise. And I don’t like the platform lock-in from Day One being Apple-only. But the convenience of always having my journal available on my phone means it’s easy to write, and that’s meant I can keep this trend up. And I really value that.
    • ✍️ Write something every day. (This can be a blog post on this site, or some progress towards the novel or the short story I'm working on.)
      • ❌ Another bad one. I’ve only written on 51 occasions all year. And I found that having this site has taken away from writing fiction, which is probably more important to me, but is harder.


    The overarching theme has been that I’ve found it really hard to achieve much of what I set out to this year. That’s a reality of having two children under 3, frankly. Daytimes are very intensely focused on them, and work takes priority alongside them.

    I’ve spent a lot of time watching TV, which wasn’t one of my goals. But 90+% of that was on my iPhone and AirPods, in the middle of the night, with a sleeping baby in my lap, because my younger child sleeps terribly at night.

    Thanks to that sleep deprivation (I don’t use the term lightly), for both my wife and I, a lot of the rest of the day has been a very different experience to what I expected. It’s hard to run, write lots, or even read much, when you’re getting 4 hours sleep ON AVERAGE per night, over a whole year, and also have to be responsible for two small children. And those sleepy hours of being awake in the night are when you actually get a chance to do things for yourself.

    Interestingly, I tried to read a lot more, but my brain just can’t handle reading in the night. TV is the only thing that’s kept me awake when my body is insisting that’s the wrong thing.

    When the reality of my current lifestyle hit, I adapted my challenges, and set myself two new goals: Watch all of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels before Ahsoka started on Disney Plus, and watch all of the Marvel Infinity Saga movies that I hadn’t already seen (everything after the first Guardians of the Galaxy, around 10 movies). Both of which I smashed, thanks I guess to the baby sleeping so badly.

    Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. And I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything. But I’ve learned this year that goals need to adapt when life happens.

    I’m not sure what I’ll do next year yet.

    Published on 30 December 2023