My Plans for 2023

Colin Wren
6 min readJan 2, 2023

Looking back on my plans for 2022 I achieved four out of eight of the things I set out to do:

  • Move to self-hosted tech stack: I found a NAS that I liked and have for the most part managed to migrate off iCloud and a bunch of SaaS products. While I’m completely off some products I’m happy enough with my setup to mark this as complete.
  • Decide if I’m buying a house in the UK or moving abroad: I ticked this one off in November when I found out that my only viable means of moving abroad fell through. I did almost buy a flat earlier in the year but had to pull out of the purchase due to some misrepresented costs but given the mortgage landscape it’ll probably be another year or so until I try again.
  • Read all the Pokemon Adventures Manga: I managed this fairly early on in the year but it took me a while to track down some of the physical volumes to have a ‘proper’ collection. The sword and shield saga is still unfolding so I’ll be keeping up with new volumes as they are released.
  • Take a sabbatical at work: This was pretty easy to do as it was scheduled but I did have to change my focus from what I had originally planned. I decided instead of building Reciprocal.dev to shut it down and I swapped Japan for Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

There were four items on my list I failed to do:

  • Lose 3 stone: I failed this one because my day job and my side hustles had me glued to my desk a fair amount. I’ve only managed to lose 4kg (half a stone) so far but I’ve started building up a system to help me lose more weight.
  • Screenprint 5 pieces of art: I did buy a screenprinting kit but it turned out that the space I had available in my flat to do it was too small so I was unable to make prints to the level of quality I was hoping for. I may revisit this by joining the local print studio I had done a class at before.
  • Get our first paying customer for Reciprocal.dev: Due to my day job becoming very demanding in January I wasn’t able to put the time in for Reciprocal.dev and when things eased up in October I decided to shut everything down and focus on improving my physical and mental health instead of diving back into things.
  • Go to Japan: I did actually book flights to Japan in 2022 but this was back when the visa requirements were still strict so I ended up transferring them over to flights to Scandinavia instead. Of course a week after that transfer Japan opened up fully but I decided that while the country was open it was probably better to give them some time to get their tourism economy running again.

I think 2023 is going to be a less ambitious year compared to 2022. I’ll be starting a new job in February and I want to focus less on trying to build a side business in my spare time and instead focus on my hobbies.

Here’s some goals that I’d like to aim for:

Settle into my new job

In February I’ll be starting a new job as an Engineering Manager. This is a step up from my previous role so I want to focus my energy ensuring that I adapt to the new challenges (especially as I’ll have just come off a sabbatical so might be a little rusty).

I’ll have a three month probation period so I’ll use passing that probation as a means of measuring how successful I was meeting this goal.

Achievability: High

Improve my physical health

I had looked to lose some of my pandemic weight in 2022 but didn’t get much of it off so I’ll be looking to continue this goal in 2023. I’ll be back at work so I’ll need to build up a system to enable myself to keep my activity levels up to the level I’ve achieved while on sabbatical.

During my time off I’ve made a point to go for a walk around town in the evening so even if I’ve not been working from the office I’ve still made the same walk. I’m hoping to continue this and moving my focus from side-hustles to my new job should afford me the time in the evenings to keep this up.

In order to measure my success I’ll look to hit my target weight of 9 stone (so I need to lose 2 stone).

Achievability: Medium (my new job may involve long hours or I get distracted by an opportunity)

Improve my mental health

I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2022 and I’ve still not really processed what this means for me so I’d like to take some time in 2023 to better understand everything. I have the option to try meds which I’m hesitant to explore but depending on how the rest of my goals go I might try them.

I may also start seeing a therapist to work through some stuff so I think putting some effort towards mental health is wise.

It’s hard to set a quantifiable target for this so I think I’ll measure my success based on how I feel at the end of the year. If I feel as though I know how my ADHD impacts my life and I feel more in control of some of the other aspects I’m worried about then I’ll consider this goal met.

Achievability: Medium (this is a new area for me so I can’t say if I’ll achieve it)

Go see the Northern Lights again

The Northern Lights in Iceland
A very blurry picture of the Northern Lights taken by myself in 2011. I have a better camera and a tripod this time so I hope I can take a better shot

I still had some of the British Airways voucher money from the failed Japan trip to use up by 2023 so started looking at flights to tick off another item on my bucket list which was to see the Southern Lights, it turned out though my best chances of seeing them are in 2024 when the activity will be strongest.

I decided instead to go to Iceland and see the Northern Lights for my birthday (early Jan) as I had done this previously in 2011 and was not prepared at the time, having taken a bank loan to pay to get out there but hadn’t thought about actually doing anything.

I’ll be a little more prepared and take my tripod this time (last time I tried to just stand really still in -15C weather, it didn’t work) as well as being in a better financial situation so the trip can be a little more adventurous.

Measuring this goal should be easy, if I make it to Iceland and I see the Northern Lights then I was successful

Achievability: High (it might not show up but I’ve got multiple days to try)

Arrange trip to see the Southern Lights in 2024

A stretch goal from the Northern Lights goal would be to arrange a trip to go see the Southern Lights next year.

I’ll need to book flights to New Zealand in June/July (their winter) and head to the southern most part of the South Island in order to do this which isn’t cheap so I’ll need to spend most of 2023 saving up to afford the trip.

As I’ve never been to New Zealand before there’s a bunch of research I’ll need to do into how long to go for and if it’s better to split the trip across both islands or do two separate trips to them as I want to visit Hobbiton also.

Much like the Northern Lights goal this one is easy to measure as I should have the holiday booked by the end of the year.

Achievability: High

Create one piece of vector art

Instead of trying the screen printing goal again I think this time I’ll look to create one piece of art that could then be screen printed. That way if I happen to do the screen printing then I’ve gone above and beyond and if I don’t then I’ve not failed my goal.

I’ll measure this goal based on if I’ve done the artwork and published it.

Achievability: High

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Colin Wren

Currently building reciprocal.dev. Interested in building shared understanding, Automated Testing, Dev practises, Metal, Chiptune. All views my own.