For 2023, my word is Allow.

In Power vs Force by Dr David Hawkins, he makes the distinction between the Force of getting things done, and the Power of letting things come to you. Instead of relying on Force, my illness has compelled me to learn how to live in Power.

I have an autoimmune disorder called Ulcerative Colitis. It’s a form of IBD, like Crohn’s disease, and I’ll spare you the details, but it’s bloody uncomfortable. Chronic fatigue is constantly looking over my shoulder, checking to see if I’ve had enough rest, or if it’s time to force it on me.

As an American, and a Capricorn, I’ve always defaulted to hard work to get things done. This served me well, until I turned 40 and my body fell apart. A common factor in people with this condition is they often treat their body like a machine, abusing it to achieve things they want in life.

My tagline used to be, ‘I make things happen.’ On my personal website, I had it above the fold, and I used it as a cheeky one-line bio all the time. I was proud of this part of myself, which enabled me to achieve what I wanted with effort and productivity, because I was good at effort and productivity. It gave me fulfillment to use those skills, and I indulged in those skills so hard that I broke my body.

Nowadays, I can’t work very hard anymore. I have to find new ways to earn income that don’t involve working harder, but instead rely on working smarter. I don’t have a choice – if I did, I would choose to work hard, because I’m good at it, and I like it. But my illness has brought me through a portal into this new world, where I don’t have to be the hard worker to achieve – I can’t. I literally can’t.

Instead, I let things happen. I find ways to put myself in the downstream current of what I want, and then I wait for things to come to me. I don’t expend my energy in flapping this way and that against the current, because I have to preserve my limited vitality just to keep my head above water.

By doing less, I can find ways to do more, if I position myself in my Power, and ALLOW.

New Years Resolutions 2023

Gain 70 pounds

As of today, I am 130 pounds. A month ago, I weighed even less. I have always been slim, even during the most athletic phases of my life, because I trained as an acrobat. Many of my bodyweight exercises are excellent for fitness and movement, but I have always been slender instead of bulky.

This year, I want to exceed 200 pounds for the first time in my life. I have wide shoulders and a big frame, but I have always kept my physique svelte so I could do parkour whenever I wanted. But I have some psychological issues around money and safety that are not served by living slim.

Once I recover from this recent flare that kept me from completing last year’s Annual Review on time (and made this Resolutions post late, too) I want to get big and bulky, like my Scottish ancestors, and hold the psychological confidence of having more than enough.

Write the first draft of my next book, Life Balance

I had a 4-book plan that was abruptly changed last month:

  1. Marketing Yourself – a compilation of the lessons I’ve learned in digital marketing
  2. Playful Productivity – a manual on how to get more done in good cheer
  3. Life Balance – a new way for people to relate to work and rest
  4. Runaway – a memoir about my childhood and the traumas that made me into who I am

Although I have completed 26k words on the manuscript for Playful Productivity, it’s not the book I want to write. It made sense for me to write, because I could have used it to get high-paying consulting work. But I’m not passionate about the topic, and it feels forced. (I talk more about why I don’t want to write this book in yesterday’s Annual Review.)

Life Balance allows me to share the story of my illness, an illness that is shared by millions of people. Millions more deal with some form of chronic fatigue, which is called an ‘invisible illness’ because it is so prevalent and life-changing and unobtrusive.

Now that I have started sharing my stories about living with a chronic illness, people come to me out of the woodwork and tell me how meaningful it is, because they (or a loved one) struggle with something similar. This immediate connection with an audience is something I have always wanted, and never attained when I talked about marketing. I’m not going to earn that kind of a deep connection with Playful Productivity, but I can with Life Balance. I’ll have a manuscript for the book complete by the end of this year.

One hour of self-care every night

At or before sunset every night, I will turn off screens and put on Blue Blockers, red Cyclops-style shades that block out blue light. This slows the brain down to prepare it for sleep, which is by far the best healing remedy there is. I have a wide variety of natural therapies (which I will list in detail in Life Balance) and I plan to spend an hour every evening in self-care to prepare for sleep.

Set up a cold plunge

One of my healing remedies is Wim Hof breathing exercises. I’ve been meditating and practicing pranayama for years, but nothing has given me the euphoria and deep relaxation that I experience after following his method. I see now why people get Iceman-pilled, and dive deep into his method. I expect to do the same this year, but I need a piece of equipment – a cold plunge so I can start my morning in an ice bath.

If you want to try his breathing exercises, this 11-minute video is a great place to start.

Weekly dates with my wife

My lady wife has been my caretaker, my cheerleader, and my confidante during this relapse. She has unselfishly devoted herself to my healing, and held the household together by exhausting herself. Our relationship has been put on the back burner while I was her patient, but now I am ready to resume my role as her husband.

One of the things we have always done well is date. We’re really good at it. Because I can’t go out for drinks or sample new kinds of food due to my restrictive diet, we stopped going out on dates. This has made our relationship more practical than passionate, and I want to turn that around this year.

We love going on long walks together, and New Zealand is full of incredible hikes. Whether it’s a long, leisurely walk filled with conversation, or time alone together in a movie theater, I want to take my best friend out for a date every week.

Take one of my children out for lunch every week

When I was a boy, my grandfather took one of his grandchildren out to breakfast every Sunday. There were a lot of siblings, and we were often loudly in conflict with one another. Having this special time where I didn’t have to fend off arguments, and I had the full attention of one grown-up who introduced me to the big wide world, was a formative experience in my childhood.

When Indi was old enough, i introduced her to geometry by taking a copy of Euclid’s Elements to a cafe with her every week for a couple of months. Now that Zaden is old enough for the same, we’ve started going out for weekly lunches at a restaurant where I can order a plain steak. Taos is old enough to learn to play chess, and as the youngest, he often gets overlooked or shuffled along with the group. They all deserve individual attention, and I want to nurture a strong relationship with each of them while they are teens.

Last year, I failed on a resolution to develop a hobby with each kid. This year, my resolution is a weekly lunch date, and this feels much more practical and attainable.

Tropical family vacation

The Huntress Clan has accomplished a lot of travel over the last decade, and there are lots of great places to explore on the South Island of New Zealand, where we now live. But I want to go somewhere tropical this year, and spend a week relaxing with my family.

I may not achieve all of these resolutions this year (related: Why Breaking New Year’s Resolutions Is Good For You) but by setting these intentions, I have guidance for how I will make decisions this year.

You can check in with my progress when my Annual Review is published at the end of the year. Stay tuned!