Review - Year of the Garden

Written on December 19, 2022
Posted under personal

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Once again, it’s time for a new yearly theme. Last year’s theme was Year of the Garden, and I honestly thought this was a terrific success.

Before I talk about my 2023 theme, let’s do a real quick recap on what my 2022 theme was, and how I think it went.

Last Year

Year of the Garden was built around 4 core tenants:

  • Harvest from existing activities that I wanted to continue.
  • Prune some habits that were taking up too much time.
  • Sow new habits into my life, so that I could benefit from them going forward.
  • Raze habits that were not actively serving me, or would hinder me as I went through the year.

Overall, I’m really happy with how the theme helped me look at my life and determine what was important, vs. what was just taking up space or time that could’ve been used elsewhere.


I had 2 general ideas, both of which were a rousing success. I wanted to read at least one book a month, and while I didn’t complete one in either September or October, I will have completed (at least) 29 books by the end of the year. I also wanted to make coffee at home every day, as opposed to going out and buying sugary mochas; this went pretty well for most of the year, and I still have 2-3 cups of pour over per day, but my wife and I do splurge at least once a week on a latte from the shop down the street.


I actively trimmed down the people I followed on social media, I knocked out any video game that I couldn’t pause (and inadvertently knocked out playing video games almost entirely), and I definitely managed to focus on more healthy recipes. With our daughter here, I do feel that I fell into the trap of just scrolling endlessly on my phone while she was asleep, or making the same recipes over and over because they were convenient. I’ll give this goal a solid “good try”.


I set up a big list of 9 things that I wanted to try and add to my life. Here on December 20th, I can say that I was successful at exactly 0 of these. I’m not exactly surprised; I knew that having a child would be tiring, but I was optimistic that I could try and fit some of these in. Drinking water, I thought, would be no problem, especially with a bottle & app that tracked my usage. I’ll give myself partial credit for healthy movement (my wife got me out of the house a lot this summer for 30-60 minute walks with our daughter) and learning a new programming language (I’m actively working towards develpoing a new iOS app using SwiftUI), but I utterly failed at this part of my theme.


… well, it’s about the same as sowing. I had aspirations of staying off of Facebook, but when everyone wants to see photos of your kid, you kinda have to be there. I did use Screen Time for Instagram and Facebook, and that was a huge help - I never ran into the time limit I set for myself, and having it ping me was a nice reminder of “hey maybe I shouldn’t”. My nails are still uber-short, and I’m staring at the tube of bitter tasting stuff I was supposed to apply to help me not bite them. Ah well. (Also, Marvel SNAP showed up out of nowhere at the end of the year and just swarmed my garden.)


So I’m what, 50%? For my first year actively doing a theme, I’m pretty ok with that. I learned a lot, too.

  • While I may have struggled in some parts, I did find myself actively thinking about my theme throughout the year when it came to prioritizing the things that I did. It didn’t always pan out for the best possible outcome, but it did live in the forefront of my mind, which is exactly what I was hoping for.
  • I set these broad goals for myself because I could see the time crunch coming. I was 100% correct about how much it would limit my time, and I’m really proud of myself for being able to recognize that early on.
  • Having these kinds of goals are great, but I do a lot better with specifics. Rather than staring at these half-full buckets of ideas throughout the year, I need to be intentional about filling them with new goals.
  • In addition, I need to be better about revisiting the goals I’ve set myself more than just (checks notes) one time, in December. A quarterly, or even monthly, check-in with myself would benefit me a lot.

So with that… it’s on to planning for 2023.