Here we are, the magical first week of a new year. I have to confess, I love this week. It’s a time of resetting and starting new things, when the conventions of the calendar give us all permission to build anew.
But it’s also still close enough to the end of last year for us to take a last, lingering look at the year that was, and pull that wisdom forward with us as we set off into 2024. I have a few rituals for this time of year — deleting every meeting on my calendar and building them up again; finding the last, best 2023 lists and using them as inspiration for planning my year ahead.
If you’re still looking back, there are plenty of year-end stories on Medium to savor, from this dizzyingly comprehensive roundup of Hanif Abdurraqib’s 108 (!) favorite albums of the year to the eighth annual installment of poet and essayist Elisa Gabbert’s “Every book I read in 2023, with commentary.” Barack Obama shared his favorite books, movies, and music of 2023, and photographer Adam Scotti pulled together his favorite photos of “2023 with Prime Minister Trudeau.” And I learned a fascinating, counterintuitive fact from this review of what happened 2023 in neuroscience: Despite the constant cultural narrative that morality is on the decline, in fact “there has been no change in how people rate the moral behavior of themselves or of others around them” according to a study from last year.
If you’re more in a mood to look forward, well, we’ve got you covered there, too. I dug this list of 12 unusual predictions for the year ahead, as well as Ryan Holiday’s simple “This is the Word I’m Trying to Live By This Year” story (spoiler alert: the word is “systems”). And two stories with concrete next steps if you’re looking to take action: A guide to how to design resolutions that work from a decision scientist, and a list of free, unexpected MIT courses to kick start the new year.
What’s one of your goals for the new year? Let us know in the responses and we’ll try to find a story on Medium that can help support you.
Thanks for reading, and happy new year!
Scott Lamb, VP of Content at Medium
What We’re Reading
Published by Yuri Minamide
Most Japanese households have a bag of emergency items. The contents include food and water, medical supplies, a torch, a Swiss army knife, clothes and a portable toilet.
Published by Wes O'Donnell
The Piranha creates a protective dome up to 600 meters around itself causing any Russian drone that enters the sphere to either hang in the air, make an emergency landing, or fall uncontrollably.
- An investigation of the surprising science of the TARDIS from optical physicist and designer Selena Routley that explains how “bigger on the inside” actually does exist in the real world.
- Looking for a simple exercise to add to your routine? This guide to the gorilla squat from kinesiologist David Liira, Kin. is a solid place to start: “The Gorilla Squat Is Your Gateway to an Invincible Back and Mobile Hips”
Today’s Final Word goes to Kurtis Pykes, who wrote a great evergreen piece at the end of 2022 about how setting up systems, not just choosing goals, is the best way to make real change. His piece included this quote from James Clear, the author of “Atomic Habits,” which was one of the most-highlighted phrases on all of Medium in December:
“Goals are good for setting a direction but systems are best for making progress.”
Read Pykes’ approach to setting yourself up for success, “Don’t Just Set Goals. Build Systems.”