Finding Focus

The end of the year approaches and with it comes a desire to take stock of what happened over the year. At least for me. Mainly, I have been thinking about the personal goals I set for myself and how all of those have progressed (or haven’t) and why.

To start, these are the personal goals I set for myself in 2022:

  • Read more, and specifically read fiction books.
  • Improve my physical fitness by way of regular exercise.
  • Have dating be a part of my life.
  • Write more long form pieces.

With those goals outlined I am going to break down the details of each one.


Reading fiction has been a part of my life since I was a young child but in my early to mid-20s I essentially stopped reading fiction books entirely. This was partially due to the presence of various other time consuming activities such as university and work that reduced the amount of free time I had drastically.

When I did have free time I ended up using it for things that tried to stave off the various mental health issues that also started happening in that time period. I was quite literally either too depressed and/or burned out to read fiction.

Coming into 2022 I had managed to recover from the mental health issues that were plaguing me until then for the most part. So I decided to get back into reading books again.

I set myself a goal of one book a week. This was a manageable and achievable goal for me. I would just have to keep at it. I am happy to report that this particular goal has been a tremendous success. I have been able to read one book a week for the past 45 weeks and I think we can close out the year with a total of 52 books.

This goal has been quite enjoyable for me, I have read a lot of different authors and styles of books which have widened my view of what kinds of awesome books are out there in the sci-fi and fantasy genres.

All that said, I don’t think I will continue this goal to the same degree in 2023. I want to rearrange my time a little bit to allow for other things that I want to focus on. More on that later.

Physical Fitness

One of the things I wanted to integrate into my daily life going into 2022 was exercise. By that I don’t mean anything particularly strenuous. I meant things like 20-30m of a workout every day. I had a free trial of Apple Fitness Plus available to me with the purchase of a Apple Watch last year which is what I used as my guide for this endeavour.

I went with doing dance workouts. I thought to myself that dance involved two things I did like – music and choreography and one thing I wanted to like – exercise. Surely with that combination it will be a sound recipe for success.

Well, it worked for a little bit. I fell off the wagon somewhere around halfway through the year as the summer months rolled in. The increased amount of heat and the lack of air conditioning in my workout space (my apartment) meant that I was increasingly losing motivation to keep going with these workouts. So at a point I stopped and once I stopped I just didn’t build up the motivation to continue again.

So how do I improve on this in 2023? My sister suggested that if I wanted to do regular dance workouts I take it up as a in-person social activity aka dance classes instead. She said that I would be more likely to stick with that since it involves some social activity. I am inclined to agree so this is the option I will be looking into next year.

Essentially, I need to move some of the time I used to read books and play video games into improving physical fitness.


Another thing that I wanted to introduce into my life was dating and romance. For the past decade or so of my life I simply didn’t have time, desire, or quite frankly mental health to get involved in romantic pursuits. So in 2022 with my mental health in better shape I wanted to dip my toes into the world of online dating.

Folks, this one has been an abject failure. I hate every single dating app that exists right now. I have tried OkCupid, Bumble and now I am currently trying Hinge. All of these have resulted in no success. By success I mean going on at least a single date.

So with online dating not resulting in any meaningful success so far what do I do to make progress on this in 2023? My sister again suggested that I take up a in-person activity like a book club so I can meet people in person. I am not quite sure how well this will work but I am willing to give this a shot. I will have to look into just what kind of in-person social activities are available and doable for me.

Someone save me from this hell and date me please.


Ah, here we are. Let’s talk about my biggest creative nemesis: writer’s block. I ended 2021 with having written a series of blog posts on DNS fundamentals so going into 2022 keeping that momentum up and writing more.

In March, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at what all the cool kids were doing, a Substack newsletter. So I bought a domain name and set up Synthicator, a newsletter about music. I thought a new format and style would keep things interesting and motivating.

Well, like the physical fitness goal, it worked for a little bit before I lost momentum. The last piece I wrote for the newsletter was back in August. It is now November and even while having a few ideas about what I want to write I just haven’t been able to get past my writer’s block and get things going again. I didn’t count the weekly very short book reviews I wrote for this blog because uhhhh Reasons.

How do I improve on this going forward? What I am going to do is: remove the requirement that everything I write for either the newsletter or this blog needs to be a long form essay. So, essentially write shorter things more often. Don’t get myself too wrapped up on form or quality. The goal is to keep the inertia going and the only way I can see of doing that is to actually just publish more on either this blog or the newsletter.

It doesn’t matter if it is a personal post like this or a short opinion piece on some piece of technology or a short blurb on a song I am really vibing with. Every time I think about writing a Mastodon thread longer than 5 posts, I should be turning that into a blog or newsletter post instead. So yes that means things like the very short book reviews start counting as “writing”.

This post is the start. Begone writer’s block.

Focus and Mindfulness

So with having looked at 2022’s goals it is also time for me to start thinking about any new goals I want to achieve for 2023.

The biggest one that is at the forefront of my mind right now is: lessening my use of social media. I have been a Mastodon power user for the past 5 years or so and it has come time to reevaluate my use of Mastodon and also platforms like Discord. This month I have already started lessening my use of Discord. I no longer keep the application open at all times on my desktop and I am relegating it to mobile use only.

With Mastodon, I am thinking I need to set some time limits to curb my use of the platform. This will mean use of things like local DNS blocks and/or features like iOS screen time. I want to dedicate no more than 1 hour a day to online social media activity, whether that be Discord or Mastodon.

In general, I want to be more mindful of how I spend my time socializing online going forward. Online socialization is important to my mental health but at the same I should be doing it in a more thoughtful way. More small group or 1-on-1 chats with friends rather than endlessly switching between Discord channels in servers where I barely know anyone or endlessly scrolling my Mastodon timelines.

So here’s hoping more focused, thoughtful 2023 for me.