Some intentions and desires for 2024

Happy new year y'all. I don't really know what to think about the New Year's resolutions tradition. Which made me curious about the whole thing in the first place: where did New Year's reolutions come from? I learnt a few things:

  • Ancient Babylonians might have been the first people to make New Year's resolutions 4,000 years ago
  • Romans apparently did the same in 46 BC. Something I had no idea: January's name was inspired by Janus, the God with two faces -- one symbolically looking back, and one looking ahead

I also smiled reading the list of the most popular resolutions: exercising, losing weight, improving diets, reducing stress, making more time for hobbies, quitting smoking etc...

Not one of them is inherently bad of course. Still, it makes me wonder 'why' a few times. Why are we all chasing the same thing? Which makes me think of Luke's argument: We're all chasing one another's goals.

Desire is fundamentally mimetic and, contrary to popular belief, our desires do not arise entirely spontaneously. Even if we think they are, our desires, especially if they are more abstract, are socially generated and shaped by models of desire.

Then I also wondered: is it a bad thing? There could be some collectively-agreed wisdom in a specific society. Back to Ancient Babylonians:

A long 12-day religious festival called Akitu saw them reaffirm their loyalty to the new reigning king crowned that year. Debts were also promised to be paid to gods and borrowed objects returned.

As far as I can tell, #1 was about your survival so you wouldn't want to be original here. #2 and #3 make sense [I'd love for #3 to become trendy again by the way] :) Since general knowledge increased quite substantially, maybe our 'most popular goals' are just objectively better. I stumbled upon that graph recently - from Peter Attia's book Outlive:

It makes it pretty clear that we might want to adopt some similar resolutions -- at least, in that case, if we hope to be able to briskly climb stairs when we are 75 [which I do]. Evidences are already widespread regarding the general benefits of journaling, writing, meditating, socializing [for real -- away from social media] and so on.

Comically, I can look out the last time I published some New Year's resolutions [some goals for 2021] and laughed at how predictable everything was: writing, reading, exercising, loosing weight, enjoying a better diet, owning less stuff. Even before that I can find the same trends in this post when I mentioned the area I'm mostly playing with every new year: spending more time with people I love, reading more, writing, playing more sport.

On most of these fronts, 2023 was a pretty good vintage. I kept reading more than 2 books a month for a few years [2023's list is coming next week]; I 'finally' went back to writing [looks like I needed a little push from others]; my diet is consistenly meat-light [I'm closer to 98% vegetarian across a full year now]; and while I'm still frustrating by my too-few amount of skateboarding sessions, I did maintain a weekly routine of intense sport activity with boxing [did enjoy a session with 2 of my brothers as sparring partners recently; one of them is a boxing coach; the other one had his first fight late last year -- yep it's a family thing]. And of course, I'm beyond happy with all the time I get to spend daily with my now 2 kids [what matters most to you?].

2023 was far from perfect though. I don't feel good with my weight -- I'm at 79.42kg on average across the year; which is +6kg compare to 2 years ago! -- which started to cause me some serious pain in my back during the year. Of course neither boxing, nor skateboarding are very gentle on your body and weight so I double-feel any extra kg.

At first, I would just throw out the same resolutions as before: keep reading, writing, exercising [find a way to include a weekly skateboarding session though], spending as much quality time as possible with the ones I love, and start seriously losing weight [changing my diet accordingly -- while keeping my amount of meat as low as possible]. Simple. Straight forward.

Recently I got seduced [damn! mimetism] by Simon's idea of: "I’d rather have a few new goals big enough to follow me through the years.".

Aspirations — even unlikely ones, maybe especially unlikely ones — are an essential part of living well. When we are at our most ailing, we are reduced to thinking and talking only of our ailments. When we are at our most vigorous, our most alive, we think and talk of our goals and aspirations. Over long time frames, the pessimist becomes an unobservant man, and the optimist creates the world.

In that spirit, 2 on my mind currently are (a) to grow Objet's impact significantly [i.e. empower more people to buy more intentionally] and (b) to move and settle permanently in the US.