Looking Back at 2023: Making Room for a Better 2024

Merve Yılmaz
4 min readDec 26, 2023


As the curtain falls on 2023, I find myself compelled to reflect on a transformative year marked by academic achievements, career transitions, cultural exploration, and personal challenges. Navigating through the highs and lows, I’ve distilled invaluable lessons that will shape my path in 2024.

The year began with a dual focus — landing a new job in a better learning environment and attaining a master’s degree. Despite the hurdles, my persistence paid off. Graduating from a prestigious university proved to be a formidable challenge, but the experience, coupled with the publication of two scientific articles, fortified my academic foundation.

In 2022, I made a bold decision to change careers, which marked a turning point in my professional journey. However, after a short time, I realized the importance of having a mentor figure to help me progress. The realization led me to a tech startup, where I not only got another job but also a supportive community of like-minded people. I can certainly state that 2023 has been a year of professional fulfillment and advancement seven months into this new journey.

Beyond professional milestones, 2023 gifted me the chance to explore the world — from Stockholm to Rome. For someone who once doubted such opportunities, each city visited was a testament to prayer, determination, and the realization of dreams. As a simple Turkish girl like me, the journey has been nothing short of extraordinary.

Some travel moments captured in 2023

In 2023, I embarked on a personal journey — the start of my orthodontic treatment. Dealing with crooked teeth had taken a toll on my self-confidence, so I invested in plaque treatment. With my records set to be released just a week before the new year, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. This upcoming transformation has not only boosted my confidence but also serves as a powerful motivator as I step into the new year.

Also, challenging my physical limits became a theme of the year. From jump rope challenges to daily running and sugar detoxes, I embarked on numerous fitness journeys. However, grappling with stress eating remained a hurdle. As I enter 2024, my focus on health and wellness takes center stage, with a commitment to overcoming this challenge.

During the thesis defense phase in the chapters of 2023, I didn’t manage the stress. A trip to the ER and a struggle with binge eating highlighted the necessity of adopting more healthful coping strategies. Stress is an inevitable part of life; the trick is to learn how to manage it with self-compassion rather than trying to completely eradicate it.

This is a sincere appeal to treat oneself with kindness when facing life’s obstacles. Identify the symptoms, pay attention to your body, and look for more healthful coping mechanisms. These teachings continue to resound as I enter 2024, directing me with the idea of becoming well and being better version of me. I hope that my words find a home with people going through similar things, providing comfort and a glimmer of hope amongst life’s turbulence.

Preparing for 2024

Reflecting on the highs and lows of 2023, I acknowledge areas for improvement, particularly in managing stress-induced eating. As I gear up for 2024, my central theme is consistency. I’ve come to believe that sustained effort yields the most significant results. Learning from the past, I’ve set my sights on becoming a skilled UX/UI designer, combining full-time work with focused skill development through courses.

To help me along the way, I’ve carefully planned my goals, habits, and routines. The value of organization and motivation cannot be emphasized, and I’m thrilled to share the iPad planners and habit trackers I’ve created.

Daily, monthly planner and habit tracker for 2024

In conclusion, I welcome the chance for a new beginning as we approach the beginning of a new year. Whether it’s embarking on a new career, shedding a few pounds, or pursuing personal growth, my message is simple: if one person can achieve their goals, so can you.

Cheers to a fresh start, perseverance, and the conviction that effort is worthwhile. I hope that 2024 brings us all more success, resiliency, and growth.



Merve Yılmaz

• UX Designer •Istanbul Technical University •Top writer in Self Improvement, Health, Life Lessons & Life.