Welcome to 2020 friends! I hope everyone had an amazing New Years Eve, whether you went out, partied the year away and had a cheeky midnight kiss or had a chilled night in and fell asleep at 11:30pm in like myself. The past few years, January has always been a time of reflection and goal-setting for the year ahead. I’m not calling this a ‘New Years Resolution’ post because I feel like grand resolutions are made and then forgotten about by February. Setting simple goals, even small ones, can keep you on track to achieving those grand dreams that you have at 12:01am on the 1st of January. I wanted to make a post about it to hopefully inspire others to look back on 2019 and write down a few things you want to leave behind, things you want to improve and set a few goals for yourself. Hayley is also making a podcast episode about the same topic and a few of her goals so keep an eye out for that.
Let’s start with a reflection of 2019 and some goals I had. Last year, not going to lie, was hard. It wasn’t a bad year, it was just challenging with a clear ‘career’ theme to it. I knew being my first year out of university, it would be a difficult transitional period. The first few months of the year I spent trying to find a job in my field, which is difficult when you’re still figuring what exactly that is. This is why one of my biggest goals was to put less pressure on myself. I knew it was going to be a year where I would just have to go with the flow, try new things and maybe fail at some things. When you love to plan and be organised like myself, going with the flow can be tricky. Without that extra pressure and expectation weighing me down, I thought I would be able to go with the flow with a bit more ease. I was applying for jobs day after day and getting either no replies or the occasional “we’ll keep your resume on file.” It got to the point where I was just emailing companies that weren’t advertising for writing jobs and asking for a job. Not even paid work, I just saying, “Hey, I need experience, can you help a sister out?”
After what felt like hundreds of emails, I finally emailed The Daily Pretty in March. I remember writing that email and crying from pure frustration of not finding a job. A few days passed then Hayley replied saying she would love to have me as a guest contributor. Becoming a writer for TDP is one of, if not, the best thing to have come out of 2019. It has seriously filled me with so much happiness, given me the opportunity to work with so many amazing creators and I am so excited for the year ahead for TDP. As well as TDP, I stumbled across the chance to intern for two different publications. These internships were really eye-opening for me and just the start I needed in the industry. It really shows that the Universe is just out there making plans for you and everything will happen when it is meant to happen.
When I started writing this, I struggled to think of goals for the coming year because I’m still in my “going with the flow” period. The goals I have come up with aren’t really your typical “new year, new me” kind of goals. These goals are more a continuation of things I’ve been working on for a while and using the ‘new year’ energy to give me a bit of extra motivation.
This was another one of my goals for last year which I am bringing back this year. After doing Literature as a major at university in 2018 and having to do subjects that were like, “Here’s six books, you have to read them all to pass. Enjoy!”, you kind of fall out of love with reading. It was a chore for me which is why I seriously despised some of those books by the end of the subjects. So in 2019, I set out to read more for enjoyment and have no pressure behind it. I wanted to leisurely read and read about stuff I cared about, which I did achieve. I read a good handful of books last year, including Feminists Don’t Wear Pink, Girl on the Train, The Testaments and Twisted (if you’re looking for something new to read, I seriously recommend them all! I struggled to put them down). As well as the endless benefits to reading, I also realised how good reading was for my night time routine and sleep pattern. I would notice a significant difference in how I slept when I would read before bed and when I wouldn’t. So this good habit and goal is making a return in 2020.
Meditation, Mindfulness, and all that good stuff!
The last couple of years have been a real mental health journey for me, I’m really proud about how far I’ve come and how much I’ve put my anxiety in its place. But, for people who have gone through a mental health struggle, you know that the journey doesn’t stop. It just keeps going and you have to keep on top of it. While I do take care of myself and my brain pretty well, I know that there is definitely things I could be doing better. That’s why I just want to try a few new techniques to continue to better my mental health. I think people can be scared or too lazy to try new methods of self care. But if you don’t put the effort in and try something new, you’ll never know if it’ll work. I actually was given some essential oils to try a while ago and was very sceptical about them. They sat on my bedside table for months, waiting to be used. I finally tried a Calm one, made for stress relief and anxiety, and I have NEVER had a better night sleep. Don’t knock it until you’ve tired it! If you’re looking into having a similar goal for the year, here are a few resources to help get you started:
The Cle. Collective essential oils – these are the essential oils I’ve tried and they’ll so nice! Some essential oils can cost about an arm and a leg but these come in roller form and are really affordable. The Calm and Self Love blends are my favourite but they have so many different ones to choose from. They also have oils that are safe to use on babies and pregnant or new mums.
I am Happy I am Here Gratitude Journal – gratitude journals are a really easy way to start creating a habit of mindfulness. Taking 10 to 15 minutes in the morning and at night to write down something you are grateful for and something great that happened that day can really change your mindset.
Smiling Mind app – I was introduced to this app years ago and it is one of the best free meditation apps. I always seem to gravitate back to it when I am going through a rough time or when my sleeping pattern is out of whack. There are so many types of meditations and mindfulness techniques for dealing with everything from anxiety and sleep deprivation to a digital detox.
Say Yes More
This is a great piece of advice I got from Laura Churchill in August last year. I interviewed her for an internship I was doing and, at the time, I was in a proper funk about my career. I felt a bit lost and unhappy with the progress I was making. Knowing that Laura used to work as a journalist and is just the jack of all trades, I asked for some advice and what I should be doing to give my career a little bit of a push. Among the great advice she gave me, the thing that stuck with me was “say yes to opportunity.” It seems like such a simple thing to do but it is easy to get caught up in a closed mindset and unknowingly close yourself off to opportunities. Another great piece of advice to go along with the ‘say yes’ is from the queen of positivity, Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye. He said, “Getting stuck in a box, honey? Nobody grows in a box! You got to get out of the box, step on the box and use it as a vantage point to find out who we really are.” Saying yes can help you stand on that box and find all the opportunities that you didn’t think were available to you. You never know who you’ll meet at that event or you never know who will be willing to give you a chance or you never know where saying yes will take you.
I hope you sit down and set some goals for yourself this year. Get a piece of paper, get your favourite pen out and start writing! Alternatively, you can set monthly goals. At the start of each month set small goals; like saving a set amount for that holiday you want to take, start a new book, go to the gym three times a week, making that appointment you’ve been putting off, schedule ‘you’ time, etc. Then at the end of each month, you can see what’s been working and what good habits you can take into the next month. If you’re more of a visual person, maybe a mood board is more your vibe. Pull up your Pinterest and pin a few images that relate to the dreams you have manifesting at the moment, like travel destinations, house goals, career objectives, etc. You do what works for you! Grow out of that box, honey!
Hayley and I are so excited for the year ahead and are ready to make TDP bigger and better than ever. Thank you to the TDP community for all the support last year and to all the wonderful ladies who have contributed to the blog. We have some exciting things planned already so watch this space!